Keeping the "Real" in Real Estate

With all the technology available to Realtors these days it is easy to get caught up in the tech spiral–Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, mobile apps, texting, e-signatures, videos, blogs, websites…the list is endless. But the result of all this technology, while helping provide customers with relevant and instant information about the community and real estate in general, is that it becomes easy to forget that the real estate business is all about PEOPLE. Once you lose touch with the people, well, you simply lose touch.

I believe there are four things that need to happen in order for a Realtor to provide the best service possible to the client and the community in which s/he works. It is a balance of these that will make one not only a community expert and good salesperson, but also a real person who truly cares about the client.

1. Keep it real: your client is you number one priority and your best bet for future business. You might think “duh,” but believe it or not this is easy to forget in these technologically savvy times. It used to be we picked up a phone to check in with our client and discuss the market, their home search, or even just chat. But it is so easy nowadays to send a text or email instead. Most Realtor websites have back offices that send out automatically generated messages to our clients. Knowing that we are “staying in touch” with our clients may make us feel we are covered, leaving more time to focus on technology to build our businesses. But the client is, and always will be, the pulse of our business.

I suggest that we all make it a New Year’s resolution to return to basics: CALL our clients, take them to lunch, stop by their houses and say hello. Honestly, there is no better way to generate business. Your past and current clients are the ones who will come back to you and send you referrals, but not if you don’t stay in touch. I know it is hard, especially if you have a big client database. But you can always pick up the phone and make a call just to say hello. Make it a part of every day by setting a goal for yourself. You can start out simply by making a goal to call two or three people a day. Make sure to set a time to do this, and put it in your schedule. Eventually it will become a routine.

2.  Blog. I know you have heard this before, but I can assure you that there is NO better way to help people in your community. By providing content about community issues and real estate issues in general, you become an expert in your community. This makes it easy for your clients and others to keep up with community news. I love blogging. I write about all kinds of things I find will interest people. My clients love it, and I also get emails from others asking questions, seeking further information, or wanting my assistance with real estate needs.

The most important thing to remember with blogging is that you want to develop your own style. Don’t worry about blog length: there is no rule as to how long your blog needs to be, what content you need to discuss, or what style of writing you should use. You just have to be yourself–as if you were speaking with a client about the issue. For some writing comes easier (ok, I am a writer so blogging is fun and easy for me), but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Use bullet points or numbers, and bold your sub-topics. This way the reader can skim through your information easier.

Setting up a blog is a no-brainer. Personally I use WordPress. Just go to and you will be walked through setting up your blog. Have an interesting name, OR you can tie your blog into your website (which I highly recommend). Remember to POST TAGS on every blog. These are words or short groups of words that will drive people to your blog on the web. For example, if you are writing a blog about Carlsbad’s newest shopping center you may want to use tags such as “Carlsbad new shopping center,” “Carlsbad shopping,” etc. You also want to categorize your blog. On WordPress the categories are on the right side of your post area, right above Post Tags. Choose categories under which your blog fits. This way when a reader comes to your blog and you have many blogs, he or she can go through the categories to find exactly what they are looking for. You can see an example of this on the home page of my website. Scroll down a bit and you will see the categories on the right, next to my blog section. Finally, you need to give each blog a catchy name, one that will entice people to read it once they find it. If your title is “Carlsbad’s New Restaurant,” it may be less exciting than “Hungry For a Delicious Lunch in Carlsbad?” You get the idea.

It may sound like a lot to remember, but I simply suggest you just start writing. In time you will get the hang of all the categories and tags. I also suggest you post links to your blog on Twitter, your business Facebook page, Trulia, LinkedIn, and any other places you like. You can send an email out to your clients with a link, telling them about your blog and asking them to please check back periodically.

3.  Use technology, but use it wisely. Here is the most important thing you need to know about using technology in real estate: it is necessary BUT it cannot be your main focus. Use it in conjunction with 1 and 2, above. IF you haven’t already, create LinkedIn, Twitter, Trulia and  Facebook business page accounts. Use these social media sites to post links to your blogs, interesting articles you find online, books you have read, or to re-post information you find others have posted. Because it is so easy to sit on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn all day if you could, set times during your day where you check these sites and post information.

4.  Connect with industry leaders. Make sure to follow industry leaders on social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. You will get a lot of great information from these people, and you will learn a lot in the process. Connect with them, comment on their tweets, read their blogs and post interesting comments there. It is incredible what is out there for you if you just spend a bit of time each day on these sites.

The real estate field has come so far in such a short time, and there is so much more we can provide our clients. Gone are the days of huge notebooks stuffed with listings. Clients can get a lot of information on the internet, it’s true, but you have to make yourself stand out as the community expert. Keep in mind that there can be many community experts–I personally don’t understand agents (and there are quite a few) who think this business is all about competition. I believe that all of us have different skills and ways of doing things, and we all should be able to learn from each other. Whom a client clicks with is up to the client. We can all offer the best information we can and if the client wants to take it a step further, that is terrific; if they choose another agent then that is their prerogative. We all need to support each other, because we all have (or should have) the same goal: to make sure our clients have the best information, the best service, and the most positive experience they can in buying or selling real estate. That is how we will continue to keep real estate “real.”

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