Strategic relationships were integral to Jason Abrams, Keller Williams’ VP of industry, as he launched and grew his multi-million-dollar business from the ground up. He has teams across the nation, is a partner at Metrix Coaching and Training, and has developed and starred in HGTV’s “Scoring the Deal.”At Keller Williams, he spends his days fiercely advocating for agents and helping them unlock their full potential. Here he shares his inspiring story with step-by-step strategies to help you cultivate a powerful network regardless of level or skill.
Step 1. Understand who you are
My real estate journey began about 21 years ago with a devoted mom who believed in and saw much more in me than anyone else. After I struggled my way through high school, she encouraged me to get a real estate license. In Michigan, in those days, you could do the course in less than a week, so we took it together and she helped me study with flash cards and pass the test. But then, I didn’t sell a single home for six long months. I was barely in my 20s, and lacked credibility and believability.
Yet, I was a part of this amazing organization, Keller Williams. Twenty years ago, the KW network was 6,500 agents strong, and it occurred to me that if I didn’t have any validity on my own, I could borrow from others and pin my reputation on their success and cultivate relationships that would lead to amazing business opportunities. I had a mentor that took me under his wing and helped me drill down to understand myself better.
I’ll ask you what he asked me.
What are your natural gifts? What are you good at doing?
No matter what it is, you can build a model around it and use it to develop symbiotic relationships. You may be the most introverted person, but you still have deep relationships, which are your strategic connections. What’s your superpower? For me, it’s likeability, so my colleague helped me develop a model to make important connections that quickly took me from rookie to multi-million-dollar agent.
Step 2: Understand what you love doing
I recognized my “big why” was being there to truly help people in the moments they need it while capitalizing on relationships that would quickly kick-start my business; I believe this is the highest form of service. So, I would go to The Capital Grille, order water and a breadbasket, and sit at the bar for three hours at a time to befriend divorce attorneys and businesspeople. I estimated that the average divorce attorney represented 10 divorces a month, which was 10 houses to sell, plus 20 to buy. That’s 30 deals a month, 360 every year. If I could get just 20% of that, I’d be doing 72 deals a year. That first year, I ended up being named Rookie of the Year in my office.
What do you want to do and how can you enhance that to get business success?
Here’s a secret – If you become the best part of someone’s week, you’ll always have raving fans. Maybe you love golfing, so golf twice a week, and invite three strangers each time.
Step 3. Understand how you best communicate with others about who you are
I’m intentional about how I create connections with people and build relationships. I like face-to-face conversations, because they allow me to offer value to others and set the stage for defining moments, like this: At Family Reunion years ago, I struck up a conversation with a real estate agent in which I shared my mission, values, and how they showed up in my customer experience.
Months after we met, long after Family Reunion had come and gone, she called to see if I could help her professional football client who had planned to play in her hometown of Miami, but was signing with the Detroit Lions instead. I jumped into a limo and showed him a selection of homes. When I got the check for the house he bought three weeks later, it was the most money I’d ever seen in one place. I used some of that money to make a trip out to Los Angeles to thank that player’s agent and financial adviser. It would have been easier to send a note, but that’s not my preferred communication style.
What about you? How do you best communicate?
You may say that you never want to talk to anybody, but you love being on Facebook. Let’s get a list of 1,000 people and any time they make a post, you’ll comment on it. You’ll also send 60 direct messages a day. Run that model a while and you’ll have more business than you know what to do with.
Step 4: Foster mutual likeability and trust
Some months later, the player’s agent called to see if I’d help another player. And, even though I didn’t know exactly how I’d do it on a national scale, I said yes again when they asked because I knew that through KW, I had agent-partners everywhere. That’s how our team became the biggest in the world at professional athletic relocations.
Real estate is an organic, humanistic experience. While I’m not great at everything (none of us are), I excel when it comes to nurturing relationships. Not only did I make lasting friendships with attorneys and sports professionals, but with my team leaders’ help I also built a strong business model, and helped thousands of people buy or sell a home in a time of true need.
Real estate is an organic, humanistic experience.
People do business with those they like, so a great question to ask each day is: How many more people like me today than liked me yesterday? Likeability is a key predictor of business success for agents and is a crucial factor in strategic relationships. Remember, too, that all the models, systems, tools, training, and technology you have available to you are to serve one main purpose: to magnify your superpower and help you be more human with more people more often so you can build a powerful network.