In late winter of 2012 and early spring of 2013 we were planning our move back to Texas. Upon a family member’s recommendation we contacted a realtor and provided her with ideas of our perfect home. Having a tall order, because we wanted to be within city limits with enough property zoned for horses, she quickly set the wheels in motion. Several trips from the east coast to the DFW area, and dozens of home visits later, we had come up empty handed. At the time, it seemed homes were going under contract quicker than they hit the MLS, if they even made it to listing, and back-up offers were not being accepted. Wanting to be in Texas by summer so the kids could get acclimated before the start of school, we kept circling back to one home in particular that we found online; which was perfect as it was zoned for horses! The only thing, we couldn’t make another trip west. Taking a huge leap of faith, we contacted our realtor and put 100% faith in her and had her go check out the place and provide us with her feedback. She told us she thought the house matched everything we were looking for and would be perfect for our family. Out of options, and almost time, we had her start the ball rolling and make the offer. Needless to say, we got the house, haven’t looked back and eight and a half years later my husband and I often say, ‘This was the best decision for our family, and we have the best neighbors!’

Buying a home should be an exciting experience, not a stressful one. There are several advantages to having a realtor, but more importantly should be the relationship and trust you build with that individual. In the third installment of our four-part series on Relationship Building, we asked NiCole Williams how she has built solid and lasting relationships with her clients that has aided in the growth of her business over the last decade plus.

Please tell us about the Williams Agency.

The Williams Agency is a full-service real estate brokerage company serving commercial and residential sellers, buyers, landlords, tenants and investors in real estate, land and real property. Established in 2008, the company is comprised of a team of licensed professionals with advanced degrees, training and certification in economics, marketing, finance, first-time homebuyer financing strategies, short sales and foreclosures, commercial and luxury real estate transactions. Now in its 13th year of operation, but with more than 16 years of industry experience in Texas and California markets, the company’s future goals include harnessing the power of commercial and real estate sales and leasing transactions, in concert with national and global partners, in order to expand wealth building opportunities for new and legacy clients.

Q. As an entrepreneur, why is it important for you to build relationships with clients?

A. Respect and appreciation are at the core of all that The Williams Agency does for its clients. We consider it a great privilege to have been selected as the advocate for our clients and we consider them family; we treat them as we desire to be treated should the roles be reversed. With that said, we not only take the time to determine what is important to our clients, but also deliver on that and so much more to ensure client satisfaction. We never want our clients to feel like just another number or another transaction. We want them to know that they are valued and appreciated. In most circumstances, we want them to be client family members for life. For this reason, we stay in touch and feel so blessed when we receive the confidence and privilege of our clients’ repeat and referral business.

Q. Relationship building is an invaluable tool for business owners. In your profession, what have been some of the most challenging hurdles you’ve encountered when building relationships?

A. The Williams Agency is a high touch company where we like to be able to spend time with clients, getting to know them and what’s important to them within and beyond their immediate real estate concerns. And while today’s consumer appreciates respect and knowing that they are valued, this must be balanced against respect for limited time along with a high value placed on convenience and efficiency offered by technology. So the challenge we constantly assess is how best to integrate the latest in technological efficiencies with the heart of authentic and intentional relevant direct contact to assess needs, effectively communicate and demonstrate appreciation.

Q. How did you overcome those obstacles?

A. We are still a work in progress. It is a case-by-case, client-by-client engagement and or adjustment. We welcome best practices in this area.

Q. What strategies have you found that work best to build positive and lasting relationships with your clients?

A. Regular communication, opportunities to show appreciation, encouragement of referrals, notes of appreciation for referrals, direct mail marketing, and client education.

Q. What advice about relationship building would you give to someone who is just starting his or her own business?

A. Cultivate raving fans and remain in contact with your clients if as they were your most treasured family, because they are.

NiCole Williams is Broker/Owner of The Williams Agency; Allen, TX