Real Estate Provides Freedom, Friendships
Yesterday, while I was out and about, I spoke with two of my ActiveRain friends on the phone. Paul Slaybaugh called me and we chatted for awhile, then he had to go because he was busy with his two sons. I later called Adam Waldman and he had to call me back because he was watching "Hard Knocks", the Dallas Cowboys training camp show on HBO, with his son.
After speaking with each of these guys, I thought about the time flexibility that real estate can afford to us, and how fortunate I am to be able to make a good living in a business that allows me still to have ample time with my family.
As I was driving, I stopped at a light near my office and looked in my rear-view mirror. I noticed an older lady driving and speaking in a very animated fashion to the younger lady who was her passenger. I don't know if she was a real estate agent or not, but it reminded me of many meetings that I have had with clients, driving them around and getting to know them.
You mean I can actually get PAID to make friends?
In a sense, yes. I certainly can't claim that everyone in real estate conducts their business in the same way that I do, but I typically end up befriending my clients during the sales process. Additionally, through my online social networking efforts, my friendships have begun to pay dividends in the form of solid referrals, one of which I closed last week.
In my humble opinion, the essence of good marketing begins with personal networking.
I have owned my own brokerage for almost four years, and I always tell my agents that clients are not typically brand-loyal when it comes to real estate. In other words, most people are more interested in their agent as a person than with the specific company affiliation. Of course, there are exceptions, but generally people tend to use the agent that they like and who provides the necessary information.
When it comes to real estate sales, WE ARE the product. Rather than being traditional salespeople, we are responsible for selling ourselves as people first. To my way of thinking, this should be the easiest sale of all. If you are not comfortable in your own skin, this is probably not the right field for you. However, if you can manage to package yourself as the likeable, honest provider of local info, you are well on your way to capturing the business.
As real estate agents and brokers, we are business owners first and foremost, and I think it's important to keep that in mind when dealing with our clients and potential clients. If you treat it as an actual business, you don't sweat each individual transaction, because you are focused on the larger goal of growing your business over time, and maintaining your reputation so that you can keep the doors open.
In a nutshell, self-employment is not for everyone, but it is the only choice that I can imagine making if I had it to do over again.
Copyright 2008 Jason Crouch Austin Homes