It would be difficult to talk on this subject had I not grown up in the real estate industry. Watching my mom interact with clients and other Realtors, there is one thing I came to realize: The best Realtors are the best networkers. As cliché as that might sound, great Realtors are really good at connecting people. They always know how to find someone or something that may solve their client’s problem.

My takeaway is that Realtors are a great source of knowledge on the community and real estate in general. This is the reason you hire a Realtor in the 21st century. It also presents a great opportunity for Realtors to leverage this knowledge to gain more leads and build a great reputation.

With clients often scouring the Internet in search of their next home, Internet advertising is an attractive option for Realtors to spend their marketing dollars. However, it is very difficult to track the return on investment. For example, the chances of an individual Realtor popping up as one the top search results for the keywords “NYC real estate” are slim to none. Let’s be honest — unless you have unlimited money to spend on search engine optimization, there is little chance to pop as the top Realtor in any of the top real estate markets.

Having talked with hundreds of Realtors over the past few months, the recurring theme is that buyers find their home on the Internet and ask for a referral from a friend or colleague when they are ready to buy. I suggest Realtors focus on cultivating a network around their knowledge and who they know in order to become the top Realtor choice.

To do this, Realtors need to create lasting value, and here are three ways to do that:

1. Become more than just an MLS

The MLS as a differentiating factor among Realtors is almost a nonfactor. All Realtors have access, and there are thousands of Realtors servicing the large real estate markets. For example, a Realtor in San Diego who is also a surfer will probably know all the best surf spots. As a surfer myself, and with the plethora of Realtors available to choose from here in San Diego, I would be more inclined to list with him or her. Tip: Figure out what a lot of people are passionate about in the area you serve and take an interest.

2. Share your network

As a Realtor, you often know whom to call in case of a plumbing emergency. A trusted vendor you can share with your client is something of lasting value to them. A recommended vendor list you are able to easily share with your clients is something they will remember you by. My company, Rivolix, focuses on helping Realtors effectively share their network via a mobile app.

3. Follow up

Technology has made it easier than ever to connect with people. However, I often feel it is harder to continually stay in touch with people. The problem is social media has made it too easy to connect with so many people to the point that you feel like you don’t have to reconnect with that person. Just look at Facebook and you will have a summary of that person’s life in about five minutes. To combat this, personalize the connection and follow up with a phone call or letter. The effort is what counts.

Will Caldwell is the CEO and co-founder at Rivolix, a mobile real estate tech company that helps Realtors generate more word-of-mouth leads. He is a passionate entrepreneur and recent college graduate living in San Diego.

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