Build Better Working Relationships, Think of Real Estate Like Dating
You wouldn’t produce an engagement ring immediately upon meeting someone from a dating app or try to compare possible kids’ names on a second date, would you? We hope not!
Expecting that kind of commitment (or even the mere consideration of it) would be silly. You’d scare that potential love interest away in seconds. So, why do real estate agents take the same approach when they meet with a potential buyer or seller of a home? Why do they ask people who they’ve just met — people who are still not sure of their name — to give them their home listing or sign a contract at the first meeting?
We see it all the time on Facebook ads and real estate websites — “Buy Now,” “Subscribe Today” or “Sign Up” — way-too-early calls for commitments that feel arrogant, pushy and even a bit dodgy. This commitment-pushing approach certainly wouldn’t work with dating, so why do agents and mortgage brokers try this when people have serious money on the line?
In Real Estate and Finance, Business is Earned with Relationship-Building
At the end of the day, it’s important that agents remember they’re building a relationship with home buyers and sellers. As a potential client, you want them to invest in your working relationship. They need to understand who you are and what’s important to you. You may meet a couple of times for coffee; you learn about them, they get to know you, and they earn your trust.
They put in the effort and prove their worth.
When you think of your business relationships as human relationships, the steps to building and strengthening those connections become clearer. Think of it like the phases of dating:
Hey there: This is that first impression — the one that makes you take a second look and then maybe a third. It’s how you become aware of their personal brand or that the agent or broker even exists. It could be a referral, an ad on a website or a Match Made with Mortgage Sandbox’s Match Finder App.
Early banter: This phase is when you start to show interest. It’s when they make you laugh or hold the door open for you, and you become keen to learn more about them. It’s when you begin to feel a professional connection and decide that this agent may be worth your time. You’ll engage with them in a low-commitment way, like commenting on their Facebook post or watching a YouTube video they created.
Add on Social Media: By now, you’ve established enough of a rapport that if they ask to add you on LinkedIn or for your email, you’re comfortable giving them your information or setting up that “first date.” This is when you might subscribe to the agent’s listing alerts or fill out a checklist about the property you’re looking to sell.
Going Steady: You’ve had a few dates with great food, laughter and fun. The foundation is there, and there’s some foundational trust. The agent asks you to “go steady,” and you accept. This is when they can ask for the commitment — the purchase, appointment or paid subscription. It’s the point where it’s finally appropriate to ask you to sign an exclusivity agreement.
Engagement: Now, you’re excited about building a future. They’re talking about potential wedding destinations and children’s names and thinking about moving in. This is when excitement builds about the many possibilities. You go on tours of homes, or they help you stage your property. In short, they’re proving that you made the right choice.
Marriage: You’re well into your relationship, and you’re on solid, trusting ground. You marry, have kids and buy a house and continue on successfully for the long haul. This is when you may become an advocate and recommend the agent to your friends and family.
As unrelated as dating and real estate may seem, it’s a fun way to explain that buying or selling a home is not just a transaction; it is a business relationship. You will team up with your real estate agent and mortgage broker and collaborate on a strategy to get the most value for yourself. On the other side of this equation, there will be a buyer or seller who has their own team of advisors who are helping them to get the highest value. Most people take three months to successfully buy a home, so this is a serious and complex undertaking. In dating, you don’t ask for commitments too early or pressure someone to move in before they know anything about you. Likewise, when selecting your real estate professional, you should follow an incremental, natural progression that’s comfortable for you to confirm that your objectives and priorities are aligned.
That’s why Mortgage Sandbox developed the Match Finder app. It matches home buyers and sellers with local, pre-screened real estate agents and mortgage brokers based on aligned values. We believe aligned values lead to better working relationships and a more successful home buying and selling experience. If you’re in the market, try it today.