They might not need me; but they might. I’ll let my head be just in sight; a smile as small as mine might be precisely their necessity.

–Emily Dickinson

My time as a Boy Scout taught me to be helpful. According to, “A Scout cares about other people. He willingly volunteers to help others without expecting payment or reward.” This is fantastic advice for real estate professionals — the more you help others without the thought of what you stand to gain, the better your reputation becomes, and the better your business will inevitably perform.

But what about your profitability? Money follows the leader with a servant’s heart. The goodwill and reputation you build by showing up for your clients and prospects will pay dividends beyond those that you’ll get if you just focus on your bottom line. Eric Torrence wrote, “Helpful people are willing to look less impressive in order to be more influential.” The real bottom line is this: becoming helpful to your clients will get you closings that agents who only focus on their bottom lines would never see.

What It Really Means To Be Helpful

Being helpful can really be called being useful — how can you make yourself most useful to your prospects and clients? Here are a few ideas:

Become A Subject Matter Expert

Real estate can feel complex to an outsider, and navigating its various ins and outs isn’t easy for a layperson. As a subject matter expert, you can help educate your prospects and clients past their fears. This requires quality conversations — remember that you’re in the business of conversations, not the business of selling houses — and the ability to convey new information in a way that creates confidence and trust. Hone your ability to teach in a non-threatening manner and you’ll automatically be more helpful and useful to your prospects and clients — and that means you’ll close more deals.

Seek Service Opportunities

What are you doing to find ways to serve your prospects and clients? An agent once told me that a door-knocking campaign became a service campaign by simply asking if there was anything they could do to help out. Most of the time, people waved off the question, but this agent found something important: the tenor of the conversation changed after the offer of service. The best for the agent was when someone took them up on their offer. From a simple ask, they were able to be of use and build a valuable relationship with this new prospect. Not every lead bore fruit, but the ones that did were incredibly valuable.

Offer Something of Value

This leads to my third piece of advice: offer something of value. Maybe it’s your time or expertise. Maybe it’s a Comparative Market Analysis you’ve prepared for them. It could be anything — offering something of value for no charge builds an incredible amount of goodwill, makes you of use to your client or prospect, and generally doesn’t cost you much, if anything. It shows your willingness to engage in service regardless of opportunity — something your clients are sure to respond to.

Learn the lesson I first learned in scouting all those years ago: people respond to you when you’re helpful. It’s also just a better way to live; to be of service is to be someone likable and good, especially when you’re doing it without ulterior motives. Build that sterling reputation by becoming an agent who is helpful.

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