Every so often, maybe once every month or two I receive an email or a call from someone who’s decided to start in real estate as a Realtor. I recently had someone reach out starting out in the industry from Mississauga, Ontario.
Usually, the person sending the email follows me online because of my photography, they are a climber or outdoorsy person too, and they also know that I’m a Realtor.
They reach out looking for advice on how to start out in the industry, and they bring up the point that whatever I am doing doesn't feel very salesy, so they want to know what I do to attract business or clients.
They see that I get to travel lots and have time to do more than real estate which is not common in the industry. Talk to most Realtors, and they are always ‘busy’ always on the ‘hustle’ so they find it odd that I can do both.
The first few times someone reached out I told them that I write a newsletter that gets sent out to my previous clients and I do an excellent job so that the people I work with want to refer me.
Initially, the responses were always the same.
“Do you have a fancy lead capture website?”
“Do you call your ‘sphere of influence’ and tell them you are in real estate now?”
“Do you cold call?”
“Do you geographically farm a neighbourhood with pamphlets?”
“Do you door knock? “
The list of questions goes on and on, and they usually hit on every suggested method of business from the book Million Dollar Realtor…
These are all ways that you can go about business in real estate but certainly not what I do. Usually, the questions they are asking is advice that’s handed out in the industry of what to do when you are starting out.
Now I just pre-empt all those questions by saying up front to them "look I don't do what's considered normal in the industry". That usually starts a different conversation.
Typically they've gotten the ideas above from their Brokers (who are in charge of the brokerage), other Realtors and/or, real estate coaches who all say the same thing, but I don’t.
Usually, other people in the industry think my approach is odd, and they don’t understand it which is fine by me.
I tell them I write content that allows people to learn about my values, beliefs and who I am as a person so that they can know, like and trust me. Then, I post what I wrote to Facebook, my blog and a printed newsletter that I send out…
A majority of the time I never hear back from the people. It’s not the standard advice that they hear. It’s abnormal, outside the norm and takes more skill than the options stated above.
Starting out in real estate everyone is told to cold call, door knock, harass your sphere of influence, beg your friends and family for business, spew on social media about being a realtor, do open houses, print off flyers and distribute them to a neighbourhood…
Rarely are people told to connect with others, build relationships and do a good enough job that people want to talk about you to others and recommend you.
Maybe that’s why over 90% of the people I've helped in the last several years have been referred to me or are someone I know.
The last time I was in the office after I got back from Quebec I was asked: “How do you do it?”
My response: “How do I do what?”…
They don’t understand how I continue to have real estate clients even though I’m not out ‘prospecting for leads’. Well, maybe it’s because I don’t consider people leads to begin with…
If I did, I doubt I’d still be connected with Sterling who I met several years ago. If you go back and look at older posts, you can see we interact routinely, and it’s certainly not because I tried to hustle him to buy a house.
Or, Denise who I helped buy a home several years ago and who usually responds via email after reading the newsletter I send out.
I don’t press them looking for business, they know I’m a Realtor, and I know that if they know someone looking to buy or sell a home that they’ll think of me.
For some reason, that’s odd to my peers in the industry.
I could use the typical tactics of real estate, and I’d likely do more business, but then I’d also have to spend more time doing something I don't like doing. Not only do I not enjoy those practices mentioned above, but it also takes a lot of time to call all your contacts every quarter or go door-to-door to drum up business.
Writing, creating content and building relationships allows me to have a business where I get to connect with people in a 1:many ratio.
It’s not a 1:1 phone call that interrupts people while they are having dinner to catch up with them only to end the conversation with “do you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home?” …
Who wants that?
For me working smarter, connecting with people and building relationships via a 1:many footprint allows me more time to do the things I want to do as well, and I don’t have to spend hours feeling sleazy calling and interrupting people like when I used to be a telemarketer 20+ years ago...
It’s precisely what I recommend to those new Realtors who reach out to me too.