Networking, or getting out in the community and "pressing the flesh," meeting and interacting with people in your area, is a marketing activity that is too often neglected by real estate agents. As we consult with agents on their marketing efforts, we make sure they are including this activity in their marketing mix. Too often, agents do not realize the power of face to face networking. Once you have a face-to-face conversation with someone, any marketing efforts (whether direct mail, billboards, email or other web based marketing) that reach this prospect become much more powerful and effective.
Here are five mistakes agents tend to make when it comes to their networking.
Mistake #1: Not looking at networking as an important part of your marketing
Many agents don't fully understand that networking is an integral part of any strong and effective marketing campaign. Making personal contact and getting "face-to-face" with people is an incredibly powerful way to find new prospective clients, add people to your marketing database and mine for leads.
ACTION ITEM: Make sure you designate specific time in your schedule for this important marketing activity.
Mistake #2: Not setting goals and desired outcomes
It's important to have a clear vision of what you expect from your networking efforts. You need to have "metrics" you can track, you need to have a definitive idea of what you are trying to accomplish.
• How many people will you network with in a given week, month?
• How many solid leads and closed transactions will you be shooting for? Remember, networking, as with any marketing effort, is a numbers game. The more business you expect, the more people you will need to get in front of.
ACTION ITEM: Put your networking time on the calendar, rather than trying to squeeze it in when you have time. WRITE down what your goals and expectations are and measure your progress.
Mistake #3: Failure to set up a system with your networking
As you are out and about making connections with people with your networking, it's very important to systematize your efforts and not fall into a pattern of inconsistent practices.
• Get time scheduled on your calendar and stick to it.
• Log and track your efforts. As you establish contacts with prospects, add them to your marketing database (in their own special category) and implement a marketing plan to "mine" this database for business.
• Make it a regular part of your weekly, monthly and annual marketing plan.
• Follow up! Add these prospects to your CRM program, get your new prospects on a regular direct mail plan. Don't squander the time and effort you put in to establish a contact with that prospect by failing to follow up.
Mistake #4: Failing to add networking to your Social Media efforts
Social Media is simply networking brought into the digital age and it's a powerful marketing tool.
• Create a Facebook fan page/local business page. Invite all contacts to "Like" your fan page.
• Invite these prospects to follow you on Twitter.
• Invite these prospects to subscribe to your blog.
• Look to add all people who "Like" your Facebook page or follow you on any other social media to your contact database.
Mistake #5: Not incorporating printed marketing pieces into your networking efforts
It's important that once you make a contact and add them to your database, you need to stay on "top of mind" with these prospects by touching them with powerfully branded marketing materials on a consistent basis, such as a personal brochure (handed out at initial meeting, ideally), direct mail postcards with your branding and market updates. Be sure to direct them to your "branded" website often.
Networking can be a powerful marketing tool. Just be sure to avoid these mistakes and keep your focus on these action items and recommendations as you start networking and prospecting! For more information click on this link below to find a more exhaustive article on strategically networking for real estate lead generation.
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