Connect with Connectors: Real estate coach Michael J. Maher, author of 7L: The Seven Levels of Communications, stresses the value of connecting with connectors—those people who, by sheer force of personality, have legions of friends and mountains of influence. Before attending a networking event, Maher recommends talking to the organizer and asking them to identify a few of the most respected people in the group. Since people trust these charismatic folks, connectors are your gateway to referral business.
Offer Value: Of course, shaking hands isn’t enough to leave an impression, and neither is a quick plug for your services. When you put the sales pitch aside and go into every new encounter with the intention of helping people, they are far more likely to reward your generosity. If they’re homeowners, they have a vested interest in the local market, so figure out what they want to know.
Let the conversation flow naturally, ask the right leading questions, and offer to pass any helpful information along. For example, if they’re curious about their own home’s value, offer a free Competitive Market Analysis. If they want to know more about overall market trends, offer to forward them the latest article you read on the topic. This builds trust and allows you to position yourself as a real estate expert.
Manage Your Leads: Client Relationship Management (CRM) software is great for managing your contacts. A good CRM helps you segment your leads, manage email campaigns, keep notes on every contact, and more. Inman News wrote a comprehensive report of the best CRMs for real estate in 2015: Real Estate CRMs, Pros and Cons and Which Is the Best?, and the two most popular CRMs were TopProducer and Market Leader. You have a wide range of options that vary significantly in price, so do your homework, and choose the one that matches your needs and your budget.
Make Regular Contact: Regular contact is essential for building trust (and simply reminding people that you exist), and different types of contact are required for different prospects. Hot leads, for example, demand quick follow-up and personalized communication, while past clients might benefit from a monthly newsletter. Incidentally, Old Republic Home Protection produces a free, customizable newsletter called Between Friends, which you can access from your complimentary Toolbox account.
Remember to Ask for Referrals: Always ask for referrals at the end of a good conversation, and consider including a request for referrals in the tagline of your marketing emails. It may seem repetitive, but that’s how marketing works. Consistently reminding your clients you’re here to help their friends, family, and colleagues is essential to building a thriving business.