We’ve been talking a lot lately about building your business up in 2017. Recent blogs have covered email marketing strategies, lead generation, and rebranding. Today we’re going to look at networking and personalized marketing strategies. These are the most time-intensive activities you are likely to do, but they also are most likely to create greater dividends for your business. All of these tips are touches; they demonstrate that you care about your community and your client base beyond your paycheck.
Invest in your community. When you are active in your community, you’ll get more top-of-mind referrals. You can do this by sponsoring local events. Remember that you don’t have to create or run the event to help. For instance, if your town has a medical waste drop off day, offer to promote the event by printing and distributing door hangers in neighborhoods or posters in local businesses. If your local chamber of commerce or Rotary Club is holding a luncheon or banquet, sponsor the centerpieces and then donate them after the event to a local retirement home or hospice (and be sure to announce this at the event so people don’t walk away with them). Look for ways to give back first.
Volunteer. Get involved with a local charity or community group. Volunteer frequently and whole-heartedly. You’ll feel great knowing that you are helping a worthy cause and you will engage with people on a deeper level than if you were only marketing to them. You are your brand, and doing good in the community will encourage people to recommend you to others. Take it one step further and offer to host, sponsor or help advertise or promote a fundraiser with your charity.
Attend Professional Events. Don’t be intimidated by other agents or view them as competition. Remember, chances are that you will be conducting deals with them at some point in the future, or if they’re not in your market area, you might be able to create referral sources. Transactions with agents you already know can be a whole lot easier to manage when the lines of communication are already open. Plus, you can pre-market your listings to a receptive audience. If there aren’t enough professional groups in your market area, create your own and invite other real estate professionals and members of affiliated industries to join.
Stay in touch with your base. Regularly host an event for your friends, current and past clients and their families. It’s a fun and casual way to organically grow your network and show your gratitude to the people in your life. Events can be simple. Think happy hour. They can be seasonal. Create a mini pumpkin patch at a park and let the kids pick out their own tiny pumpkin. They can be potluck. Start a dinner club and have everyone bring something to pass. They can be unique and locally focused. Find an artisan shop near you – a chocolatier, bakery, or coffee roaster for example, and host a tasting event. They can be trendy. Hire a food truck. They don’t have to be expensive events, but they should be scheduled on a predictable and regular basis. Have a friend from an affiliated industry help you plan events if you don’t want to do it alone.
Say thank you. Send a handwritten note to anyone who gives you a referral or closes a deal with you. In fact, send handwritten notes to everyone in your sphere on a regular basis. Thank them for being active in the community, or compliment them on a job well done. When your referral client sends you a referral, go back two steps and thank the person that sent you the original client in the first place. Don’t ask for anything in return, simply show gratitude.
Ask for referrals. When clients are referred to you, they come to you with a certain level of implicit trust in the relationship before you ever show them a house. Referrals also come with responsibility. If someone refers a friend to you, they want that friend to be treated well. Be responsive and communicate with them regularly. Treat them well and demonstrate to both the new client and the old that you are honored to have earned that business. Be sure to thank the people that refer you business and make it clear to new clients that referrals are the life-blood of your business. Don’t be afraid to ask, “How am I doing?” and “Can you think of a friend, family member or co-worker who could use my help?”
Remember your business relies on people. When you’re good to the people around you, others will return the favor. It’s not always easy to stay in touch with others when we get busy, but doing so really is a fundamental key to success in real estate. We all get busy, so even if you have to block time off in your calendar and force yourself away from your desk, do it. Your efforts will be appreciated by others. And the potential upside is infinite.