Real estate is a great career path because startup costs are fairly low, and there are many ways to get leads as a new real estate agent.
And while there are many options with social media, and paid services, many of these channels ignore the soft skills necessary to become a successful real estate agent.
Being an active listener is a great way to find hidden transactions in your everyday life.
And while that may sound like it should be pretty easy to pull off, if you don't know what to look for, or I should say "listen for", well you are going to miss opportunities to expand.
And once you get into real estate, you realize just how much competition there is when looking for new leads.
Every real estate agent in your market is looking for more buyers and sellers.
Just check Facebook or Instagram. Every humble post "I feel so humbled by so and so allowing me to represent them on their new home" is a sentiment that is really saying... "hey, I want to help you too!"
And yes, putting a nice sentiment out into the ether about how grateful you are is not at all a bad thing, but the example is made to show you that every agent has finding new real estate leads on their mind, so developing ways to do find them before others do, is a critical maneuver to survive as a new real estate agent.
It is harder to focus today than any other time in history.
How do I know this?
Let me turn back the clock for a moment.
I entered the real estate business fresh out of college in 1995, and things were very different.
Computers just started, there was no text messaging, and no GPS.
And please know, this is not a post about "the good ol days", because it was hard arranging showings back then.
The FORD technique is meant to build relationships and is a skill that many top real estate agents develop over time.
In fact, many agents don't know they are doing it, and learning to listening for opportunities typically just happens naturally, as agents gain experience and get more skills.
Now imagine being able to fast forward this learning curve.
Being purposeful and having a plan to actively listen for life changes will drastically increase your success rate in your new endeavor.
F - stands for Family
O - stands for Occupation
R - stands for Recreation
D - stands for Dreams
In normal, every day conversations different topics will naturally arise.
Family is a topic that is easy to get into, and here's an example of how listening for changes in someone's family will help you.
You're a new real estate agent.
You just started your career 4 months ago and you are eager to find new business.
You are beginning to see some results and you got your first property under contract.
Mary is a first time buyer that just made her way to your town and she is excited to have found a one bedroom condo. It's what she can afford, it's in a good area and this is the one, for now she says. (she's right)
While you are having it inspected, you get a chance to find out more about Mary.
It turns out, she is getting married next Spring to Mark. Mark is in medical school, and when he graduates, he will move in with Mary.
So here we have a one bedroom condo - two people
When Mark gets here, and they get settled, and the wedding dust settles, well Mark and Mary's new life is going to begin to get cramped.
Wedding gifts, the new Peloton - the one bedroom condo needs to go!
So here we started with one small condo, and now we have another sale - the same condo - and hey, they're going to need a new place.
That's right! Through deeper conversation, and listening for Mark and Mary's family situation, you find out that both Mark and Mary are only children.
No brothers and no sisters on either side.
A rare pair - but it can happen.
All of this is very important information because what happens when young people get married?
Normally, the next step is children.
Mark has no siblings.
Mary has no siblings.
Mark and Mary both each have parents though. And what happens when parents see their children get married? They start hoping for grandchildren, and believe me, it is very common as a real estate agent to see parents following their children because of grandkids.
Mary's grandparents are three hours away.
That's too far to be a babysitter - they are moving!
Same thing for Mark's parents - they are excited and ready to spoil the new addition. They live 7 hours away. That's way too far, and they will be moving too!
There are many great opportunities that come from your customer's workplace, and by listening to these changes, you can develop many transactions, but you have to listen.
Let's say you meet Anthony.
Anthony contacted you from your YouTube channel, and when you meet to show him around, you learn that he is working for a manufacturing facility and they just acquired a company in your market.
Through a friendly conversation, you find out that Anthony is in charge of HR, and they have plans to expand.
In fact he already came out and said three of his colleagues are coming in the fall.
Anthony is head of HR for a company moving people here, and he knows you!
You are his agent.
In order to become his agent of choice, there are many things you must do during the transaction, like not drop the ball, and overly communicate.
But there's much more to do at the CRM level. If you don't know what that is, think of an address book on steroids. Everyone you meet, know, think will work with you, want to remember - everyone that you know, in your town, should go into a database.
If you don't have one, here's a link to Expert Free Real Estate CRM.
You'll want to categorize and tag Anthony in your CRM as an "influencer who refers".
Recreation is something that you should certainly tune into, as it gives you the chance to develop your super powers in the future.
Imagine reaching back out to Mary after all of her grandparents move. You explain to her that during the closing you found that her mother really loves flowers, and there is an author coming into town that has a flower farm.
You buy 6 tickets for the meet and greet and you want to hand her a dinner for 6 certificate for that same night as a thank you for buying her first home with you.
But wait, how did you remember that her mom likes flowers?
The closing was 18 months ago!
You did it because you were organized and because you have a good CRM.
There are so many marketing and nurturing options to consider with recreation.
Since they are now on the coast, maybe you heard from Anthony that he and his work colleagues want to learn inshore fly fishing.
18 months after Anthony's first purchase, you arrange for a local charter guide to teach he and the three leads he sent you fly fishing for an afternoon.
Listening in real estate should be done very carefully.
It can mean a lot of business, and it starts by just having your antennas up and by documenting, remembering and most importantly, taking action on the different things that you hear.
This one is pretty easy to pick up on.
As soon as you start building a close rapport, you'll start to get closer and more personal.
When your customer, or really I should say "new friend" starts to share what they want for the future, you're there listening, and taking mental notes.
You return to your CRM with Anthony's dreams and note that he has three children and that he would like to have a home for each of them by the time they are all married.
You can start to communicate with him on areas that are growing, new home incentives being offered and basically help him make his dreams come true.
This is just one group of very small things you can do as a real estate agent to nurture and foster great relationships.
Being in a position to transform, is much better than be the person that just wants to transact.
If you need a CRM to make all of this happen, you should try Expert. It's a free real estate CRM with some amazing premium features.
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