Block Your Time & Money to Build Relationships

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It is no secret that real estate is a business of relationships and that there are many different ways to build and maintain them—all of which require time or money.

There are some brokers who prefer to invest more money than time on their business each year. They may pay a transaction coordinator, an assistant and a social media coordinator to handle the details in their business. There are others who invest more with their time and handle absolutely everything on their own. Both ways are right if it works for the broker and the client but it is important to analyze how you’re spending your time and money at least once per year to identify more effective ways to build and maintaining client relationships.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is the initial relationship-building part of the process. There are a lot of ways to introduce oneself to new client. For example:

Open Houses

These take time (preparation, time at the open house, and follow-up) and perhaps a little money (advertising on social media, snacks, and printing).

Geographic Farming

This takes a significant money investment and a little time (to create the information being sent out).

There are numerous ways to adjust these. For a farm area, one might decide to do a robust quarterly report supplemented by smaller postcards to bring the cost down, but then might invest time by writing local real estate market articles for that farm’s HOA. Or one might decide to generate expired listing leads by dropping off a hearty information package and following up with a letter offering a consultation rather than a series of postcards or phone calls.

Some brokers need to generate leads and income but don’t necessarily have the money to develop a farm that they mail to consistently or indicate they don’t have the time to invest in open houses. If you are staring down an empty pipeline, you have to find the time or money to invest—there is no way around it.

As you analyze your lead generation system and its effectiveness, think about all the time and money it takes to get a lead. Is it a quality lead? Is there a way to improve your process?




Lead generation is more than obtaining a lead. If a lead is just sitting on a list, without quick follow-up, that lead moves further and further away from you.

The challenge with the folks in your pipeline is that they require much more detailed follow-up than money can buy. They need more than auto-emailed listings or a generic drip campaign —they need your expertise.

Here are examples of helpful information that should be in your potential client toolbox:

  • MLS reports on the listings, pendings, and sales in their neighborhood or areas of interest to keep them informed on the market.
  • Updates on interest rate changes that may cause their loan amounts to change or that affect the buyer pool
  • Reports on zoning changes and new developments

Once a month, potential buyers and sellers need detailed, meaty information that will take time to put together. Because this is a time-intensive process, I recommend having a list of about four high-impact items you can provide for buyers and four for sellers. That can be your go-to list so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, saving you time.




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Your current clients are those buyers and sellers who are already in a transaction with you. They are going to take a lot of time (and rightfully so—this is what you are getting paid for). They also take money—money for listing photos, marketing materials, gas and more.

Buyers take more time and sellers take time and money. To make improvements in this area, make rules for yourself—specifically, rules for what you will and won’t pay for when taking a listing, rules for how far your area of expertise extends on a map, your prequalification process for buyers, etc.

Remember, the transaction is where relationships are either made stronger or broken!

Your analysis should focus on making sure your high-impact touches (either time or money-based) are having the impact they should.



PAST Clients

Past clients can make great referring sources if you do a great job of staying in touch and maintaining the relationship. You might do a client appreciation event (which requires time and money), a regular mailing on the market (requiring more money than time), or even an annual report on their property (mostly a time-based activity). Past clients are your gold mine! Make sure you are investing back into this gold mine to keep it producing.

Regardless of where you are in your business—even if you don’t have one cent in your bank account—you have the equivalent of an angel fund in time that is yours for the taking each and every day if you want it. Don’t kid yourself that you can’t do lead generation or take care of your database if it has been financially tough during fall and winter. There are always ways to connect when you put your resources to work. We are all given the same 24 hours each day. Are you spending yours wisely?

There are no technological shortcuts or magic pills when it comes to building and maintaining relationships. It just takes good, old-fashioned elbow grease or a few bucks. Make sure you are using these resources as effectively as possible and reap the rewards! Denise Lones, president of The Lones Group and author of the weekly syndicated Zebra Report, brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry with expertise in branding, strategic marketing, business analysis, and broker/managing broker training. You can reach Denise at (360) 527-8904 or at

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