For agents, and especially new agents, family and friends are the first and most important resource in getting a business off the ground. They are likely the only network you have starting out, and might give you your first listing or referral. But for both new and veteran agents, how much is too much when it comes to promoting yourself to your circle? When and where is the most effective time to promote, remind and market your business to aunts, cousins, old classmates, co-workers, siblings and step-parents, and when and where is it just going to annoy people, potentially detracting from both your business and personal life?
Here are a few tips to balance your marketing when it comes to personal relationships and your real estate business.
Social media is great, but must be authentic
It can be tempting to leverage your personal Facebook, Twitter, TikTok or other social media, since you likely have a larger reach there compared to business accounts (at least for newer agents). You have to be extremely careful not to overdo reminders, promotions or inquiries. A third cousin you haven’t spoken to since 1999 probably won’t immediately jump to use your services after getting a DM out of the blue. Sometimes it is best to take a softer approach, making sure you remind your friends and followers of your business and letting them come to you. It never hurts to simply reconnect with people, and allow the subject of real estate to come up naturally — especially during times like this when related topics are often in the headlines.
Plant seeds, but don’t swing for the fences on casual hang-outs
When you’re at a friend’s house for dinner or showing off your skills on the links, the hard pitch is often ill-advised. Unless there is a business aspect to the get-together, try to keep the real estate talk short, simple and unassuming — ask about what people are doing with their homes, get their attention with a little local market knowledge and then move on. You want to be a knowledgeable and familiar face, not a pushy-sounding workaholic. That doesn’t mean sit back if someone gives you an opening — don’t ignore a friend or acquaintance pondering out loud the idea of selling or buying a home! But don’t use social gatherings as an excuse to center your work life at the expense of everyone else.
Don’t let your pitch sound like a pitch
No one wants to feel like a prospect when interacting with a friend or family member. Whatever pitch or script you use for other potential clients, overhaul it when you are speaking to someone you know personally. Although every relationship is different, you likely won’t want to spend as much time trying to convince a second cousin or a college friend to trust you, or talking about your skills. Instead, focus on them, what you understand about their needs and priorities. Try to find a balance between your usual, casual tone and cadence your more professional “real estate voice” —you don’t want to give them the impression that you aren’t going to be professional, but you also don’t want to sound like a totally different person.
Family and friends are an important part of a real estate business, and leveraging them is both appropriate and wise. Don’t be afraid to make them aware of what you do or pitch them on buying or selling a home, but with a little thoughtfulness and strategy you can avoid crossing boundaries and make sure you find a balance in how you lean on them.