Here’s what you don’t want to do: Approach the attorney and talk about how great you are at selling houses. Let me give you a little tip. That’s not what the attorneys are looking for in an agent. Not at all.
Here’s what the attorneys are looking for: Someone who will take care of them. They know that all good agents will do a good job at selling homes — and “good” agents are a dime a dozen.
Here are some qualities attorneys want in an agent:
- An agent that looks out for them — An attorney doesn’t want someone who will talk badly about them or throw them under the bus.
- An agent that communicates with them — Attorneys hate to be put in a position where they have to say “I don’t know.” So, keeping them updated is a big selling point.
- An agent that is easy to get along with — You may thrive on drama, but most attorneys find that annoying.
- An agent that is sensitive to the client’s situation — This is imperative when the client is going through a hard time. People going through divorces or grieving lost loved ones don’t need any additional stress.
You don’t need to be a “slick” networker to get referrals from attorneys.
That wouldn’t work for me because I’m not big into networking. If you shove me into a room with 100 people I don’t know, I don’t feel comfortable walking around, handing out my business card. It’s just not my gig.
But just because it’s one of my shortcomings doesn’t mean it can’t work for you. If that’s something you want to do, then go to Bar Association meetings, hang out and get to know people.
I think that actually would be a good idea if networking is one of your strengths. But what do you say to the attorney when you first meet them?
Here’s what you don’t want to do.
You can’t just walk up and say “Hey, I’m a Realtor. Send me business.” That won’t work. You’ve got to figure out how to approach them.
Don’t make it all about you. Don’t tell them how great you are at selling houses. You need to show them how what you do will benefit them.
Here’s a real-life example.
I was recently walking around my neighborhood. One of my neighbors (four doors down) happens to be a Realtor. He’s like, “Hey, how are you doing?” He’s never met me before.
He’s asking me if I want to buy a house and telling me he’s a Realtor. He pitched me less than a minute after meeting him. It was extremely off-putting.
Obviously, I didn’t tell him I’m also a Realtor.
Learning How To Build Relationships Is A New Skill For Most Realtors.
I will tell you this myself. Years ago in real estate, I didn’t understand how to build relationships. Five, 10 years ago, if you said, “Ben, go get divorce attorneys and probate attorneys and build a relationship and get referrals from them,” I would not have had a clue how to do so.
Here’s the question: Are you willing to learn a new skill that can make you a ton of money? And make the real estate business way more enjoyable?
I’m going to show you how to build relationships. I’m not going to be sharing my own advice, but rather showing you what I’ve learned from other people in my real estate career.
Building Relationships With Attorneys Will Help You Stabilize Your Business.
Here’s the deal. Building relationships can turn things around for a Realtor who’s used to having to chase down new business every single day. It can get you out of the rat race.
I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again.
About eight years ago, I met a salesperson who made really good money. This guy made about $250K a year, was working about 40 hours a week, had just changed jobs, but was still making a ton of money as a straight commission salesperson. If he didn’t sell, he didn’t get paid — literally.
But despite all that, he was still making a ton of sales — a ton of money — and was always on vacation. And here I was selling real estate, constantly working.
This guy was not always on the prowl for new business. I asked him, “What the heck do you do? How the heck do you make all these sales and make all this money without working that hard? I’m busting my butt every single day chasing down new prospects.”
He said, “I have repeat customers. I have people that buy from me over and over and over again. We’ve got good relationships. I find one customer. I do a good job. I take care of them. I look out for them. They’ll buy from me for five to 10 years and as a result — because I know these people and I’ve taken the time to develop good relationships — I get a lot of business from them.”
Bottom line: He made really good money because he established good relationships.
Obviously, there’s more to it than that. He had to make sure he took care of his customers. He looked out for them. He answered the phone within reason when they called, et cetera.
He made a much better living without constantly having to chase down new customers. That’s the power of building relationships.
If you can go out and you can develop great relationships with 10, 20, 30 attorneys in your town, you could literally be set for life in your real estate business — provided you take care of those attorneys.
Here’s another story. I remember reading an article recently where some guy was going to start up a cheap brokerage online.
He said, “The reason I started up a brokerage like this is because my mother sold a million-dollar house, and the agent made like $20,000 commission and never contacted her again.”
I know I’ve done the same thing in my business. I’ve sold a house, made my money, and never focused on the relationship.
Here’s Proof That You Can Build Relationships And Get Business.
I grew up in a little town called Lake City, Fla.
About 10 years ago, there was a company opening a new plant in the area. This was not a huge company. They didn’t have a big formal relocation like some fortune 500 companies.
They moved about 10 to 12 executives to Florida. These executives were told, “Just go find a Realtor and buy a house. We’re paying for your relocation. We don’t have a specific relocation company. Just go move to Florida and buy a house.”
The first executive shows up in town and happens to meet the top agent in Lake City. The agent was super professional, knew his stuff, was competent, professional, et cetera.
The executive met with him and was very impressed.
He recommended the agent to all of his coworkers. Most of his co-workers started looking at houses with this top agent. By this point in time, the top agent had done his job. He was good. He was professional. He was knowledgeable. He knew the town.
But another agent, whom I know personally, earned most of the relocation buyers’ business. He had heard about the company moving to Lake City and saw it as an opportunity.
Here was the difference between this agent and the top agent. The top agent had never worked at a corporate job. He’d gone straight into real estate after he graduated from college, and all he knew was real estate.
He didn’t know corporate America. He didn’t understand relationships. He didn’t understand how to earn corporate America’s business.
The new agent — who ended up getting most of the business — contacted the corporate headquarters in Indiana, sent them a relocation packet, told them how he could help, and why the executives should work with him.
He did one more thing. He put together a solid incentive for the buyers to work with him.
Basically, he said, “If you buy a house with me, I’ll pay $3,000 of your closing costs.” To him, it was worth it to pay an incentive to gain these buyers’ business.
Here’s what happened. The corporate headquarters sent the executives his info. One of them called to inquire about a house he had listed. The agent realized the buyer was with the company and told him about his incentive offer.
He’s like, “Look, you need to talk to your friends, the other people relocating, because if you buy a house with me, I’ll pay $3,000 of your closing costs.”
This buyer told all of his co-workers, and they switched over to him.
He ended up selling about 10 to 12 different houses to the people who were relocating. I think he made about $80,000 in commissions. Most of them were pretty easy sales.
Sometimes, the key to building relationships is thinking outside the box. You’ve got to do something a little bit different.
To build relationships with attorneys, you have to look at the interaction from their perspective.
Let’s compare the Realtor perspective with the attorney perspective.
The Realtor: “Everybody’s all about money. Maybe I need to pay them a referral fee.”
The Attorney: “I’m sick and tired of these Realtors the sellers hire. They cause problems. They don’t understand if paperwork is delayed. They complain about me and talk behind my back. I just want an agent who is going to be easy to work with.”
A lot of you are probably thinking, “If I go to these attorneys, they’re just going to shoot me down.”
But look at it from their perspective.
They could be thinking, “I just need a Realtor that’s going to be easy to get along with, that’s going to return phone calls, and that’s going to be understanding if any issues pop up.”
And there will probably be issues. I’ve sold estate properties before, and just when everything was running smoothly, there was an issue with the title because of the estate. It took about three months to get it resolved.
If I’m rude and harsh and trash-talk the attorney, it causes problems for them. If I’m easy to get along with, maybe they’ll send me more business in the future.
Here’s How To See Things From The Attorney’s Perspective.
There are relationships in real estate you probably already have that are similar to a potential attorney-agent relationship.
I’m talking specifically about the relationships we form with lenders, mortgage brokers, bankers, et cetera.
How many of us have referred business to a banker, lender or mortgage broker? A lot of us have.
The attorney-agent relationship is just like this, except the nature of your role is reversed.
Let’s put ourselves in the driver’s seat and answer some questions.
What are some of the things you look for in a lender? What’s important to you?
Me? I look for a lender who gets the job done, closes on time, lets me know what’s going on, and works well with my customers.
It also helps to have someone who actually answers the phone when we hit bumps in the road and is honest and upfront about approvals.
The bottom line? Most of us are looking for a lender who takes care of us.
Attorneys want the same thing. If you’re willing to change how you interact with attorneys, you can get a lot of business.
Let me ask you some more questions.
Would you refer your buyer to a lender if that lender talked badly about you?
Let’s just say you sent a buyer to a lender and something went awry. Maybe the survey didn’t get ordered in time or something fell through and the lender starts trashing you. Would you send more business to that lender? I know I wouldn’t.
Would you refer a buyer to a lender if the lender turned around and referred that buyer to another Realtor?
I wouldn’t send them business. Let’s say I had a really good buyer that was buying a million-dollar house. If I referred that buyer to a lender and they sent them to somebody else, I would never do business with that lender again.
Do you like working with a lender who doesn’t return your calls?
If you’re going to be getting business from attorneys, you have to call them back and keep them updated about what’s going on.
Do you want to work with a lender that stabs you in the back because they lost a deal?
I wouldn’t want to work with them. I’m going to tell you upfront: You will probably lose a sale or listing, just given the nature of the client base. If you talk badly about an attorney when a deal falls through, you could permanently lose business from them, and they might also tell other attorneys to avoid you.
Here’s a quick example. This is a true story I saw on Facebook.
An agent was working with a lender who wasn’t doing a good job, so he fired him. When the lender found out he’d lost the deal, he started causing problems and tried to get revenge by calling the listing agent.
Obviously, that agent is never going to send business to the lender again.
Bottom line: Don’t burn bridges with attorneys.
Remember that the client still belongs to the attorney. They may have sent you the business, but it’s still their customer. Don’t cut them out of the loop.
If you take care of the attorney, they’re going to send more business to you. It’s as simple as that.
Would you rather pay 25% out of every single deal to get business from attorneys, or would you rather just be easy to get along with?
I think I know the answer. Let’s keep going.