Dear Jennifer…for you…the single gal and (shudder) SOI

Many years ago, those folks listening to country music enjoyed Crystal Gayle. One of her songs came to mind as I read a post on active rain. One of those folks you love to read shared her thoughts on SOI. As I read the post, – “You’ve been talking in your sleep” started playing in the quiet corner of my mind that is reserved for soundtracks that show up when I am reading. Now, I am not saying that the entire song came to mind, just the title stanza there. I rechecked the locks on all the doors. I was convinced that Jennifer had slipped in during the darkest hours of the night and like some frenzied court reporter taken a transcript of my dream induced mumbling.

She is so on target with this post ( it should be bookmarked and printed and handed to any new agent entering real estate.

I posted a reply and she replied to my reply that I should create a blog out of my reply to her blog and I figured, hell, she is a published author and I am just a little nice man trying to make nice, so here it is.

I have been a proponent of be yourself, do your job, be available and they will come since my very first days in real estate. I do agree with the genesis of creating a list of your SOI. You have to start somewhere and making a list of who you know sounds like a good idea. Most new agents would head for the door if you told them that they could call 100 strangers and possibly get a transaction. Tell them to call people that know them and like them and the task seems less daunting. The relationship of how likely they are to refer someone to you and then rating them as such is pure poppycock. Any one of them may or may not refer someone to you. It would be much easier if you told them the truth…..stay in touch with people, show an interest in them and learn to care about yourself and how your profession fits in the grand scheme of things.

If you create the list and make a point of calling everyone on the list in a systematic fashion that will have you speak with them once every 42 days, you have accomplished the easy part of “touching base”. It is much harder to actually develop knowledge about others and contact them when it is relevant to something in their life and not yours. You actually have to shut up and listen and care. I don’t care what Buffini, Tracey, Ferry, Knox and all the other guru’s have to say about this. A practiced scripted call sounds just like it is a practiced scripted call. A phone call that is developing or continuing a relationship sounds like it is a call from a friend or associate.

I have no problem using a reminder system to stay in touch with my SOI. I can promise you that when I do talk with them……….real estate does not come up from my side of the conversation. I am calling to keep in touch, find out what’s new in their life, mention something of common interest and reinforce that I am in their life. I do keep track of birthdays, anniversaries and other special dates. I do know the religion of many in my SOI and acknowledge special days. I keep notes. I don’t trust my memory.

If they bring up real estate, I share the information they request. End of subject. It is done in the same friendly tone that I might share the results of the raffle held at the fair. I am convinced that if you act like you are the expert, you don’t have to beat people over the head with the “I am the neighborhood expert” game plan.

If at a party, someone asks, “what do you do?”, I answer…”I am a realtor. In my spare time my wife and I enjoy creating art with painting and photography.” I always give them an out so they don’t feel like they have to walk through the mine field of “who do you know, etc.” They came to enjoy a party. If they wanted to hear a sales presentation they would have gone to an Amway or Partylite get together. (Come to think of it, a lot of people are sandbagged at those events too!).

I can only share that if you begin or end every or any phone call with “oh, by the way, if you know anyone that is looking to buy or sell …blah blah blah”….caller i.d. will cut down on your number of completed calls in short order. Instead of “it’s Jennifer on the phone” it soon becomes “oh for christ sake, it’s jennifer bugging you again about real estate. let it go to the answering machine.”

If every chance meeting begins or ends with “oh, by the way, if you know anyone…blah blah blah”, you will begin to notice people crossing the street before they have to put up with your “elevator pitch”. You will find yourself convinced you saw someone across the room and they have vanished before you could reach them.

For the love of pizza, just be yourself. It is o.k. to be you. If you work hard at your job, referrals will come. Rather than sitting in front of a mirror practicing what you will say, focus on the skills that will make you good at your profession. Once you learn to carry yourself with an air of self confidence, people will know who you are and what you do.

The trainers and brokers will not share this with you. You are more attractive and approachable with spinach stuck in your teeth than you are when you leave people feeling like they are nothing more than a stepping stone to your next deal.

There…it is sort of a blog. Jen……it is all for you : )

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