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Now This is How to Network!

Yesterday was one of those days that I considered to be successful as far as networking goes.  I worked from home yesterday.  I didn’t have any appointments, so I used my day to tweak my social media sites, write a post on my blog and do some emailing with some October housing news.

I received an email from a client I had worked with for about a month.  This client was looking to rent a home and we saw each other almost daily.  In the end when a home was found and a lease was about to be signed, the client got cold feet and decided to look into renting an apartment instead.

Yes, it was a lot of work with no results.  From my point of view though, it was another person to get to know, helping me to get my name out there.  Well, my perspective turned out to be a good perspective.  The client and I had a good rapport and ended our working relationship on good terms.  The email I received thanked me and mentioned that she had had a great experience with me.  I was offered an opportunity to help a family with their relocation needs through a referral the client provided.  Not only was I flattered, but I was relieved to know that the client really did feel that we worked well together.  It wasn’t just my point of view.

I had another referral come in for an area of the state that I don’t work in.  I passed the referral onto another realtor who I know and who does a terrific job.  The realtor were thrilled and asked what area I worked in exclusively so that she could send some business my way.  Our areas don’t overlap, and she has been in the business for years.  This could be a great connection for my business.

Last night I went up to the local high school.  I am co-chair of a committee working on the senior all-night party. I met four new people who I would be working with exclusively.  Instead of writing my contact information on a piece of paper, I gave them my business card.

I think about what my career will look like in a year if I am able to connect that well on a daily basis.  Flyers, emails and phone calls are one thing.  Personally I feel the best way to expand your business is to get personal.  There’s nothing like connecting with people in person or reaching out to those you know on an acquaintance level and get to know them better.  Most importantly to me though, I want to build my relationships in an honest and authentic way.

When I contacted the realtor with the referral, it wasn’t to see what she could do for me.  I knew I couldn’t help this customer, but I still wanted them to have a good experience.  I also wanted to give someone else I knew and admired an opportunity to get more business.  If I couldn’t help, why not pass it to someone else who would be fantastic with this customer.

When I went to the meeting, I had no plan to hand out business cards.  If I had gone around just passing them out, I would have looked ridiculous and shallow anyway.  I had an opportunity to share contact information and handing out my card was just the most efficient and quickest way to pass on the information.  Being able to advertise my services was just a bonus.

So looking down the road, I am getting a better idea of how I want my business to flow.  For me and my style of handling my business, it means getting out into the community and participating.  It’s what feels best to me.  I feel lucky to have a job where promoting myself means to go out and have some fun while doing some good work for others.  It’s a feeling of satisfaction in a way I have never felt with the past jobs I have had over the years.

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Taking Charge of My Style

In the last post I wrote of finding your personal style.  Staying true to yourself in my opinion makes the difference between a successful salesperson who will enjoy their career for many years and the robotic salesperson who will dread their job and burn out quickly.

Since firmly deciding that I would concentrate on my own voice and what I know works for me, I have been feeling more comfortable and excited again about my career choice.  I have to admit, I was losing my focus and enthusiasm from a forced effort to accommodate my trainer’s ideal of the “proper” way of cultivating a sales career in real estate.  Their way of going about gaining clients might very well work for them, but it made me feel slimy.

I have spent the week reworking my schedule and tweaking some things to announce that I am a real estate agent smartly without any sales pressure attached to it.  The first thing I did, was to put in a good signature on my emails.  Sounds obvious, but it was something that was never discussed in my program, but carries a definite punch.  I made sure that my signature contained the name and address of my office, my cell number, email address and personal website.  I also made sure to include my picture.

I got to see the power of this unassuming way of advertising when I wrote a few emails this week.  One of the emails I wrote was to a group of parents at the school regarding a volunteer opportunity.  It was wonderful to be able to announce what my career was to my target audience in a way that caused no one any amount of uneasiness.

This week has been my volunteer week.  To get out in front of people is priceless.  On top of that, I get to enjoy what I’m doing.  Volunteering feels great.  I love being able to do something good, enjoy how I’m spending my time and mention what I do for a living in the most unassuming way.  This weekend I will be volunteering at a city event.  My sales pitch is nothing more than some brightly colored football schedules printed on some heavy-duty card stock.  In the top corner of each schedule is my picture and office information.  That’s it!  $14.00 for 250 sheets of card stock, .25 per colored copy, total spent, $26.50.  Truly an easy sales pitch with a very minimal amount of money spent.  I will have a pile of free schedules at the information booth I will be working.  No mention of the schedules will be made.  People can take one if they are interested.  If it creates a conversation, great!  My picture is on the schedules so it is obvious that I am the realtor.

This brings up a point I’d like to touch on briefly.  I am very careful with the amount of money that leaves my pocket.  I know some agents who have spent a fortune on fancy products to make them more efficient and systems to help them increase their sales.  They have done no better gaining leads or making sales than me.  I have spent to date just under $50.00.  Besides the card stock, there was some office supplies I bought (because it is your own business in a sense and office supplies are up to you).

In the end, as I am wrapping up my week, I am feeling good about my decision and my new plan of action.  I have a feeling of excitement which will translate to a happy, confident person when faced with potential customers.  I will let you know how this new plan of action works out.  I hope my experience has helped you consider how you would like to approach your own potential customers. Also, please think carefully about purchases you make and if they are really worth it.

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in advice, job, life, opinion, style, thoughts

 

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