Don’t just rely on word-of-mouth, referrals from satisfied clients and traditional advertising vehicles to grow. Networking can boost your lead generation.
Realtors and real estate agents are by nature a fairly social bunch. They have to be: their livelihood depends on it. They are also adept at networking, constantly connecting with other agents, professionals such as attorneys, title agents and lenders and even service providers like handymen and movers.
Many Realtors, however, still can improve their networking techniques. Here’s why: You network to close the sale or to help close a future sale. You build up a reliable network of professionals whom you can turn to when they need them. Rarely do you network for the sole purpose of generating leads. Instead, your lead generation relies on word-of-mouth, referrals from satisfied clients and traditional advertising vehicles.
If this sounds familiar, you’re missing out. Networking is an excellent way to generate real estate leads — if you do it right. We attended a presentation by Mary Marshall of Forrest Performance Group in Fort Worth, Texas, at the 2018 International Builders’ Show in Orlando in January. Marshall’s presentation encompassed networking in many different situations, but there were several things she said that really resonated with us as effective lead generation tips for Realtors and real estate agents.
Here are four takeaways that we think will help real estate professionals maximize their networking reach and boost lead generation.
4 Ways to Make Networking Work for You
It’s second-nature for good Realtors to network. They do it all the time, almost unconsciously. But networking and effective networking are two different things. It’s not enough to connect with someone or to pass them your business card; you’ve got to cultivate and maintain the initial connection. Here’s how:
1. Work Your Network
Maintaining relationships with past clients, colleagues and service providers is a crucial, yet simple, way to maximize your network. Follow your connections on social media. Meet for coffee or lunch occasionally. Send them articles or information that made you think of them. Congratulate them on personal and professional milestones. These are all simple ways to maintain a strong connection to a person without investing a lot of time.
2. Get Social
Social media platforms are an excellent networking tool, making it easy to stay in contact with your network and even to expand it. Connecting online with friends of friends is today’s word of mouth. Social media allows you to remain aware of your contact’s life without being intrusive. You can share pictures and information of new listings, helpful articles and blogs, run contests and more. Ideally, this information gets forwarded or shared with your connections’ own network and brings leads right to your inbox.
3. Follow Up
It’s one of the biggest pitfalls of networking. You’ve attended the event. You’ve made contact. You’ve created a connection. Then … nothing. The event ends and there’s no follow up! Avoid this situation entirely by scheduling a follow-up meeting with your new contact on the spot.
As Marshall urged, “Don’t leave that conversation without setting up a follow-up meeting.” Scheduling the follow-up on the spot guarantees you’ll take further action, even if it’s only to reinforce a face and a name.
4. Look to Your “Competitors”
It’s not unusual for Realtors to feel threatened by competition from builders, but as Mary pointed out, “Builders and Realtors both have value. If you can recognize that and work with it, you can create a very effective lead generation tool.” How? Builders often work with people who are looking for homes, but need to sell their current home. Find a builder you respect and trust, establish ground rules and expectations for the working relationship, and start feeding each other leads and referrals.
A network is a powerful thing. By using it correctly, Realtors can generate consistent lead traffic regardless of market conditions.
Sarah Kinbar is a writer and editor with a passion for design and images. She was the editor of Garden Design magazine, curating coverage of residential gardens around the globe. As the editor of American Photo, Kinbar worked with photographers of every genre to create a magazine that told the story of the photographer’s journey.
She has been writing about architecture, landscape design and new-home construction for NewHomeSource since 2012. During that time, she founded Kinship Design Marketing, a boutique agency that provides content for website redesigns, blogs, inbound marketing campaigns and eNewsletters.