My son started his freshman year last month. Although he was playing it cool, I could tell he was nervous. The expectation is that high school is harder, has higher stakes, and is just simply a bigger deal. His level of concern escalated when he realized that although surrounded by familiar faces, none of his friends were in any of his classes or at lunch.
This fact was really bothering him. So we talked about getting to know some of the other kids who also don’t have friends around. We discussed ways of striking up conversations and the art of small talk.
Small talk is torture to him. It’s torture to me, too. Initiating conversation with random strangers is not our idea of fun.
But I also get that if you want things to change, you need to be the one to change it.
Think about how we meet new clients in real estate. Sure, there are times when they come to us; when they initiate the conversation whether through calling, emailing, texting, or coming to an open house. Those are the easy clients to start a relationship with. But what about all the other people- the ones who are thinking about buying or selling, but are too busy, too timid, or too introverted to get the ball rolling? How can we put ourselves in a position to meet those people?
Go Where the People Are. Go to a coffee shop or restaurant, put a little sign on your table that says “ Ask An Agent” and offer to buy people a drink if they ask you a question. Some people might need you to take the initiative. Ask if they are wondering what a certain property is listed for, or if they are curious what the average sale price is in their neighborhood, or what a buddy sold their house for. Everyone has at least one question when prompted, and it will most likely lead to more.
Listen. How many times have you overheard a conversation about real estate? My colleague was in line at the grocery store and listened to the lady in front of her mention to the clerk that she wanted to see a house but couldn’t get an agent to call her back. My colleague promptly handed over her card. You need to be willing to put yourself out there when these opportunities show themselves. I’ve overheard real estate discussions at the dealership, restaurants, fairgrounds, waiting in line at the movies… you get the idea. Have the courage to say something.
Dress for Success Everyday. When you look professional, not only will you feel more confident, but you give the impression that you are a full-time, dedicated expert. I dress up everyday now, regardless of what’s on my schedule. I sat at the repair shop for three hours waiting for my husband’s car to get fixed. It was a scheduled appointment, so I knew I’d be there for awhile, but what I didn’t know was what the rest of my day would look like. I ended up showing three vacant homes at the last minute and swinging by a client’s house to grab some paperwork. You just never know how your day will unfold, so it’s best to always look professional during regular office hours.
Leave Your Desk. One of my colleagues with 46 years in this business has a seat cushion that reads, “You can’t sell them sitting here.” How true is that? Get out and get involved. He’s 81 and between Kiwanis, golf league, bridge, and officiating meets, he has no shortage of clients. He out-networks all of us.
Volunteer. I know you’ve heard this before. Some people have a couple extra hours a week, others have a few to spare a month. I seriously don’t have much time for this, but I’ve found that if you are passionate about something, you will make time to get involved in it. Somehow I’ve managed to get the hours needed for my Master Gardener certification all because I’m motivated by my hobby, and I’ve picked up a couple clients as a result. If you like doing something, you can find a group out there who likes the same thing and needs volunteers.
As for my son, the thought of having his schedule changed crossed my mind. But then I realized that this is a good experience for him. His level of unhappiness and discomfort will only go away when he decides he wants to make the situation better.
The same thing can be said for us as adults. As an introvert, I have to give myself a pep talk before every gathering, appointment, or outing. I tell myself that I need to open my mouth and speak. I told my son the same. And now I’m telling you. If you want more clients, you need to talk. You need to be aware of your surroundings. And you need to go where the people are. Take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way, and then watch your business grow.
Amy Gilpin, Realtor, Associate Broker, Manager, ABR.
Fourteen years of helping clients. Six years of helping agents. All for this crazy thing we call real estate.
Production Realty 517-879-4141 Jackson, MI Amy@ProductionRealty.com