By David Fletcher, Thursday, September 27, 2012
Stop trying to sell homes and start building relationships
If you own a dog and plan to buy, sell or lease a home anywhere near Charlotte, N.C. you are probably already working with or will soon be referred to Josie Mazzaferro, a second year Realtor for Allen Tate Realtors — especially if you tweet.
This year, Mazzaferro has already closed or booked $3 million in sales, of which $1.5 million is attributed to her Twitter activity, according to Katrina Richards, broker in charge.
“There is no quit in Josie,” Richards said.
It took six months to produce her first results, and it was a phone call for rental, but it produced encouragement income. She was on her way. “This year it has exploded. You have to trust the process.” Mazzaferro said.
At first Mazzaferro blocked time for “social media marketing” on her calendar. Today she does not have to do that because she spends 15 hours a week responding to referrals and relationship building tweets. Can you imagine spending 15 hours a week developing your farm? That is exactly what she is doing, but her “farm” is helping her develop it!
Her amazing story could be yours. All it takes is focus and hard work, according to Mazzaferro.
About two years ago, Mazzaferro started using Twitter, but was struggling. Her office media consultant told her to stop trying to sell homes and start building relationships.
Her system is simple: Engage. Build rapport. Meet in person. Make friends. Stay in touch and meet needs. Never discuss real estate unless you can make it about the buyer or seller, not you.
Mazzaferro is about caring for her friends, and her friends are about doing business with her and referring their friends to her.
She was kind enough to be willing to share her success with Inman readers. These are not tips. These are practical proven ideas that are working for her today.
1. Determine the location you want to farm. Try variation of Twitter hashtags for that location to see who is talking. Start following those people and engage in a conversation with them.
2. “Start with a niche.” I started with dog lovers, because I have two dogs. When I learned someone had a dog, I asked to see a picture of the dog, then commented on how cute the dog was. They wanted to see a picture of my dog. From there we developed a friendship on Twitter, and I made it my business to try to meet these new friends as soon as possible.”
3. Be sensitive to how you can help those you meet. Mazzaferro met a lady who said she was sick, so Mazzaferro sent her a soup recipe. A conversation pursued. Today they are good friends.
4. Recommend small businesses and restaurants. Mazzaferro will tweet something like this: “Just had a cup cake and coffee at Joe’s Cupcakes, It was delicious. Tell him I said hello.” The next thing you know, Joe is offering to put Mazzaferro’s business cards on his counter.
5. Participate in local Twitter and Facebook Groups
“I could go to two events a night if I wanted to. It is not networking in the traditional sense. This is where friendships develop, trust is established when you meet face to face with those you met on Twitter.
6. Take your Twitter friends on walking tours, not of your listings but of neighborhoods that have character, especially areas of architectural interest with stops in local shops and restaurants along the way.
Mazzaferro just started the tours. She announces the tour telling those interested to show up at a certain place and time. On her first tour she had 30 in tow,. On her second tour she had 50 in the group and sold a $350,000 house.
“The buyer thought I knew so much about the neighborhood, that I was the only agent she was going to call to help her buy a home. I did not meet her on social media, but the idea for the walking tour came from some of my friends on social media.”
The merchants on tour offer discounts to members of the group and of course offer to put Mazzaferro’s business cards on their counters. She says the merchant’s hand out her cards and say “Call my friend, Mazzaferro. She will take good care of you.”
7. Post pictures of homes you sold, but don’t brag about it. “I post a picture of a home I sold with this comment: “I am so excited. I helped Joe and Nancy purchase their dream home today.” Others tweeters start tweeting congratulations to them and to me. My followers start seeing this every now and then, and start believing that I am selling everything in Charlotte.”
Mazzaferro said at first her husband thought she was wasting her time, until they started being offered free ice cream, cupcakes, and meals by businesses that wanted her to tweet that she had enjoyed her visit to their store.
Today they get invitations to events and restaurants because they know Mazzaferro will tweet something about how much they enjoyed their experience and/or food.
Where does she get her ideas?
“My market gives me feedback on Twitter. They tell me what they like and don’t like about real estate agents am I am constantly asking small business owners are doing to market their businesses,”
Most of her followers are also on Facebook as well so she focuses on Twitter “because you can’t ramble. It forces you to think through what you are saying.” LinkedIn is not “social enough”.
Social media has been a professional lifeline for Mazzaferro, and there is no reason other agents cannot do what Mazzaferro is doing.
The difference in Mazzaferro and thousands of others passion and discipline, is that Mazzaferro understands that social media is providing a platform not for her next sale, but for her next friend.
Free access. No referral fees. Its’ a tweet way to go.