Become the Master of Networking in Three Easy Steps.
If you can get abs in 8 minutes, surely reading this 8-minute blog post will land you your next big sale, right? Ok, we all know those magical 6-pack sales muscles that get you buyers and sellers take a little more time to master, but it’s a start. Following and practicing these three proven tips to networking will help get you on your way.
1) Discover Your Local Centers of Influence
For referrals, Centers of Influence (COI) are people who are widely connected and respected throughout your local community. They could be your church’s pastor or your local school’s SGA President. What makes COIs so influential are their diverse, expansive connections. It’s not just that they lead a congregation or organization, but that they are involved in many aspects of the community. Let’s travel back 244 years to explain just how important COIs can be.
On April 17th, 1775, Paul Revere rode throughout New England warning of the coming British invasion. But did you know there was another horseman who was assigned the same duty? His name was William Dawes. You may be asking, why is Paul Revere mentioned in every history classroom, and not poor Will? The answer is pretty simple:
Paul Revere was connected. He was a respected member of all the local Boston Men’s clubs and personally knew all the different community leaders (i.e. Centers of Influence). Meanwhile, William Dawes was more of a shut in and knew fewer social circles.
When the British Invasion arrived, Revere rode off to warn all his different friend leaders. Each leader would in turn inform their circle of friends, successfully transmitting the warning to thousands of people. William Dawes, however, was not as effective. His strict friend group was isolated. Unfortunately, this led to a closed-loop communication where only this group of people–and the random people’s houses he knocked on–found out about the British arrival. Long story short: Discovering and connecting with COIs will open doors to new referrals, helping you expand your business leads exponentially. Once they can attest to your value through word of mouth, their constituents will follow suit.
2) Embrace Social Media
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: Social media is here to stay.
Over 69% of Americans have a social media account. Ignoring this fact hurts you both in the short-term and the long-term for three reasons.
It’s Effective Advertising On The Cheap
As of right now, social media advertising is a relatively cheap tool for effectively targeting your market. Investing as little as $25-$50 a week (the average small business invests $125 per week) into promoting your brand takes no time whatsoever and can produce immediate dividends you can actually track. Think about this:
When you place a billboard on the highway, it costs around $10,000 per month. The great thing about billboards is that everyone sees them. But what if you took that money and targeted the exact market you’re aiming for? First off, you wouldn’t need $10,000 on social media to have the same effect. With Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn demographic and psychographic filters, you can accurately and inexpensively reach the same size audience you desire while gaining notoriety and prevalence on the platform. And besides, when was the last time you could accurately track the effectiveness of your billboard?
If You’re Not On Social Media, You Don’t Exist
People now more than ever trust the internet. Don’t believe us? Check out this study done on Yelp reviews. Regardless if it’s the truth or not, when people see positive reviews and followers on social media, they’re more likely to go with you when buying or selling their next home. This sphere of existence gives you validity. The best way to get this started is to ask your current and future clients to review you on Facebook. Also, adding a quick line asking for a review on sales brochures and on your business card is a great way of gaining legitimacy on social media.
Besides asking clients to review you online, the best way to create this validity is through your content, which brings us to our last point…
It’s A Great Way For Clients To Learn About (And Trust) You
How can a stranger know anything about you simply from a 6-second viewing of your highway billboard? They can’t. The best way for them to know what you’re about is for you to post content that establishes your brand. Now, we’re not saying you shouldn’t post listings online, or have posts discussing the value you create for your clients. You should be doing this. However, what talks to people isn’t sales-focused content. Instead, it’s making content about your interests. This could mean discussing your favorite football team, sharing a funny meme relating to the real estate industry, or talking about how to make the perfect steak. You want to demonstrate that you are a human being who has relatable, interesting thoughts and interests. This type of digestible content will help establish your brand, making you a more trustworthy and personable agent.
3) Always Follow Up and Have Your Business Card On Hand
Whether you meet them through a social ad, at your local Ruby Tuesday, or mindlessly walking through the park, always get their number or email and give them your information. It doesn’t matter if they’re looking for a new house or not, becoming their invested friend by asking how their day is going, or an activity like playing a quick 18 holes is your best long-term networking tool. This tip takes practice, time, and numbers. Lots and lots of numbers. Invest in many people, and they will repay the favor.
So, there you have it. Your 8-minute networking guide to getting 6-pack sales leads. While it probably will take more than 8 minutes, with time, patience, and fortitude anyone can master these tips and help elevate their business to become the powerhouse agent everyone will want to work with.