By Kelle Sparta
RISMEDIA, Oct. 9, 2007-What do you do when the market slumps and the leads dry up? You do what hunter/gatherer tribes have done for generations when there was nothing to eat in plain sight-you dig up what lies under the surface. Roots and tubers lie under the surface of the ground, always ready to provide a tasty meal, but not until you actually get down on your hands and knees and dig for them. The same is true for prospecting.
But How Do You Know Where To Dig?
Just like the tribes, people would look for the leafy tops that indicated where the food lay hidden beneath the surface, so can we look for the indicators of where we can find more business. For instance, you may recall hearing a little while ago about the burgeoning market for Hispanic homeownership.
The Hispanic Market Is Fertile Ground
According to Felix Herrera, Chairman of The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), “Hispanics will account for 1.5 million of the more than five million new homeowners expected to enter the market in the next five years.” That’s a HUGE number. If you’re not taking a hard look at how you can get a piece of that market, then you’re walking away from a lot of potential business.
Plant Relationship Seeds
In the Latino culture, you get into relationship long before you get down to business. The key is for them to make sure they like and respect you. Once that is established, then business can take place. Once you have their business, they will not even consider going elsewhere unless you violate the relationship – no matter how good of a deal they are offered. Loyalty is highly valued.
Harvest The Resulting Referrals
Latinos are also great referrers of business. Once you are in relationship with one person, expect to see all of their friends and family on your doorstep looking for your help too. I started working with Hispanic clients in my business by accident. I spoke a little Spanish and had spent a lot of time living in border towns with Hispanic communities when I was growing up, so it was a natural fit for me. And, like I said above, once I had one happy client, the number of Hispanic clients I had grew very quickly. I can’t tell you what a joy it was to work with this community. They came in completely trusting and happy to accept my advice. They let me help them. I don’t have to tell you how rare that is. How great would it be to never have to work to overcome a distrustful prospect again? For those of us who pride ourselves on a referral-based business, it doesn’t get any better than this market segment.
It Takes A Village To Buy A Home
One thing I noticed consistently with this group is that they would often purchase a home using many family members’ incomes. I had siblings and parents, perhaps even grandparents all going in on a purchase. Sometimes this was due to financial need, other times simply choice. But guaranteed, whether the family was participating financially in the purchase or not, they would be a part of any home purchase decision. So there was always a group of people at each of my showings. I got used to soliciting the input from everyone in the family, whether they were going to live in the home or not. Because I knew that the people buying the home would listen to their opinion, so I had better know what it was so I could deal with objections up front.
Digging Is Easier When You Use Good Tools
If you’re going to enter the Latino marketplace, you’ll need to add to your real estate tool bag. Having access to a variety of Spanish-language information products is a must. I’ve listed some resources for you below.
Digging For Gold
So the next time you’re lamenting on the challenges of finding new business, remember the Hispanic marketplace. This is a rich culture, full of wonderful people who would love to work with you. According to a 2004 study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies; and a report by the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, 84% of Latino renters “strongly” desire to buy a home, but (according to the same reports) 64% had no idea how to go about getting a loan. They need your help and you need their business – it’s a match made in heaven.
Kelle Sparta is the author of The Consultative Real Estate Agent – Building Relationships that Create Loyal Clients, Get More Referrals, and Increase Your Sales, as well as being a speaker and trainer specializing in the real estate industry. Kelle is the founder of Sparta Success Systems, a real estate training company that provides tools, products, and training to empower agents and brokers to create lives and businesses they can love.
For more information, visit her Web site at www.spartasuccess.com.
© 2007, Kelle Sparta. Used by permission.