Dear Coach: How Do I Talk About Real Estate With My Friends?
How do I talk about my real estate business with my friends so they don’t think I am just after their business AND so I don’t jeopardize our friendship?”
Afraid of Losing Friends
Dear Afraid of Losing Friends:
This is an important question since your friends know you, like you, and trust you, which makes them a critical part of your Sphere of Influence.
Don Joseph, a Coldwell Banker agent in Burien, WA, is a great example of an agent who comfortably combines friends and his real estate business. When talking with his friends he will bring up an interesting transaction or a unique house he recently previewed. “When meeting or talking with friends, real estate always comes up,” says Don.
When the Street of Dreams houses were open for touring, he took friends to preview them. When a friend makes a referral, Don invites the friend to tour houses with them. This way his friends have a clear idea of what Don does as a real estate agent. When it comes to asking his friends for referrals, Don isn’t shy. He just asks them if they know of anyone who is looking to buy or sell a home. “The more times you ask for referrals, the more comfortable it gets” says Don.
Here are some additional ideas:
1. When you meet with friends, or talk with them on the phone, it is very likely that during the conversation they will ask you how you are doing or how your real estate business is going. When this happens, it is your opportunity to talk about the local real estate market and trends; and to show up as the real estate expert, which you are.
2. When beginning to discuss a real estate related topic with a friend, you could say “I would like to put on my Real Estate hat for a moment and share some interesting information. Is that OK?” When you are done sharing, you can then say “I am taking my real estate hat off now.” This approach communicates to your friends that being a Real Estate agent is separate and apart from being their friend.
3. During these conversations, you can position yourself as a “Real Estate Resource Person”. You can accomplish this by inviting your friends and family to feel free to contact you when they have a real estate related question or concern, and that you would be happy to help them. An example would be if they are looking for a plumber or electrician – rather than looking in the phone book, you can refer them to someone you know and trust. This is providing value – it is giving, not taking.
4. Finally, be honest and tell your friends and family that your business is based on referrals (if in fact it is). Be up front and ask them if they are comfortable referring people to you. If they say yes, great! If they say no, that is OK too. Respect their wishes and they will respect you.
In summary, share your interesting experiences as an agent, offer to be of service, and be OK if some of your friends or family choose not to use you as their agent. There are plenty who will.
(Stuart Kaufman, MS, MBA, is a Real Estate Business Coach who specializes in helping real estate agents earn a six-figure income working 40 hours per week. He also specializes in helping real estate agents, who have teams, manage them more effectively and efficiently. Stuart resides in Washington State and is a regular contributor to numerous real estate publications nationwide. Got a question for the coach? Contact Stuart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-725-1584.)