On Wednesday, March 22, 2023, we hosted our monthly YPN breakfast “Cultivating Client Relationships” at our home base, Manny’s Deli. We were so excited to get together in person, connect with our peers and devour advice from a panel of seasoned REALTORS®. You can stay up-to-date on upcoming YPN events by following the YPN Facebook page!
THIS MONTH’S SPEAKERS:
READ KEY TAKEAWAYS:
Our guest speakers Stephen Hnatow, Keller Williams ONEChicago, Kelly Parker, COMPASS, and YPN Advisory Board Member Gabby Davis, Keller Williams ONEChicago, shared strategies to help you maintain and establish client relationships while also building a referral-based business to last.
JUST STARTED YOUR CAREER? LEARN THE BUSINESS FIRST
If you’re in your first few years of real estate, Stephen encourages spending your time learning the business. Volunteer to work more experienced brokers’ open houses, approach your peers and ask to shadow, inquire about and apply for mentorship programs, study contracts, take all the training you can and more.
In the beginning, he started with the sphere of influence he already had– friends, family and acquaintances. For Stephen, that number was around 125 people. This was his database for him to start cultivating relationships!
He spread the word about being a REALTOR® through weekly postcards that shared updates on the market such as sold, under contract new listings and more. Even if his friends just glanced at the card and immediately threw it away, he trusted in the long game, the process of slowly establishing himself in everyone’s minds as knowledgeable in real estate.
DO FOR YOUR CLIENTS WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE
Do you like houseplants? Amid COVID-19 shelter-in-place, Kelly’s team organized a plant pop-up for their clients. Her regular email list could order or request specific plants to be delivered to their doorsteps, and anyone who walked by the pop-up (set up on the sidewalk, safely outside with masks) could get a free plant from Chicago Home Collective.
Would you attend a FREE, private Marvel movie showing in a movie theater? Stephen loves the Marvel series, so he rented out a movie theater for his clients to bring their families and watch the most recent movie release.
Both panelists asked themselves what they each would enjoy themselves, and then got creative with how they could share that or offer that experience or passion with their sphere of clients! And, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Stephen’s example is on the pricier end, but Kelly’s plant pop-up cost her a total of $600.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE AT THE SAME TIME MEANS STICKING TO YOUR DATABASE
Both Kelly and Stephen maintain a database. What goes in it? Information that could help them build and improve relationships like birthdays, anniversaries, kid and pet names, move-in dates, professions or notable hobbies and more!
Then, they track each and every time they contact that person. Every text wishing them a happy move-in anniversary, every Instagram DM congratulating them on a graduation or liking a book review, and more. Stephen uses an app offered through his brokerage where he takes notes after every interaction with someone. Kelly also uses a brokerage-provided app, but she highly encourages keeping a backup database through spreadsheets.
It doesn’t matter what CRM software or tool you prefer to use, it matters how it fits your working style and your business.
And, most of all, both Stephen and Kelly emphasized the importance of NOT mentioning real estate in these moments of connection. Relationship-building is about finding common ground as people and trust through shared passions and experiences. The rest of their work continues “quietly” in the background, speaking for itself. Their clients reach out when they’re ready to talk real estate.
DO NOT OVERCOMPLICATE!
Whether you use whimsical greeting cards with inspirational quotes or set up an annual wine delivery, don’t overcomplicate your approach. Start with one small thing once a year (like mailing scratch-offs on a holiday), and customize from there.
Four additional ways they suggest staying top of mind to your clients:
- Approach social media from a place of curiosity and knowledge sharing. Interacting with the content your clients are posting by liking or commenting on the post. When you post on your own account, make sure you’re sticking true to yourself.
- Never underestimate a mailed postcard or letter. This is a great way to share insights about the market and customize by neighborhood.
- Follow the 33 Touch Model. When you think big-picture about the relationship with the people in your sphere, how are you establishing small, cumulative interactions with them in a year?
- Build a strong relationship with a service partner. Lenders, attorneys, inspectors and more are a great source of information. Build relationships within the industry, so you have a full roster of experts in your corner!