Photo Courtesy of unlovable
Connecting to Others
I love Twitter, Linkedin, ooVoo, and Facebook as ways to connect with those around me! These applications have allowed me to connect with real estate agents all across the United States, Canada, and parts unknown. It was great, getting open, honest feedback from agents not in my market area. All of a sudden, I am reading about best practices, ways to advertise, other points of view, great technology to use, and so much more.
In March of this year, I noticed something. Despite having these great real estate connections, I have very few local ones. I realized I needed to incorporate these tools in to my practice to find clients, since we all know “real estate is local.” Spending time on these tools were great, however they were not bringing me any business.
What is an agent to do?
One of the first things to change and implement, connect with local folks on Twitter, not to sell them, but to get to know them. I started searching Twitter for people who lived in communities in my metropolitan area of Columbus, Ohio. Then I narrowed my search for my home town, Delaware, Ohio. Ironically, the only other Twitter user was a real estate agent (just my luck!). Then I moved out to communities with in a 20 mile radius. This started working, suddenly I was connecting with new friends in the area and talking about Central Ohio, what we do, getting together and yes, real estate.
This is great for new friends, however, is there more?
Yes, there is! If you are using social media, odds are your family, friends you lost contact with; old colleagues may be using it too! My search turned to phrases to find people from high school, marching band (yes I was a “band geek” if ya have sumtin to say about it allow me to remind you I am 6’ 4” and 270 lbs! ;^) ), alumni from drum & bugle corps I marched with, friends from former employers, and old summer camp acquaintances. The list goes on and on and on!
Wow, it’s been forever. What are YOU doing?
Suddenly, my contacts are growing exponentially. People I had not spoken with for over 15 years are connecting with me and each has the same question, “What are you doing?!?!?” What a great segway to passively tell them, “Hey, I sell real estate!”
DO NOT HAVE A STANDARD RESPONSE!
When I start connecting with family and old friends, I do not use a canned response. These are people I want to reconnect with first and foremost, catch up with, and get reacquainted. They do deserve more. With that said, I usually start off telling them about my wife and son, age’s, plus any major life changes we have made (like starting kindergarten), where I am living, mutual friends I’m in contact with, and any news (try to stay way from gossip) of folks we have not heard from. Then, moving on to my career just becomes a natural part of the conversation. I tell them I am a real estate agent working for Minister Realty. I do not try to solicit a sale, a listing appointment, or referrals. That conversation will come up organically in later conversations. Remember, you are connecting with people that were once a part of your life in some way. Have a reunion and do not be a salesperson.
What’s the effect?
In most cases, by the 2nd or 3rd contact you may find out that “We are looking to buy a house” or “My parents want to move,” or even “We just bought a home 3 months ago.” If you do receive the latter response, its ok, life happens and we can not sell to everyone. Hopefully, you will receive one of the former responses, but if not, give it time. Not only have you connected with an old friend, you now have a potential client. At that point, let them know you will always give them superior customer service.
How are you connecting with family, old friends and co-workers?