7 Ways to Become a Social Leader

Get involved in the social scene, and you'll be the one that everyone in your community calls when they're ready to buy or sell.

November 1, 2006

One of the advantages of specializing in a neighborhood niche is that such you know everything that's going on and most everyone who lives there.

You’re an active participant in the community, its events, and its goals. You impact your community by helping develop new construction or preserve historical homes. You serve on commerce and community boards to help attract jobs and economic development. You’re intimately familiar with the homes that have sold and scrutinize the homes currently on the market. You know the history of the neighborhood's homes and its residents.

If you’ve decided to make your neighborhood your niche, you’ve made a wonderful choice. But there’s still more you can do to become the person who everyone in the community goes to when they’re ready to buy or sell — you can become a social leader.

After all, about 66 percent of people surveyed reported one of the advantages of moving is making new friends, according to a 1998 survey by Shari and Clyde Steiner, authors of several real estate books.

As the local real estate expert, you’re in a good position to make social introductions. And the quicker your home buyers "feel at home" in their new neighborhood, the quicker they'll be passing along referrals to you.

How to Make Friend Connections

Here are some quick ways to get started:

Figure Out How to Meet Their Needs

What makes socializing work best is thinking of others before you consider what you want to accomplish. As their wants and needs pop into your head, you'll soon find making social and business connections is easy, and new business will take care of itself. Not only will you be the neighborhood expert, you'll also be the binding agent that keeps the neighborhood together.

(c) Copyright 2006 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.

  1. Ask questions. Find out the special interests of your contacts whether it's rock-climbing or scrapbooks, and resolve to put them in touch with individuals and clubs with similar interests.
  2. Get organized. Use your contact management software to catalog details about your past clients and prospects. That way when you find out that your relocation buyer has a son who's interested in rock-climbing you'll know the right hook-up. Keep notes on schools, clubs, community support centers, and social networking groups. Add a community events calendar to your Web site.
  3. Be committed. Join local associations, service leagues, and social clubs yourself so you'll have plenty of contacts, especially those that provide community services. Take your buyers on a tour of your neighborhood to include more than listings for sale. Show them why you and others love it. Show them the community theater with the visiting acting troupes, the dog park, and the little grocery that imports the best Australian wines and Greek olives.
  4. Be visible. Start knocking on your neighbor's doors to refresh their memories that the busy person down the street is a working real estate agent interested in his or her own neighborhood. Ask questions such as whether they know of anyone in the neighborhood ready to make a housing change, retire, start a family, or have children heading off to college. Observe the neighborhood and note changes — is there a new roof or remodeling going on? Do any homes seem neglected? That could signal a possible listing. Don't forget to put some business cards in your pocket too.
  5. Remember conversation starters. Note changes and compliment the homeowner. Ask, "How long have you lived in the area? Did you like your landscaper/roofing contractor? I'm always looking for good referrals for my clients."
  6. Ask permission. It takes personal interaction to sustain a relationship. When you're calling your contacts or your buyers, ask them if they'd like to meet some new people and tell them why you think the introduction would be worthwhile for both parties.
  7. Entertain. You can make up a lot of social ground with a get-together. Choose a fun-sounding theme, such as a fall dinner party and call it "Out of Our Gourds." Serve finger foods, casseroles, and soups out of hollowed out pumpkins, squashes, and other colorful gourds. Make sure those without family have an invitation on the holidays when it's convenient for you to entertain.

Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.