During these challenging times for real estate agents and brokers, it can be critical to get back to the basics of the business. Although property is at the epicenter of the financial transaction, it's people who ultimately control decisions to buy, sell, invest and rent.

Here are 17 time-tested tips from real estate brokers and agents throughout the U.S. who always put people first.

Building Strong Relationships

Active listening, building trust, and communication are common themes from these successful real estate professionals.

  1. "Make personal phone calls to check on your clients, especially seniors, to see how they are doing and let them know you are here for them." — Kimberly Platt, Realtor®, SRES, CNE
  2. "It's more critical than ever not to be a 'secret agent.' Communicate with clients more than ever. ... Be honest about what's going on. ... Take the time to educate yourself and then let your clients know that you are available for questions and concerns. Don't hide behind the fear." — Kathie Lozano Sitton, Realtor®, Andy Dane Carter Team, The Address
  3. "You don't have to talk about real estate. Be of service to your clients in any way you can help them." — Steven Kilgore, Branch Manager, Coronado & Metro
  4. "Remember that real estate is not simply about transactions, but also about the transitions people are going through in their lives that brought them to the decision to sell or buy. It's our job to understand that and to foster the process for them as seamlessly as possible." — Michelle Rivera, Realtor®, The Address
  5. "Constant communication. Plain and simple. So many agents fail on this with their clients. They wait to reply to a request until its convenient for themselves. In our fast-paced world, clients expect answers quickly. Even if you don't have an immediate answer, let your clients know you're working on it." — James Badia, Pam Harrington Exclusives
  6. "When someone is buying, selling, or renting a home, their life is in transition. They could be having a baby, getting divorced, downsizing, etc. Good or bad, it's an emotional time. I try to protect my clients and help them through the transition. A former Marine and 20-year police veteran, I believe that everyone should get a fair shake. My motto is 'be a bully for the good guy.'" — Rodney Fentress, Real Estate Agent, Professional Property Manager, and Owner of Keyrenter Hampton Roads
  7. "How do I earn trust? Communication. It's one simple word but complicated to put into action. Ask questions and, more important, listen to what the client has to say. A Greek philosopher said we have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as talk. Sage advice then AND now." — George Pino, CEO, Commercial Brokers International
  8. "Be a real estate counselor first. The sales role is second or third. The general public is not familiar with the process or industry jargon, or sometimes even what they are looking for in a home. We sit down for a counseling session, talk about why they are moving, what it takes for a house to feel like a 'home,' and all the anxiety and emotions that come with the biggest purchase of their lives. If they are comfortable with me and process, the sales part comes naturally." — Jennifer D'Elia,  Samsel & Associates Real Estate Services
  9. "Focus exclusively on the client, and the sales will come. To give client-centric advice, you'll sometimes need to give advice that's contrary to your interests. I recently advised a new client not to sell a $1.2 million multi-family. In turning down a $30,000 to $60,000 check, I credibly demonstrated my willingness to put that client's interests ahead of my own. Since then, I completed $2 million in transactions and am working with his family on a $5 million acquisition." — John Castle, Realtor®
  10. "Earn a client's trust in the first handshake." — Manu Changotra, Coldwell Banker
  11. "Treat everyone right, and the money will follow. Sharing where I can has never steered me wrong." — Mark Brace, Realtor® and Principal, Brace Homes
  12. "People don't buy and sell homes from companies. They buy and sell with people that they trust and like. Communicating with clients and building rapport with them is one of the most important parts of my business and is the biggest factor in my success." — Matthew Martinez, Luxury & Investment Real Estate Broker
  13. "Communication! Whether you have good news, bad news, or no news, ALWAYS communicate." — Susan Strawgate Code, Associate Broker, Houlihan Lawrence

Create Real Connections With Your Marketing

If you follow the advice above, you'll ultimately get more word-of-mouth referrals. But how do you best pinpoint and attract new prospects? Again, it's all about creating marketing that puts people first.

  1. "Sponsor a local team, be seen in the community, go door-to-door, and invite people to an open house. You will get better ROI on time and money ... most agents don't put in that effort, and you will stand out." — Chase Michels, Broker Associate, Baird & Warner
  2. "Building a client database is about building relationships, which means following up with people over time. To make this simple, use a CRM system and schedule calls and emails, so you never miss your next move." — Ashley Baskin, Licensed Real Estate Agent, Advisory Board member, Home Life Digest
  3. "To find success, I leverage the perfect social media content mix, combining both personal and professional content. The personal content helped me connect, relate to, and create trust with my target audience. The real estate-related content established me as an expert in the area and keeps my business top-of-mind." — Jeff Fischer, Real Estate Agent, RE/MAX Fine Properties
  4. "Rank your website on Google in your local market by learning SEO and writing a quality blog. Blogging is by far the best way to rank a website on Google, and if you can build up your presence where you rank for many local real-estate-related keywords, you can dominate." — Matthew Myre, CEO/Lead Agent, Berri Properties

Using technology-based systems like PropStream for marketing can save you time and money in the long run. Combining analytics with the human touch is ultimately the key to success.

If you're prioritizing people in your business, you're building a strong foundation. The second installment of this mini-series will include wisdom from real estate brokers and agents who attribute technology and streamlined operations and planning to their success.

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