Bill Lublin operates a successful 10-office real estate firm in Pennsylvania and South Jersey and is known for his expertise in social media marketing. He often speaks at national events on the topics of technology, social media, and real estate.
He sat down with First’s Mike Schneider to discuss how to build relationships.
Among the highlights:
Rather read? Check out the transcript below.
Mike Schneider: Welcome back to another episode of First Person. I've got Bill Lublin here with me.
Bill Lublin: I'm so excited that you have me here with you.
Mike Schneider: Thank you for being on. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Bill Lublin: I'm a real estate broker for a really long time. I run a 10-office operation in Pennsylvania and South Jersey. And I have the pleasure of speaking and teaching about real estate and technology, not all over the world, but in a number of countries and all over the United States.
Mike Schneider: Great. As you know, because we've spent some time together, our company's all about the intersection of relationships and business, and I'm fascinated by this, you know, the, that over 70% of transactions come through relationships, and that's kind of the bedrock of the industry. I would really like to hear some key examples or ways that your business runs on relationships-- I know you do a lot of training. You know, things that you're coaching agents on in terms of how do relationships play into growing their business?
Bill Lublin: Relationships play into everything we do. But in order to have value, the relationship has to come first, and the business has to come second.
Mike Schneider: Okay.
Bill Lublin: It's such a big question when you talk about relationships. I mean, I created a relationship with a man who I did a lot of business with when I bought my very, very first VCR which is what you had before you had streaming.
Mike Schneider: I remember them.
Bill Lublin: Right. So I went in to buy my very first VCR, and this salesperson wanted to create a quick relationship with me.
Mike Schneider: Sure.
Bill Lublin: So, he asked me about myself. He said, "What do you do for a living?" I said, "Used houses. Do you want to buy one?"Because that was my answer at that time. And he said, "Well, no, but my son actually is looking for a home." I said, "I'd be really glad to help you with that." I ended up selling his son his first home, selling it for him and selling him his second home. And selling the guy's home himself several years later, because we became friends. Because the relationship that we began was about helping each other. He was helping me buy a piece of technology. I was helping his son make his first big step into homeownership.
Mike Schneider: Yep. So, we've heard a lot of people talk about that intersection, but you're the first one to say relationship first, business second. Can you give me more examples of that? What does that look like in practice?
Mike Schneider: Cause you got into the business pretty quick. I mean, you got his son's name and sell right off the bat there.
Bill Lublin: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, he had the need. If he hadn't had a need, then it would've been the same joke about, "I sell used houses, you want to buy one?" that it was all the time.
Mike Schneider: Sure.
Bill Lublin: But Sigmund Freud said that laughter is the non-aggressive release of hostility. And when people meet each other, there's a certain amount of defensiveness or hostility which gets put to rest -- if you can share a joke. And in my case, I'm fine with the joke being at my expense. And therefore, people relax. And then, you can find out what they like, what you like, what you have in common, and then, if there's a need that you can fulfill for them.
Mike Schneider: Sure.
Bill Lublin: Because, if I meet you, and you don't need a home today, but we become friends, at some point you may need a home, your parents may need a home, your children, your friends. And if we have a relationship, then I'll have the opportunity to earn that business.
Mike Schneider: Yeah. The other thing that's great about relationships first, business second is that business is pretty infrequent when you're selling houses.
Bill Lublin: Oh sure.
Mike Schneider: Used houses. But the relationship continues on, or it's much more alive.
Bill Lublin: Well, you never know. A number of years later I had a situation where I was referred to a lady to list her home.
Mike Schneider: Uh-huh.
Bill Lublin: She was an older lady. I was, at that time, a much younger man. And, we sold the home, and she was very happy, and she was a former teacher. And she ended up referring me to; I'm going to say, in a five-month period, to another six or seven retiring teachers that were in two-story homes that needed to move to one-level homes. One of whom actually was my former fourth-grade teacher.
Mike Schneider: You didn't remember the connection?
Bill Lublin: I didn't know until we met each other. We had a nice relationship. And just before she closed, she called me and asked me to come to the house and showed me my fourth-grade class picture. She had been unpacking them. So, she made some other referrals to me, and when she made the first referral, I sent her a gift, and it was just nice.
Mike Schneider: Sure.
Bill Lublin: But all of those people, all of the people that I've sold and listed homes for were people whose lives I was engaged in and whose interests had to supersede mine.
Mike Schneider: Yes. Yeah, we're here to serve them at the end of the day.
Bill Lublin: If you're in business, you're not in business for today's sale, you're in business because you need to be doing things all the time. And if you do the right things and you have the right relationship, people trust you, they call you, they rely upon you. And as long as you're faithful to that reliance, you earn new business. It's the easiest thing in the world to do.
Mike Schneider: Easiest in the world. You guys heard it from Bill. So we have two more quick questions.
Mike Schneider: The first one is when you're staying in touch. What are some things that you do to spark that conversation or get back in touch with maybe someone you sold a house to five years ago that you haven't stayed in touch with but, and now maybe you find out that they're thinking about selling or something. How would you re-engage that relationship?
Bill Lublin: So, I have to tell you, I'm probably the worst person in the world to answer that question cause I'm not programmatic in staying in touch with my relationships.
Mike Schneider: Uh huh.
Bill Lublin: I try to remember anniversaries or anniversaries of the purchase or the sale but really it's more about trying to stay in touch with your sphere of influence organically.
Mike Schneider: Good. So you're looking for organic things.
Bill Lublin: Yeah.
Mike Schneider: Got it.
Bill Lublin:I think the programmatic approach can be very effective if you're a programmatic person. I'm just a shiny object person.
Mike Schneider: Got it. I'm curious, since you have the humor though, what your spur of the moment response would be is if I was a past customer you hadn't talked to in four years and we ran across each other. What would you say? Sometimes people just, they just freeze up. They don't know what they're going to say if they jump on the phone-- what would you say?
Bill Lublin: I would probably say, "Hello." I would probably shake your hand and hug you and ask you how you've been doing. I genuinely like the people I do business with.
Mike Schneider: Yeah.
Bill Lublin: And I'm interested in what they're doing and how they've been. I would know your pet; I would know your partner, I would know your children if you had them.
Mike Schneider: It would be logged back there. So you'd bring that back up.
Bill Lublin: Right. Well, I just would know them because I knew you. And you don't forget people because you don't see them right away.
Bill Lublin: You know, you might forget details, but when you're working with a buyer or a seller, you're working with them for a period of months you become engaged in their lives, and if you are sincere in your desire to help them, to want them to do well and achieve their goals, I think people get that.
Mike Schneider: Yeah. So second to last question is, you also coach a lot of agents. What are one or two pro tips that you would give them on how to manage their relationships or follow up, kind of build that relational network?
Bill Lublin: I tell people to stay in touch with people about the things they have in common with them. If you like fishing or you like boating or you like art, you stay in touch with people, and you talk about those things that you have in common that you both care about. When, when I was very, very new in the business, someone had made available to me to join the Masons.
Mike Schneider: Yep.
Bill Lublin: Are you familiar?
Mike Schneider: I am.
Bill Lublin: And, my dad and my uncles had been Masons. And I told my dad I was going to join. I was very proud because I was adulting before it was a thing. And my dad said, "Why are you doing that?" I said, "Well, I thought it would be really good for business. You know, I'd get in there, I'd tell them I'm in real estate."
Bill Lublin: He said, "Look, if you're going to join the group, you be the best member of the group you can be. Don't worry about business, because if you go in there looking for business, you'll never find any. But if you go in there looking to be the best you can be, then people will trust you, they will care about you, and they will want to do business with you." And I think that's true of every organization, everything that you do, everything that you care about from comic books to pottery to boats to gardening.
Mike Schneider: Yes. There's a life lesson. That's a great pro tip. Thank you.
Bill Lublin: Yeah, my dad was a bright guy.
Mike Schneider: Well, that's great. Thank you for being on the show.
Bill Lublin: Thank you for having me.