Liza Deyden DrakeLiza Deyden-Drake is a leading real estate agent in the Phoenix-area with West USA Realty. I recently sat down with her to discuss her five secrets to success. As with most top producers, her reason for success revolves around building and maintaining strong relationships with her clients.

Liza has built a business than runs on referrals only. She no longer has to advertise for leads. Here are Liza’s five tips for success:

  1. Working by referral has always worked best for me however we all must start somewhere. I emigrated from Mexico in 1986 and I started selling Real Estate in 1989. At that time, I worked for a small company in Mesa where we had what was called “floor time”. Each agent had a shift to answer incoming calls and welcomed any walk-ins. I was the only Spanish speaking agent so that was my niche. I also invested in commercial ads with a Spanish TV station and participated in a morning Real Estate show once a week for approximately 3 months. Ultimately this is how I generated my leads.  These leads were priceless to me and I did everything in my power to turn a lead into a sale. I’m all about building long time relationships with my clients and never see them as a unit or just another transaction.  I truly have passion for helping others and this characteristic of mine has given me the drive to succeed.
  2. I treat my work as a small business with simple systems in place. I have a good team in place, which includes preferred lenders, escrow officers, home warranty and home inspection companies. I can count on any of them to work well to close the file efficiently. Depending on the type of market we’re in at the time, I educate the client as to what to expect and how to get ready to be competitive. I try to be well informed of the different loan programs out there including DPA’s so I can better help my buyers. I put my negotiations skills to work when writing an offer for a buyer or receiving an offer on one of my listings.
  1. Once in escrow, I communicate with all parties involved continually to avoid any surprises or resolve any issues that might come along. I treat the parties involved as a team pursuing the same goal of closing the file. Hence, I am courteous to all and always appreciative of their time and effort regardless if they are my preferred lender and/ or title company or not.  My intent is for the transaction to be as smooth as possible so my client has a good experience and will refer me to their friends and family in the future.
  1. Staying in communication with clients is essential to this business. This has paid off for me because I now work a lot with second and third generations (my originals client’s kids and grandchildren) not to mention many members of their extended families. To keep in touch, I send quarterly themed postcards to my new and past clients always asking for referrals. When those referrals come in I always take the time to send the person who referred me a hand-written note. I enjoy stopping by around the holidays and visiting clients that have referred to me during the year and bring them a small token of my appreciation like a pie, box of candy, etc. These are some of the things I do among others.
  1. The real estate business has changed in positive ways since I started back in 1989 with the use of the Internet, social media, advanced technology, marketing tools and applications etc. All these advances have helped me be more efficient as an agent and it makes my job a lot easier. But what has not changed for me is the way I still like to treat my clients: giving them the personal attention and service throughout the process, catering to all their needs and responding to their questions and/ or concerns in a timely manner. Ultimately, I am always genuine, honest, professional, courteous and respectful to my clients and their needs.

There is no substitute for communication and building strong relationships. Before you start spending money on leads, make sure you have these skills down. Otherwise, you might be throwing money down the drain.

For more great tips to enhancing your real estate business, order my new book, 21 Habits of the Highly Successful Real Estate Entrepreneur.

By Mike Weinstein, MBA