Brush Up on Networking the Old Fashioned Way
It may be hard to believe, but the long hot summer of 2018 will soon be coming to an end. This means that Chamber of Commerce meetings, trade shows, industry conferences, and events are already scheduled for the fall. Are they on your calendar? Because adding to your database of potential clients and referral partners should be your primary marketing goal.
With so much focus on email marketing and social media we sometimes forget that nothing builds a stronger relationship than face-to-face interaction. As a real estate agent you are by nature more gregarious, but even the most social among us can pass up an opportunity to “work-a-room” when it’s easier to send out automated emails. So, it’s time to dig out those business cards, flyers, and brochures and make connections in realtime.
Prepare to Network
- Refine your elevator pitch – Customize it accordingly and make a clear distinction between potential customers and professional partners.
- Take the time to listen and engage – You don’t want to appear in a rush to move on to the next person. Remember, it’s not how many cards you hand out, it how many people you get to know.
- Share information – Bring your market experience to the table. What trends are you seeing locally? How are rising rates and escalating home values impacting home sales? Share your outlook on business for the balance of the year.
- Compare notes – When meeting with a competitor, treat them like a colleague. What’s working for them from a marketing perspective?
- Build mutually beneficial partnerships – As a residential agent, you want to keep up with agents on the commercial side. You have a client looking for office space — they have a friend or family member who’s ready to buy their first home. The same applies to lenders, title and closing attorneys, appraisers, home inspectors, etc.
- Cast a wider net – If you’re not already, attend home shows to connect with builders, contractors, and retailers. What’s their take on the current housing climate? What trends are they seeing? New construction and retail purchases are good leading indicators of changes coming to the market.
- Exchange contact information – Be sure you have all of your contact information on your card and other marketing materials. That includes all social media platforms where you can be found. Collect contact information from everyone you can and ask if you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Invite them to follow you as well.
- Follow-up – Within a week, reach out with a personal note. Thank them for taking the time to speak with you. If possible, share a piece of information, a marketing tip, or something that ties back specifically to your conversation.
- Enjoy yourself – Relax, you’re not selling — you’re marketing yourself. This means you want to be open and comfortable in your own skin. If you appear to be working too hard you may come across as desperate or just overly intense.
As you head out into one of those cool fall evenings, keep in mind that your experience is your greatest asset. Follow your gut when interacting with others. Don’t waste your time engaging with someone who’s not listening and conversely, know when you’ve said enough. If you don’t get the chance to meet with someone, suggest meeting for coffee some time. Who knows, you may not only find new business — you might make new friends. And aren’t friends often the best referrals of all?