Ok People. I would like to do a little experiment…. I would like to test every single lead generation idea out there. Once a week, I will post a video after I have tested one and let you know how its working. I would love to hear your ideas…old schoool…new school…everything. Let me know your best and most creative ideas!
One of the issues with out jobs is that sometimes we have no control over what another party does in any transaction we have. While we still continue to do everything we can for our clients, there are just some things “acts of god” that we can never predict happening.
However over the years, one important thing that I have learned is to get to know agents, loan officers and closers in the communities which I serve. I do a ton of networking. I can honestly say that I have developed some great connections and made some new friends. It’s an awesome thing.
What this ultimately does for me is this… I have a relationship with another agent. We have respect for each other. Deals happen with these agents and I know that there is a trust factor involved. We are then able to have open communication with each other about transactions we are involved in together. Its my own “circle of trust” with colleagues.
So get to know others in the industry and take the time to communicate with them. Be genuine and authentic. Share stories and ideas. We all have the same goals in mind so why not help each other!
In the early stages of my career, I never took the time to see what was really working for me. However at the end of 2011, I made the decision to hold myself completely accountable and frankly….kick ass in 2012.
I spent the last couple of weeks of the year self evaluating every detail of what I did in my business. Obviously, 2011 was a little different due to my little hiatus I took over the year. But nonetheless, there were some victories and some failures. I took a step back and learned from them all. This helped my create my plan for 2012.
This is what I decided I have to do in 2012:
1. Blog every day starting today. Blogging has always been my thing. I was blogging before blogging was cool. I slacked of within the last year and I had to deal with the consequences. My many blogs have brought me a lot of successes and I am committed to making it a priority.
2. Continue to be active within the local and national associations. I have found that by being apart of association committee’s has helped me be able to serve my clients better.
3. Get back to the basics. Yes, social media has worked for me. But it’s not everything. In November and December I really focused on calling my sphere. It has helped my land a new listing coming on the market and 2 pending sales in the last week or so. I guess it really does work. I have also been sending weekly emails to my investor clients. There are so many amazing deals and my emails include the best of the best deals. From the responses I have received from them, I can tell its sparking their interest.
4. Learn something new. I am so over the whole social media stuff. I get it. I need to focus on finding new ways to grow my business that doesn’t involve updating my Facebook status.
5. Be Thankful. I’m still here and kicking. I have a lot of cool people on my side
I can honestly say 2011 ended well and its flowing thru into 2012. This is going to be a great year! I am going to push myself as hard as I can to make all my goals this year come true. Cheers to 2012!
My feeling about people who fail with their social media efforts is that they lack the ability to obtain a true connection with someone. How are consumers supposed to trust you if they know nothing about you.
I recently commented of a status of Jimmy Mackin where he asked the question “What percentage of your Facebook Friends have you met in real life?’. My answer was 80%. I am not on Facebook, adding random friends. I am meeting someone first and requesting them later.
My main focus in my social media efforts is simply “being real”. I don’t try to pretend I am a certain way. Some things I may say may not mesh with everyone but it’s who I am. By doing this, when the few people who I havent met IRL do meet me, I am the same person they got to know on any social media site.
Personally, I value my friends whether online or IRL. I try not to be fake. Most of you that know me very well understand this.
While at the NAR conference I attended this past weekend, I met Jared James for the first time IRL. We had known each other for years on Twitter and Facebook. You would have never known by us meeting that we hadn’t met each other previously. We chatted like we would have any other time. We didn’t have that awkward feeling when you meet someone for the first time.
It’s all because of how we connected in the first place. We had conversations. We took the time to get to know each other. You have to take everyone you meet online the same as if you met them in person. Ask questions, figure them out. It’s really not that hard
I got out of going to a meeting this evening that is all about setting up a Facebook fan page. They are going to learn how to do it from a-z and even what to name it. The problem is I have one, I use it all the time and I have plenty of people who like it. I have even gotten a few leads from it. I have it connected to Real Bird to posts on it houses for sale and foreclosures so many times a day, it is connected to market and basic real estate information for Myrtle Beach, I am working on a Welcome Page and Link page for information for Myrtle Beach, etc. So I didn’t really need a session on walking me through setting up a fan page when I am way ahead of the game. But that is the problem I face, I am ahead of the game when it comes to all new technology in my office. I even use the new MLS program that we have come out with. My BIC doesn’t even know how to use this new program, and she my age. And when they see my business cards with my QR code on it they look at it as if it is some foreign alien image to them-which I guess it is. I talk about running ads on Facebook, blogging on other things besides real estate on WordPress to get leads, linking WordPress to Twitter and Facebook and QR codes, and their faces go blank. However, talk about direct marketing mailings, working expireds, FSBO’s and open houses, and they can talk for hours about that. I am not saying everyone should be using the new technology or it will apply with the way the run their business, but they should at least be aware about it. They should at least not be so shocked that social media does work and I have gotten leads for Facebook, as well as my running blog that is connected to Twitter and my networking and direct marketing. They both can work if you work them both correctly. Of course it does not help me if I have a question on our MLS program and no one in the office can answer my question because I am the only one who uses it. I guess I will be busy in May when the phase out the old program. Sometimes I often feel like they look down at me as this new agent coming in with all my social media ways; like somehow their ways are better than mine. Neither one-on-one marketing nor social media marketing is better than the other, but statics show how much time people spend on Facebook and other social sites, so it only makes sense to try to connect to people there as well. You still have to do the one-on-one networking and marketing. So in my office it is really new technology meets old technology and old technology has no desire to learn about new or use it.
So what do you do when your leads dry up? Interesting question, small problem here-I have no answer to it. My leads are dragging their feet or aren’t calling me back (which having been in sales before is nothing new to me). And of course no new leads are coming in. So how do you bring in more leads? How do you fill up the funnel? In life insurance it was who you knew and who they knew. Your base came from referrals, and I did really well with that. I went out and networked and made things happen. But it is just not the same system in real estate. You can explain and convince someone of the benefits of life insurance, especially whole life, and how essential it is and how it can be part of your overall portfolio. But you can’t convince everyone you know or meet to buy or sell their home. And most of the people I know are a) in North Carolina and do not know anyone who have real estate needs in South Carolina or b) like where they are and do not want to move nor do they know anyone who does. So what now? I am the type of person who wants to get out there and make things happen, but exactly how do you do that in real estate? I wish someone would explain that to me. My trying to work FSBO’s is getting me nowhere, holding open houses isn’t working, running ads isn’t working and it takes time working a target market. So what do I do? I spent all this time in school learning the terms and math for real estate but what about practicing real estate? I do plenty of floor duty, but people are not calling in. So where do I get more leads? I have mentioned in other posts about all the networking I do, but as it stands today no new activity is coming in. Which for me is extremely frustrating. I try everything, I do everything, but my leads are dead or dying, and I am not sure how to revive them. I like where I work, I like the people and it is a good agency, however I am not finding a lot of help when it comes to this question. I know other agents have had leads dry up. It happens in sales, so it must have happened to them before. But they are just not helpful on helping me figuring out how to get the leads I have moving and gain new ones. I have asked the question on a LinkedIn group I am with and most say to work with my sphere of influence. That is not going to work in my case, so what else can I do? No matter how hard I stare at the phone wanting it to ring, it is not going to just magically ring. I would love it if I could make it. I guess this is just part of the down part of real estate. I guess I just have to keep doing what I am doing and hope that things turn around. That is really all I can do. I wish I could go out there and make things happen faster, but I am not sure where to begin on doing that. I am new, so I am still learning. May be in 6 more months I will have an answer to this question, but right now I don’t.
To begin this post, I would like to clearly state that I am no expert in blogging. Its something that I simply enjoy. I have spent the past couple of years learning and growing my blog and doing everything can to make it original. It’s the one thing that is universally important.
As of late, I have noticed several blogs that seem to have the same content. I love to see what others write. But I do not need to read the same blog post over and over again.
I think, as a blogger, people appreciate that I write something that’s original and that’s interesting. Not only that, but as a blogger, you tend to make yourself more credible by using your own content and writing about something that you are an expert on.
This also with help potential consumers find the information they need. Having a blog that you simply fill in your name and contact info is pretty much worthless. How does this drive potential customers to your blog? If you are trying to improve your SEO, how does duplicated content help you?
It’s true that having “fresh” content on your blog will help your SEO, but isn’t having a blog more about gaining subscribers and people actually staying on your site and reading your entries?
I took a poll via Facebook. Everyone who commented had the same feelings as I did. Why automate your blog and take away the personal aspects of it. Generally people will respect you more knowing there is a real person writing those blog posts.
I have actually seen some of my old blog posts duplicated. Some would say that’s a compliment. However is bugs the crap out of me. I work hard to write them and do not enjoying seeing my posts being used by someone else.
I strongly believe that if you can’t come up with you own blog content, then why even blog at all? Your blog should be about the user experience. Is important to get users to read your posts and actually stay on the site long enough to see what else you have to offer. When you auto-blog, you are basically stealing someone else’s work. Besides that, you are losing track of the whole purpose of your blog, driving traffic to your site.
When there’s a social backdrop such as there is in a club (see Networking, Part 1), it’s a bit easier to find some common ground to get the conversation going, or perhaps there’s an activity involved that naturally opens lines of communication. On the other hand, I find that industry events or those cocktail hours that are set up for the sole purpose of networking can be tough to ease into.
But first, why is networking in the industry even important? Well, for starters, it’s an opportunity to meet others who also work in your industry but might be in other roles, such as mortgage brokers, attorneys, commercial agents, etc. We work with some of these people on nearly every deal, so by establishing these relationships you can start developing a power team of people you might want to work with in the future. Plus, networking within the industry can set up a cycle of referrals that could mean additional income down the line. I recently had someone come into my office looking for a storefront so that she could open up a nail salon. I don’t work with retail space, but through some past networking I know a couple of commercial agents who I trust that might appreciate the referral (and maybe they will return the favor in the future, or perhaps there is potential for me to collect a referral fee). It’s not always easy to meet these people through the natural course of business, especially if you are brand new to the industry, so look into some local professional networking events to develop your list of contacts.
I find that these networking events can be very intimidating, so here is a list of some tips that I collected over the past year that have helped me be a little more confident in those situations:
- Have a 30-second elevator speech prepared. Rehearse this before you go in. What do you do? Do you have an area of expertise that others in the room might find valuable?
- Have plenty of business cards and a pen to write notes on the back of cards you receive from others. Step aside when you can to jot down things that you want to remember later, such as their interests or keywords that will remind you of any stories they might have shared. You want to be able to reference this in later correspondence so that they remember who you are.
- It shouldn’t be a contest to see who gets the most business cards. Trading cards and moving to the next handshake is more likely to have your card end up in the trash. Spend some time talking to people and get to know them. You’ll remember them better and chances are that they will remember you better too.
- Go to events with a goal (and again, this goal should not be about collecting cards). Maybe this is “meet five really solid contacts” or “find a new mortgage broker to begin developing a relationship with.” If you set a goal and stick to it, you increase your chances of making the event worthwhile for you.
- People like to talk about themselves. Ask questions. Be an engaged participant.
- Let’s be honest though - not everyone is a joy to talk to. When you find yourself in a dead-end conversation with someone you are not interested in, give yourself permission to find a polite way to exit so that you can meet someone else. Don’t waste their time and don’t let them waste yours. You might also want to use that pen you brought to discreetly make some kind of notation on the card they gave you to remind you later that they might not be worth following up with.
- Follow up with your new contacts by sending an email the next day saying how nice it was to meet them. Include a mention of something you talked about to add a personal touch. Continue to follow-up with them in the coming months if appropriate.
Sounds a lot like dating, doesn’t it? But it’s one way of meeting new people who can help your business in many ways down the line. Besides, you get your face out there and you establish yourself as a serious player in the industry.
Do you have any other tips? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Networking. It’s sometimes daunting, isn’t it? I finished my last post with a call to get out there and meet some new people, but I often find that to be a big challenge. Some people just have the natural gift of gab – and the rest of us have to work a little harder to break the ice (including me, I must admit). Since effective networking is a major aspect of this business and should be a tool in every rookie’s Real Estate Kit, I thought I would turn the spotlight on it and share some tips that have come my way.
It seems that everyone is talking about social media these days and it’s certain how important it is for every real estate agent to have an online presence. Tweeting and posting on facebook has allowed me to connect with people all over the globe and it’s a great way to keep my services in the forefront of the minds of potential clients. It can certainly be a lot of work (as my fellow contributor Sarah has pointed out ) but can you rely on it? I attended a panel on networking at the NYC Real Estate Expo back in November that underlined the importance of actual face-to-face contact in addition to your web presence. I agree that the Internet is a great way to meet people but nothing can really replace the kind of connection you get with a real handshake and a few minutes of genuine facetime.
Networking beyond your Sphere of Influence is necessary because it gets you out there meeting people you don’t know who could potentially become new customers. Sure, this can be done online, but you should be looking for ways to develop qualified contacts – something that I don’t think is achieved too often just by getting a follow-back on twitter or a “like” on your facebook page. It’s hard to stand out in all that electronic noise, so in addition to your social media marketing plan, remember to work in some old-fashioned face-to-face networking.
If you don’t already belong to clubs that will allow you to meet new people, investigate some in your area. Perhaps there’s an adult sports club, like a group of tennis players or runners you can connect with. Or maybe you can meet some people by picking up a new foreign language or taking a dance class (or a religious organization or a book club…). There are lots of possibilities, so find something that interests you. The people involved in these clubs will probably need to buy or sell at some point, right? And shouldn’t they use that smart and trustworthy real estate agent that they met at that community mixer last month (that’s you)? Not only will you enjoy a new experience and make new friends, but you could also get some business out of it.
While I’m not so sure that ballroom dance is really my thing, maybe I’ll look into those German classes I’ve been meaning to take up again. Who knows who I might meet?
Up next – Networking, Part 2: Industry Networking Events
I am in social media overload. Social media is the new way to sell, especially they say in real estate. It is a way to get your name and message out there. When I first started out in sales over 10 years ago, it was the phone and networking. Now you still do that plus social media. And there are more do’s and don’ts for social media than I can count. They even have e-books, videos and e-courses you can take on it. You have to have a Facebook profile page, a Facebook fan page, run ads on Facebook, have a profile on LinkedIn and be in groups, be on twitter, blog about your market on active rain and somewhere else, blog on something else you do besides real estate and at least 5 other things. When it comes to facebook-5 times a day do something with your personal site-1 status update and 4 comments. For your fan page-3 posts a day. Plus you need to have a presence on twitter and be active in your groups on LinkedIn. You need to blog on active rain and another real estate blog site once a week and as much as possible on your something else blog. There is even an e-book called 101 Do’s and Don’ts for social media for Realtors. There are more rules than you can imagine. It reminds me of that book that came out in the “90′s about the do’s and don’ts for getting a date or getting a man, one or the other, I can’t remember what the exact name of the book was. But doing all the rules for social media is just like following all those ridiculous rules in the dating book. You can spend all day just doing this and doing that with social media. And of course, you still have to follow your regular marketing. Be on committees, be involved in this and that, find target markets and send them something useful every 90 days. And when you do make a sale or get a listing, send out cards to the rest of the neighborhood letting them know. You name a committee I am on it; I am active in 2-3 different things with church, network, and send out direct marketing material to my 3 target markets (which means staying current on what is going on there) every 90 days. I have 3 small target markets because my market is so large, and I have decided my next contact will writing a newsletter and of course I took an e-course on how to do that came with examples of newsletters. But thank goodness for Hootsuite, so I can do most of these social media things all at 1 time and schedule when things get posted throughout the day. All of this to get more leads hoping to make a sale. I was running Facebook ads, which were working, but stopped, so I stopped running them since I didn’t want to waste any more money on something that isn’t working anymore. You can spend half a day just digging through different sites trying to find things interesting enough to post on your fan page so people will read and become a fan. But since it all varies from person to person as to what to post, who knows what you are supposed to be doing. I just follow other realtor’s’ fan pages and see what they are doing. Of course, that takes time too. And you do this every day, plus stay on top of what is coming on the market and staying in touch with your leads. Following all these do’s and don’ts makes me feel like I am a woman reading that book desperately waiting for the phone to ring hoping to get a date. I could stop doing all of this. I don’t exactly have the time for it all, but I still do it all. I am the queen of social media. Plus I have the smart phone with all the apps so I can stay on top of all of this even when I am not near my laptop, which is rarely. I am afraid my husband thinks my laptop is attached to my hip. No wonder he spends more time with the dog than me. I always have my head buried in this thing. So I am a woman desperate for that phone call and until I get it I will keep up with all my social media marketing and regular marketing, even if it kills me. And of course I still have to run, so I can blog about that every day. I really hope that one of these days all of this pays off, and I am not killing myself for nothing. I could really use a no-social-media day, but can’t do that yet. Not until I get that call.