Regardless of the business, people prefer to be associated with those they are comfortable with. Building that level of comfort does not happen overnight. It requires constant effort that takes months – and sometimes even years – to achieve. Once you get to a point where your business partners feel comfortable around you, it will completely change your the business’ atmosphere. Instead of fighting for leads you will be focused on deals. While building relationships may seem like an uphill battle at times, it is best to view it as a marathon and not a sprint. It is the little things that matter more than you may think. Here are six tips to help you develop or improve your business relationships:
- Play To Your Strengths: There are many successful personality types in the real estate industry. Instead of trying to be like other successful investors in your area, try a different approach. Nothing is more transparent than being unoriginal. You don’t have to be a salesman all the time to find deals. Some of the best relationships you will make will be when you start off talking about something other than real estate. If you have a sense of humor or an easy going personality, don’t be afraid to show it. However, for every one person who likes aggressive and assertive personalities there will be someone who prefers the opposite. You don’t need to look, talk or act like anyone else to build relationships. Instead of focusing on who you aren’t or what you can’t do, consider your strengths. They will benefit you more than you think.
- Get Out There: Building relationships is largely about repetition. The more people who hear or see your name, the more likely they will be to reach out to you. Everything you do has some impact whether you know it or not. Something as small as advertising on a church bulletin board may not produce an avalanche of leads, but could be a deciding factor for someone months from now. To build your profile, you need to saturate your local market. Research every local networking club and real estate group. Make it a point to go to as many meetings as possible. There will be plenty of times when you wonder why you are doing something but you will eventually notice the results. Every little league game, dance competition or town fair is an opportunity to meet new people. Take advantage of this and get your name and face out there every chance you get.
- Think Long Term: The most powerful asset you have in any business is a good relationship. If you spend enough money, you can probably generate short term leads. While these leads may give your business a quick boost, they could be fool’s gold. When building relationships, you need to look at the big picture. Instead of aggressively asking for a client’s next deal, be casual and leave it open ended. Nobody likes to feel pushed to make a decision or give an answer. By asking to be at least considered when a potential buyer needs work done down the road, you leave the request open. Following up is a critical next step. Someone may not even be thinking about working with you today but you never know what they may have in future weeks or months. Long term relationships aren’t formed overnight but they are the most meaningful.
- Be A Problem Solver: One of the things you can do to separate yourself from the crowd is be a problem solver. Anyone can close the easy deals but what about the difficult ones? It is these deals that will help you stand out. To do this, you need to be ready for anything that comes your way. When you have down time, you should read and learn as much about the business as you can. When it is time to act, you need to be upfront with what you can and cannot do. There are times when you need to say no or admit that a deal is not for you. This is far better than being a yes man and then not delivering. Solving problems is important but you should know your limitations.
- Refer Others: Building relationships is a two way street. While you are essentially asking for business or access to it, you need to think about the other side of things. What can you do for them? Any time you have a deal or lead that doesn’t work for you, it should be referred to someone else. Even if it doesn’t end up working out, they will appreciate and remember the gesture. If you keep your eyes and ears open, you will come across more leads than you realize. Think of the big picture and the good that will be created when referring leads to others. Eventually this will be reciprocated and a relationship is formed.
Building relationships often means doing things for people that don’t have immediate value. A friend may ask you to discuss the short sale process with someone who needs help. Your 30 minute phone call may not lead to a sale, but it can impress the listing agent who has access to future deals. Building good relationships is something you should try to do every day. Once you do, you and your business will reap the rewards.