Pick up the phone…and get personal

You have Seller’s Corner and other automated systems working for you while you show houses, meet people, and complete those vital tasks  day in and day out that keep you top-of-mind. So it is easy to sit back, relax, and let technology “do its thing.” However, agents looking to dominate their markets and outperform the “averages,” realize that no matter how great the technology they own or how effective the email copy; at the end of the day- real estate is a personal relationship business. An email rarely exudes “personal relationship” familiarity or shows your humanness.

There is no getting around it. Agents need to pick the phone and make a call. Why is that phone so heavy? What is stopping people from reaching out and developing more ‘personal’  relationships with past clients, friends, and others in that all-important sphere of influence? Statistics garnered by NAR regarding repeat business should not be ignored, and neither should opportunities.

One of the reasons people are reluctant to pick up the phone is that they feel they do not know what to say. Nobody wants to be perceived as desperate or pushy… so the question remains: How can we reach out, get personal, ask for business, and keep our integrity at the same time?

The answer to that lies in the application of the theory of reciprocity which can be summarized by this simple statement: Do “something” for others and others will do “something” in return. If you show that you care about others, others will in turn, care about you. “Pay it forward,” if you will. Simply picking up the phone and making a call to initiate a conversation is that critical first step in showing that you care.


Getting personal is all about taking an interest in your clients and in their well-being. By asking questions we demonstrate an interest. By remembering the answer and building on the conversation in the future demonstrates that you pay attention and are genuine. A CRM where you can keep notes on your conversations is critical in building and maintaining those relationships over time, especially as your database grows.

Ready for some magic? Actually, this script has been around since the beginning of sales so this may neither be new or revolutionary for many veterans of the sales profession; however, when you properly apply the theory of reciprocity in this context, you win.

The strategy I have been alluding to is the FORD system. Found On Road Dead the real estate careers of thousands of agents, who could not pick up the phone…

……..that’s not it, we were just making sure you were paying attention.

FORD – Family – Occupation – Recreation – Dreams.

It’s conversational structure. Add in the theory of reciprocity in your conversation, and magic happens.

“How is your wife doing? Is your son still playing soccer?”, “How is work going, are you still at XYZ Company?” After the client is finished talking about his or her work, it is natural for them to ask you, “How’s the Real Estate Business?” or “How’s the market?” to which you naturally reply…. “IT’S UNBELIEVABLE!!”. For you newbies… that was a joke. Don’t go around telling people the market is unbelievable because they won’t believe anything you say after that… naturally.

In all seriousness, this is your opportunity to make your pitch. “Funny you should ask, I have identified a couple of great values in your neighborhood. Do you know of anyone thinking about making a move into your area?” or “Funny you should ask, we are experiencing some serious challenges with inventory and most homes are selling very quickly… it’s a great time to sell, do you happen to know of anyone looking to sell their home?”

There is a big psychological difference in you pushing your agenda VS you responding to a question. If the person on the other side of the conversation does not reciprocate with a business related question, let it go and move on to R- recreation. IF you find that you are having a one- sided conversation, you may want to re-evaluate your relationship with that person. People will reciprocate if they care about you. If they don’t care about you, they will not likely refer you. Make sure you are meeting new people on a regular basis. It makes it easier to move on from contacts that will not help you.


In the FORD dialogue the best chances to get your sales pitch will come from reciprocated questions. The strongest are from the Occupation dialogue and the Dream dialogue. “Are you guys doing anything really fun this year, vacations, trips, road trips, etc?” “Well, we are going to Caribbean, Mexico, Florida… how about you?” “Well, I would love to reward my family with a trip to….. but I can only do that if I reach my sales goals. I am pretty close and could use another client or two, do you happen to know of anyone looking to make a move?”

By inserting your pitch into the conversation as an answer to a question, you are able to not only make your pitch, but you maintain your integrity and your intentions are not quite as obvious. The impression you will make on your prospect will be more positive as your intentions should be to first nurture your relationship. Asking for business becomes a reaction not just a selfish agenda.

Hopefully we were able to take a few of the weights off the phone and made it a little easier for you to make your calls! Have a great week!


By Mark Burstein

PropertyMinder’s Real Estate Agent Consultant


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