With 70 percent of her clients originating from her database, it’s obvious that KW agent Gabriela Aguilar is diligent about staying in communication with her Mets and past clients. Her closed units and volume have increased year over year by 194 percent, listings taken by 175 percent, GCI by 210 percent, and listings sold has increased year over year by 450 percent.
What’s even more impressive is that most everyone in her small database of 130 began as a client and then became a friend, not the other way around.
“I am selective about who I place in my database because they become a big part of my life,” Aguilar says. “I invest a lot into my clients and I love them.”
A smaller database allows Aguilar to have a solid understanding of everyone she works with.
“I don’t want a huge database that is just taking up space. I want contacts that I’ve met, feel comfortable with and are happy to give me their information. I would rather have someone want to engage with me than someone who doesn’t read my emails. Plus, constantly cleaning up a database is painful.”
Once Aguilar is in business with her client, she is laser-focused on building a strong agent-client relationship. According to Aguilar, there are three essential components of a good relationship:
- Trust: Take the time to gain trust with your clients and don’t try to move too quickly.
“You have to know who you can work fast with during the transaction and who you need to slow it down with,” Aguilar notes. She does this by gathering as much information as possible when she meets with the client for the first time. “I’m getting to know the client and their awareness level when it comes to real estate. Also, their communication preferences. Do they like to text or email? Do they know a little English and a lot of Spanish? All of this dictates how quickly we move.”
- Awareness: Everyone is different, so you have to be able to read people and sense their comfort level. “I do this by making sure my clients know they can ask me as many questions as they’d like,” says Aguilar. “And, at the end of the day, if they don’t want to work with me, I let them know that that’s okay. I don’t force or push.”
- Good Listening Skills: You have to listen to them. “What if in a marriage all you talked about was you? That would get real boring for the other person,” Aguilar says. “Sometimes I call clients not to tell them about me, but rather to listen to what’s going on with them.”
PRO TIP: It’s important to keep the relationship in the “zone” at the appropriate time. When Aguilar is working on a transaction, her clients know they need to respond quickly and stay on top of tasks with her. “This is business. They aren’t buying a piece of candy; they are making a large investment, and I need their focus,” she says. Once the deal closes, Aguilar says the relationship can relax a little, like elastic.
The Art of a Phone Call
Even with all the technology and social media available today, Aguilar prefers a good old-fashioned phone call for keeping in touch. “I work my database on a daily basis. I love talking with my clients, even when we aren’t in the middle of a transaction,” she says.
What does she talk about?
“It depends on what our last conversation was about,” Aguilar explains. It’s about doing more than “cold calling” when you pick up the phone. “I check in on them often so I know what is going on with them, especially during the transaction. I want to make sure that they understand everything that’s going on. I do this via phone, but also in person.” And, it’s evident that Aguilar’s clients know they are important to her. It’s not always her that is reaching out to keep in touch.
“My clients invite me to weddings, birthdays and out to eat. I’m incredibly grateful to have them in my life,” she shares. “Although my database grows, I will still remain the same way. It’s about communication, the relationship and how you care for your clients.”
Aguilar knows that referrals will come in time, and so she always keeps the focus on the relationship. That said, when it’s time to turn it up, Aguilar says she isn’t afraid to ask for it. “I know I don’t always call my clients to talk about business, so it’s OK when I occasionally call and say, ‘Hey, why haven’t you sent me any referrals lately? What did I do?’” she says with a big smile.
With the help of her KW MAPS Coach, Aguilar has set a goal to grow her database to 250 clients.
“Although my database grows, I will still remain the same way. To me, friendship is far more important than money.”
Just Be Authentically YouWhen asked what advice Aguilar has for agents looking to improve their client relationships, she says, matter-of-factly, “Just be you, because people do business with people they like. Don’t be fake or try to be someone else. Even if you are shy, if you are authentic and you listen to people, you can build a good relationship with them.” She adds that taking notes and keeping your contacts organized helps keep the conversations going.