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HDC-Gustafson-Blog-2470When your sixth grade geography teacher gets ready to sell their home, are they going to think of you? How about your college roommate or the barista who takes your coffee order most mornings? In last month’s Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, Ashton Gustafson explains the importance of building and maintaining relationships in real estate.

How many potential listings have you lost because your lead has a friend or relative in real estate? Gustafson suggests that “you may have the best marketing, you may be the most dominant agent in the marketplace, but if someone has a true, life-giving friendship or relationship with someone, that’s typically who they’re going to select [to be their agent].”

By taking the time to analyze and track his leads, Gustafson found that about 70% of his business comes from personal connections, referrals, and repeat business. He suggests that the secret to referral lead generation is to “be the brand in their head,” so that when someone is ready to buy or sell their home, you are the person they think of. To do this, you have to plant seeds of trust and build a friendship.

1. Begin building relationships by reaching out to 25 people each day by call or text message. The calls don’t have to be deep, emotional heart-to-heart conversations. You don’t even have to get them on the line. Just let your text or voicemail pop up on their screen and wish them a happy home anniversary or let them know you were just checking in to say “hi.”

2. Gustafson points out, “When real estate is brought up, [you] want to be the individual, the name, the brand that people trust.” Try adding 25 daily personal prospecting emails to your calls to build trust with your connections. Share specific, relevant, hyper-local information with your connections to build your reputation as their go-to expert.

3. Write 5 personal, handwritten thank you notes each day. People don’t often get handwritten letters anymore, and you may be surprised at how much people will appreciate you taking time to write them. You can use handwritten notes to reconnect with old connections (like old teachers or roommates) or build newer ones (such as with your barista).

For more tips, watch Ashton Gustafson’s Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, “Time Management: Systems, Tools, and Disciplines.” Also, be sure to register for the next Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar with Jim Remley, “Marketing Luxury Homes” online at SecretsofTopSellingAgents.com.