In our latest real estate careers article we cover the basics of growing and nurturing your database, or "sphere of influence". Growing and nurturing your database is the single most important thing you can do to guarantee a rewarding and long-lasting career in real estate. Many agents are intimidated by this task, but the good news is our team offers a ton of support in this area. You can also make the "nurturing" part of your database a lot of fun - by staying in touch with your database in ways that are authentic to your personality.
What is a real estate database?
Your real estate database is your network of friends, family, clients, and other people in the community that you stay in touch with. Ultimately these are the people who come to know you as a stand-up person and trusted agent. Your referrals will grow exponentially when you consistently serve and nurture your database.
How should you build your database?
Think of all the positive relationships you have with people from these walks of life:
groups and associations that you belong to
former co-workers or classmates
friends through your significant other or spouse
friends through your child's school or sports teams
friends through social media
For each person, collect their name, phone number, email address, and mailing address. If you don't have a complete set of information, that's OK. Just start with what you have.
What if you're new to Madison or to the field? How do you build your database?
Make a goal of adding at least one new person to your database each day. Your database will grow quickly if you stick with this simple plan. Then make a list of all the types of people and organizations that you would like to know, and start building those relationships. Some examples include:
hobby groups, volunteer groups, business organizations, or service organizations that you join
people in the trades (carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, etc...)
other local business owners
A short meeting over coffee is a great way to get to know people and start building relationships.
How should you organize your database?
Our real estate team will load all of your contact information into our customer relationship management software. Then we'll teach you how to use the system so you can add new people to your database each week. We'll also help you categorize each contact according to the strength of the relationship. We'll assign an A+, A, B or C category to each contact. Over time you'll work to increase the number of A+ and A relationships in your database.
How should you nurture your database?
Our team provides a ton of support in this area. For example, we send out monthly newsletters and e-newsletters that offer a lot of great content and value. We host quarterly client appreciation events. We also send out an annual calendar. These touches are effective because they go to your contacts and are branded to you, the agent. As an example, every e-newsletter is sent from your email address to your group of contacts. In addition, every newsletter and calendar that we drop in the mail is branded with your name, your picture, and your contact information. All of our marketing positions you as the productive and professional real estate agent that you are.
Beyond what the team does for you, you'll also nurture your database in ways that are a good fit for your personality. All of these can be great ways to stay in touch with your contacts:
coffees, lunches or happy hours with some of your closest relationships
parties, cookouts, or football Sundays that you host
personal, hand-written notes and holiday cards
phone calls just to stay in touch
staying in touch via Facebook and other social media
staying "top of mind" professionally through blogging, video blogging, or being active on LinkedIn
visiting or "popping-by" to stay in touch with some of your closest clients
or any other prospecting activities that you enjoy
We recommend choosing at least 3 of the activities from above. The key is to choose the activities that you enjoy and then be consistent with your nurturing. As an example, one agent on our team genuinely loves staying in touch with her contacts on Facebook. We call her our "Facebook Cheerleader". Chris doesn't post to Facebook a lot, but she's active every day offering her support and encouragement to her Facebook friends. She genuinely enjoys staying connected with her friends in this way, and her friends genuinely appreciate her support.
Another agent on our team enjoys thinking of creative gift ideas and then popping by her clients' new home with a thoughtful gift. These small acts of generosity endear her to her clients and deepen her relationships. Shelley's clients appreciate her generosity because they know it's sincere and from the heart.
Yet another agent on the team enjoys writing. By blogging and posting his content online, Dan helps the team stay top of mind with friends and clients. He also enjoys sending hand-written notes to his contacts.
How can you take your relationships to the next level?
One great way to deepen your relationships is to always have a contribution mindset. As a real estate agent and owner of your own personal brand, what can you do to consistently add value to the people you know? Think of the service you provide and how you stay in touch with your sphere. There are many ways to "plus one" your relationships. We'll cover this topic in a future post.
Your relationships are the key to your business
Your referrals will grow quickly when you intentionally grow and nurture your database. Nurturing your database doesn't need to feel scripted or contrived. Just the opposite, you should do it in ways that are true to yourself as you leverage the support and structure of the team. When you embrace this relational approach, you establish yourself as a trusted professional, all-the-while building your foundation for a long and successful career.
Want to learn more about our business model? Check out these 8 ways we're growing our real estate business.
This article is published courtesy of: Dan Miller, REALTOR Mad City Dream Homes & RE/MAX Preferred