It’s not the size of your database that matters. It’s how you use it.
You can have a database stacked with names, but unless you’re creating real connections with those people, all that contact information is just that – information. But with systems in place to develop stronger relationships within your sphere, all of that information can turn into closed business and an ever-churning pool of referrals.
“There’s a personal discipline that has to be developed around the systematic touching of the database,” says Brandon Green, principal broker of a KW team in Washington, D.C., and a KWU faculty member. “It has to happen relatively systematically in order for there to be enough touches overall to get people to see you as front and center.”
In a panel discussion, Green, along with top KW agents Eric Delgado from Encino, California; Letrissa Frieson from Atlanta; and Gyimah Kyei from Upper Marlboro in Maryland, shared six strategies they count on to create real connections with their sphere.
How to Build Real Connections with Your Sphere
1) Get purposeful about the data. You can’t connect with someone if you can’t contact them. “In 2007, I wish someone would have told me to extract as much information as possible from every single human you come into contact with and put that into a system,” Delgado says. Today, he has a database ambassador on his team whose main job is to input as much data about each lead as possible into the database, not only to ensure the contact information is correct but also to make sure each touch will be something that appeals to them so they’re being properly targeted. “Ultimately, you’re going to get so busy with listing appointments, showing buyers, and running your organization that you stop being purposeful about lead generation. So I think the first thing people should do is get the data, put it in a system, and then hire someone whose job is to stay in relationship with people,” Delgado says.
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2) Don’t be afraid to dump someone. On the flip side of that, don’t be afraid to strike people from your database. As Green says, “I need to keep a handle on the people in my database so I can continue to build relationships with them.” After more than two decades in the business, Frieson culls her database each December to keep it manageable. “We know who opens up videos and emails, so with no referrals and returned mail and things of that nature, we scrub often so it’s not overwhelming to think I have 20 years of people that we’re talking to,” Frieson says. “That’s the only way to eat an elephant after 22 years.”
3) Commit to consistency. Relationships are built out of familiarity, so it’s crucial to stay top of mind with the folks you’re connecting with. That’s where consistency comes in. As a newer agent building a business from the ground up, Kyei committed early on to DTD2 (calling two letters of the alphabet by last name each week), locking in calendar reminders into his database so he knows all the people he needs to call each week. “It’s all about consistent calling and getting them on the phone,” he says. Because they’ve already received a magazine or email for him in his touch campaign prior to the call, he uses the conversation to deepen the connection. “When I call, I’m checking in with them and coming from a place of contribution to see how they and the people they love are doing,” Kyei says.
4) Figure out who’s in the game. One goal for a sphere-based business is to churn up repeat clients. For Frieson, 95 percent of her business comes from repeat clients, and part of that is due to how she has set up her database. “My rule is I have them labeled as a jersey wearer or a benchwarmer, and my jersey wearers are getting in the game,” she says. “For my jersey wearers, it’s like anytime they think of real estate, they’re going to call me, so those people get talked to weekly.”
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5) Create conversations about real estate. When you talk to your sphere about real estate, you’re really accomplishing two goals. Every interaction can serve to deepen your connection with your sphere, while discussions about real estate also add credence to your role as the economist of choice in your local market. A big element of Kyei’s sphere is his large church community, so he looks for opportunities to talk about real estate with his fellow churchgoers. “One of the things that I’ve been doing is getting in front of them with seminars and coaching them,” he says. “It’s the personal contact that helps people trust you, like you, and want to do business with you, and they also know what value you bring.”
6) Prioritize your connections. The fact is that not everyone in your database will be doing a real estate transaction every year, but in the meantime, they might just refer you to someone else who is buying or selling. One way to keep that referral pipeline open is to place a special focus on nurturing connections with the folks who regularly engage back with you, whether that’s answering the phone, responding to email or, as is the case for Delgado, regularly attending your client appreciation events. “I prioritize the people who are actively engaging with us and the things we’re doing for them,” he says. “The people that are always coming to our events, they’re always feeding us referrals, so rather than me spending my time generating on everybody in the database, I usually just engage with those clients because they’re the ones who are going to have a friend, family, neighbor, or even themselves doing something in real estate.”
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