Time, Authenticity, Trust, and Consistency. These are the key ingredients that play into successfully multiplying one’s business network – and in real estate, your network is your net worth. Dennis Bowers, Principal of The Bowers Group at Compass Realty, has been nurturing his network since childhood. The founder of one of Southwest Florida’s leading residential sales teams shares the secrets behind building his book of business in the real estate industry.
The larger sphere you build, the more opportunity it brings.
Dennis states that the experiences you create through childhood into adulthood allow you to develop your network and everything branches off of that. You want to establish authentic relationships outside of just the real estate bubble and beyond the area you work in. Many business owners believe that building a referral network involves gaining contacts only where they live and work, however according to Bowers, this is not necessarily the case.
Contacts he grew up with in Western Pennsylvania still currently refer business to him in Florida, and a large portion of his referral’s stem from people who he worked with in the fitness and construction business—long before he even entered into real estate sales. It is important to put character and reputation at the forefront, and carry over contacts from industry to industry and situation to situation. People who work with Dennis have built a level of trust with him over the years. Once you have the foundation, then you need to continue growing the contacts to fit your current business model.
He shares, “When I moved from a local brokerage over to Compass, the largest independent brokerage in the country, I shifted from my personal sphere. I started to network and connect with top producing agents all over the country. My track record and personal references created the foundation for larger referrals over time.”
Trust is key.
Bowers has created relationships and lifelong friends through childhood, college, parenthood and work. Each relationship and experience is built on a foundation of trust. “When you and your business are known for honesty, great character and integrity, it ensures that people are more willing to refer others to you. No matter what you are doing, no matter what you are making, do it at 100%.” Bowers treats each person he helps as one of his dearest friends and takes care of them the same way.
After a friendship or relationship is built, he remains in contact with those people and always stays top of mind. “Your name and your character are most important. If you always speak the truth and conduct yourself with respect and genuine character, you never have to worry about what someone thinks of you,” he says. Bowers focus is on the customer and their success. “Helping others when you have nothing to gain builds trust, which helps people understand that you are not after the money, but after the success and happiness of your customer,”
Bowers says. “I am firm believer that when you give willingly to others, your return is multiplied and you end up benefiting from your kindness and authenticity in ways you would never have imagined. When you treat a renter the same way as a buyer for a multi-million-dollar deal, the janitor the same as the millionaire down the street, respect, trust and repeat customers multiply.”
Shift with the times and systemize your follow ups.
Since the pandemic, Bowers has been able to adapt his business to continue to grow his sphere of influence. With so many people being stuck at home, he increased both print advertising via snail mail and social media advertising. “People are looking forward to receiving mail and they are spending more time online,” says Bowers. “Hand-written letters and cards mean more now than they have in decades.
Reaching out and asking people how they are doing, while making that personal connection has driven substantial business.” In addition to adapting to the current market environment, creating constant touchpoints is key. Whether it’s once a month or once a quarter, it’s essential to systemize your follow ups and stick to the schedule. Some leads can take years to convert into sales, and this is a great way to remember to stay in touch and top of mind.
Don’t try to be an expert at everything, recognize the valuable contacts in your rolodex and use them.
While it’s important to expand your network with other agents and people who may become future clients, it’s also just as important to build referral relationships with professionals whose clientele overlap with yours. Bowers says he has built a trusted group of professionals from real estate attorneys to mortgage and insurance brokers, home inspectors and other specialized vendors to create the “complete package” for his clients.
Not only does this demonstrate to the client that you have their best interest at heart, but it also helps build your professional network. He says, “Too many people try to be an expert at everything. I am an expert in real estate and I allow my network to be experts in their related fields. This makes for a seamless and positive transaction more times than not.
A group of talented, successful professionals, working together to help each customer, is one of the most important parts of being in business. At the end of the day, if they trust in you, they will reciprocate and refer you.”