“My list is a mess.”
This is the most common response we hear when we introduce our new Sphere ads. As soon as we start to explain the part about uploading a list to target the digital ad, many agents slump in their seats and sigh heavily.
Whether you call it a list, a database, a network or your sphere, this is a vitally important group of people. Because over 66% of your business comes from repeats and referrals.
However, an informal survey shows that each of us knows around three different real estate agents. So it’s not just that I know you, or that you keep me in a database. You need to remind me that I know you — and why. You need to demonstrate to me that you’re active in business. And you need to stay top of mind for that moment when I meet someone who might need an agent. That’s when nurturing our relationship pays off.
There are plenty of suggestions of what to do when it comes to nurturing your sphere. But when you’re thinking about your list, we suggest you don’t do any of the following:
1. Don’t panic.
You are not alone, noted Chad Hyams, successful agent, real estate thought leader and the Voice of Reason for Ember Seminars. Not many agents have a perfectly groomed list ready to go at all times. And there’s a reason for that. “Most people in real estate have a sales drive, but not an administrative drive to keep a well functioning database that is organized, accessible, and up to date.”
But most agents do know they need a list and have various lists they can access. It’s just a matter of getting started.
2. Don’t assume.
Just because you know someone’s email address doesn’t mean they know yours. And not everyone in your list is sitting around waiting for a chance to send you a referral. Staying top of mind with gentle reminders about your capability in real estate is a way to help them remember you.
“I once lost a referral from my own mother!” lamented Chad. “But that’s the thing: you need to remind people not just who you are, but what you do. They don’t think of you always as the real estate agent when you have another relationship with them to start.”
3. Don’t rush.
Take the time to go through your list and clean it up. That doesn’t mean ensuring you have every contact’s birthday, Twitter handle and favorite color. It means you know who is in your closest cohort, who needs extra attention and who you want to know better. Understand why each person is in your list, as well.
Mine each source of contacts you have: your personal email, your LinkedIn account, your homeowner’s association listserv. Then sort them accordingly so you can target the message and the means you use to stay in touch.
4. Don’t give up.
Many agents hope that referrals and repeat business will come flying in with their first outreach effort. But nurturing isn’t a one shot deal. It’s a long game, one that you maintain over a period of time and a variety of channels.
“The average person changes houses every five or ten years. It’s going to take a while,” said Mark Spain of Mark Spain Real Estate. “But you have to create a plan and just execute on a plan.”
And that means you need to care about your sphere, enough so that it isn’t just about real estate.
Engel & Völkers agent Nikki Beauchamp agrees. “I show that I appreciate them and I care about them, not just as that one transaction we did ten years ago, but I care about you. I care about what’s going on in your life.”
Okay. Now that you know what not to do, you can relax. Your list is a simple first step to building a robust real estate business — take care of the people who care about you. It couldn’t get anymore simple than that!