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Close up of a man receiving a handshake and a key at the same timeToday’s Ask the Expert column features John Wendorff, The Personal Marketing Company’s chief encouragement officer.

Q: When it comes to real estate, what are the three R’s real estate professionals must focus on in order to find long-term success?

A: Most of us learned the three R’s in school—reading, writing and “rithmetic”—the basics. But it’s amazing to me how many agents have forgotten to practice their real estate basics, or what I like to call the three R’s of real estate.

At the risk of sounding trite, I want to talk about the basics of a long-term, successful real estate business. And add a couple of thoughts about re-engaging.

R 1. Relationships
Basic? You bet! I cannot tell you the number of agents I speak with who still struggle with having enough quality leads to make a successful living. Many have even been driven to purchase expensive, low-response “Internet leads” in order to find prospects. If you’ve been in the real estate business longer than four years and cannot sustain enough quality contacts to build your business organically, you have a relationship problem. Long-term relationships have everything to do with your success and they’re the cornerstone for the next two R’s.

R 2. Repeat Clients
I know, everyone talks a good game about repeat business, but check the National Association of REALTORS®’ statistics about how many people actually use the same agent again. In every study I’ve seen, the number is less than 15 percent.

Fifteen percent! That’s dismal, and completely avoidable.

We survey thousands of clients for REALTORS® every year through our Client Follow-Up programs—more than 10,000 to-date in 2015. The vast majority of consumers don’t just like their agent, they love them and consider them a friend by the time the buying process is over. So, why don’t they come back to their friend?

It’s simple. Their “friendly agent” doesn’t treat them like a friend. The agent treats them like a transaction. Many clients tell us that because they rarely (or never) hear from their agent again, they assume they did something wrong and that the agent would prefer not to do business with them again. Can you believe it? The consumer actually thinks that they are “unworthy” of the agent’s time and attention.

That’s disastrous, and it leads directly into the lack of the last R.

R 3. Referrals
The successful outcome of relationship development is truly referrals. If 30 – 50 percent of your business isn’t coming from referrals from your friends and former clients, your relationship management needs a makeover. Don’t assume that your contacts recognize your need for their help. Ask for it. Better yet, call them. Invite them to coffee or lunch. Don’t worry, they’ll be glad to reciprocate. Someone has to get the ball rolling.

Why not you?

Why not now?

If you’re serious about improving your personal and business success, email me at and I’ll send you a game plan to build your three R’s of real estate.

Success starts here…because you deserve it.

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