How do you build your social capital? Saul Klein, widely known as an Internet evangelist, has stated that "networking is networking" no matter how we make the connections. Social media has certainly given us a new method to connect with people, but it is the quality of the communication that counts. Whether a face-to-face meeting or a Tweet, the message needs to engage the person we are focusing on.
Building a relationship is learning about the other person. Building a relationship should be the first goal of any social media connection. FORD counseling concepts will help guide your conversation to the interests of the other person. Connect with them about Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams/Goals.
Our current top real estate markets are Boomers and Gen Xers. Let's summarize a few issues in building relationships with them.
The idealistic Boomers are known as the "me" generation. They want you to listen to what they are saying--so stop talking long enough to hear. They expect you to understand their focus on "what's in it for me?" They want to know that you are rooted in the community, have civic interests and are involved in community activities. They don't want a hard sell. They expect you to be the expert, so your communication has to reflect your expertise without seeming to pressure or promote a personal agenda. You need to show them the value of taking an action based on an in-depth knowledge of the area, the financial climate, the real estate market, and how it all relates to their expectations. You get the picture--you must be the expert.
Gen Xers are skeptical and don't trust the establishment. They want to surround themselves with family and friends. You need to create a connection that makes them feel that you authentically care for them. They want quality not brand. You will need to prove your loyalty and verify your expertise. Use data, not sizzle, to demonstrate your professional qualifications.
One of my favorite mentors made a huge impression on me when she said, "Your job is not to sell. Your job is to create a desire to buy." As real estate professionals we are tasked with understanding our clients and how their desires, lifestyles, financial circumstances affect their real estate decisions. We must turn information into focused knowledge tailored for them. Our move from salesperson to counselor reflects the shift from "finding" real property to "evaluating" the property. The desire to buy comes from knowing the benefits of the purchase. In addition to location, location, location, the buyer needs guidance on financing options, investment strategies, taxation issues and much more. As counselors we must be experts in the subject of real estate. In representing our clients we need to understand valuation, negotiation, and contract creation. Additionally, we need to be skilled in working with other agents and affiliated businesses.
It's a demanding set of requirements, but as real estate professionals, we can know that our expertise has enabled our clients to find the right homes for them. We will then have satisfied clients, repeat buyers, Clients for Life, and we will become the Agent of Choice.
Carmen and Lloyd Multhauf are the founding developers of the Generational Housing Specialist™ Council, a national real estate designation that focuses on the unique impacts made by different generations in establishing housing trends, financial products, negotiating skills and reaching a successful closing.