If you are a Realtor, consultant, or service provider, targeting your local business community for leads is a huge opportunity if you understand how to begin the process. There are many different ways to begin prospecting your business community. Here is what I would do if I were in your shoes.
Steps to Prospecting Your Business Community
List: all contacts who are friends or acquintences working in your local business community. Prioritize the list by importance or level of executive.
Lunch & Learn: create a free lunch and learn curriculum based on your real estate knowledge and what you believe would attract a audience. Partner with an equally valuable affiate for a team lunch & learn.
HR: approach HR depts with your offer to perform free lunch (you buy) and learn workshop for their company at their facility. Offer sandwiches remember your food at Open Houses?
Media: contact your hyper local newspaper offer same thing for their staff. Contact real estate writers offering interview or blog content they can convert into a news piece.
Affiliates: contact your trusted inspector, title insurer, landscaper, stager anyone who works within the real estate industry who you have a relationship with currently. Look for ways to trade referrals.
Affiliate program: offer a commission (if legal in your state) to referring affiliates.
It’s all about offering free value to your target prospects. It’s also very important to be liked. Do NOT underestimate the “likeability” factor.
Fortune magazine’s “The World’s Most Admired Companies” article focuses on companies that are the most popular workplaces. Most of these employees are paid well. Many of these employees are on the move so relocation is a constant for these companies. With all of these positives, have you ever thought to target these companies in search of business? But how would you start?
If you are willing to put the effort into wooing employees from top companies then you should consider two places to begin.
Connections: list all of your personal connections to employees, executives are a great source, and begin to make contact with them. Consider a phone call then follow up postal effort
Human Resources: if you don’t have any personal connections to employees or executives in your target firm then contact the HR department. Ask if you can provide a free lunch and learn session for employees, provide free estimates, or provide free one on one consultations
When you are out at a networking event or meeting new people how do you answer the question: “What do you do?” If you are like most people you begin to dust off your elevator pitch in an attempt to dazzle and wow the questioner. Unfortunately your efforts to impress people with your “standard” elevator pitch is often the very reason why you do not connect. Eric Tsai’s “Creating the unforgettable elevator pitch” is a fantastic strategy that will improve your ability to connect and create business relationships.
Are you a Macro or Micro?
Most people when presenting their case for others to connect with them regurgitate two types of answers to the question: “What do you do?”
Micro: a micro pitch describes a person’s daily tasks, the mechanics of their job or business
Macro: a macro pitch describes the industry a person works within
Using either the Micro or Macro pitch is a mistake because, in most cases, neither pitch provides solutions to the problem(s) the person asking you what you do really wants to hear.
How can you help people?
The way to connect with people when they ask the question “What do you do?” is to “focus in on how you help people- specifically, the problem(s) that you solve.” As Tasai states “The ugly truth is nobody really cares about what you do; it’s about how you do it.”
If you and your business provide solutions to the problems your targeted prospect is experiencing in their business, you should use your pitch to describe those solution(s). By being succinct and direct with your answer, you will begin to connect and create a curiosity in your prospective networking partner.
When is the last time your company decided to thank customers? Normally this occurs after a sale, holiday, or conference you both attended. Do you make a practice of planning your outreach “thank you” efforts? If you do plan this type of campaign throughout the year, do you measure the results of your efforts? Do you know if your customers were “wowed” by your thank you? Without a plan or a method to measure your strategy, how can you move your business forward?
How do you thank your customers, affiliates, and peers for their support in the age of social media? If you are like me you tweet your gratitude, post thanks via a wall post or message on Facebook, or contact them on their favorite social network. The result is a nice response in return. But how memorable are these outreaches when they are so common?
Go Postal: How Do You Do That?
Do you want to make a memorable impression on your customers? One that creates the “wow” factor? Sit down and write a thank you note and send it via old fashion “snail mail” Here are a few tips to remember:
Card Stock: buy simple, clean notes made of quality (heavy) card stock
Content: include a story or shared experience in your thank you note
Handwriting: write legibly
Business Card: place your business card inside the envelope
Social Can Be Offline
We mailed 40 Thank You cards to customers, affiliates, and industry peers in December. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and warm. We have received phone calls expressing gratitude and surprise, Twitter messages with pictures of our card, and face to face handshakes and hugs. Without a doubt going “old school” is, in today’s world, considered going the extra mile.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=James+Bond&iid=4182020″ src=”4/4/e/4/Sean_Connery_745a.jpg?adImageId=12101624&imageId=4182020″ width=”234″ height=”326″ /]Twitter lists are an important strategic tool that allows users to completely leverage the power of the most influential lead generating social network available today. The following is an outline of one of my Twitter list strategies.
Twitter List Strategy: Monitor
Prerequisite: In the Monitor strategy, the Twitter user should already have built a number of lists that segment the people and companies they follow. These lists would include prospects, industry peers, organizations, affiliate business partners, networking partners, and customers.
Monitor Strategy: Premise
The idea or premise behind the Monitor strategy is to set up a number of lists, or parts of current lists, that provide an effective monitoring tool for the user. The key to this strategy is the fact that Twitter users are NOT required to follow the people or companies they are listing.
Monitor Strategy: Benefits
Monitor: Twitter users may monitor a person or company by placing them on a list without the requirement of following them in return
Follow to Follower Ratios: without the requirement of following, Twitter users can keep their Follow vs Follower ratios 1:1
Perception: with your Twitter Follow vs Follower ratios near 1:1 you or your company will NOT be perceived as MLM spamming or hard sell sales pitching
Research: monitor competitors, industry leaders, consumers, customers, or breaking news agencies to learn and document your niche
Stealth: by NOT following your monitoring target, you do NOT show up on their radar helping to remain private in your observations
Cloak: Twitter users can hide or cloak lists by “locking” them. Locking your list will keep it private to you and away from your competitors’ prying eyes
One of the most intriguing networking strategies for Realtors has yet to be truly leveraged here in Northern California. The idea is simple: Realtors should seek partnerships with employment agencies and individual headhunters as their next referral niche. At the same time, employment agencies and their individual headhunters should be targeting successful relocation agents for referral opportunities
Benefits of Networking with Employment Agencies
Lead Generation: employment agencies deal with job loss which often results in a necessary quick sale of primary property, investment property, or vacation home sales
Partnership: Realtors who partner with employment agencies could have an added value over their competition if they are privy to jobs, the hidden job market, and can guide people to those positions
Value Add: relocation agents could market their services with the special value add of employment information via their employment agency partnerships. They become the go-to source of employment information for their region or niche. Ex: Silicon Valley would be a prime place for an aggressive agent to become a go-to source of employment information
Social media strategies often ignore one of the most important aspects of networking to produce leads: hobbies. Your hobby or passion can produce leads and new networking connections if you understand how to leverage Web 2.0 Social Media site. As a new fan to photography, equipped with a real camera, I am about to begin a life long desire to produce quality pictures. I am going to do both black and white and color shots concentrating on the beauty of Northern California. My social media tool of choice will be Flickr.com the photo sharing social network.
Social Niche Networking: Hobbyist
1. Make a list of your hobbies
2. Choose one hobby that you would like to write about for a community
3. Choose the right Social Media site for you
4. Provide articles, photos, podcasts, or video that communicates within the community
5. Link your work on this site to your blog, website, and your profiles around the Social Media System
Many times we connect through liked minded beliefs, hobbies, and interests. These efforts can lead to a business relationship as people begin to become more comfortable with new friends and the different ways to connect.
Twitter is a sensational social network tool for entrepreneurs, job seekers, and companies. Twitter is being used as a research resource, marketing tool, measurement source, messaging utility, networking facilitator, and broadcasting system. The following are some tips and basic strategies:
Identify: Choose how you want to use Twitter: research, marketing, networking, creating audience, customer service and so on.
Following: Avoid following hundreds of people or companies immediately as this tactic gives the impression you are spamming people with sales propaganda
Who: Identify people in the industry, business, niche, or company you wish to follow
Keywords: Make a list of keywords that will help you find the conversations you wish to follow. Example: “San Jose jobs”; “Company names”;“Your job and Company name”; “Industry organizations, groups, or associations”
Search: Input in your keywords or names into the internal search engine to tap into the conversations you wish to follow
RSS Subscription: When you find a conversation that is important, use the RSS feed to subscribe to that conversation and set up in either your email or a Google Reader
Auto-Follow Service: Perform your due diligence before following someone. Do not sign up for an auto-follow service
Vary Message: For every 10 “Tweets” you write make sure 7 give “outside” value and 3 are about your products, services, or events
Signal to Noise: Within your 7 value messages leave links to your resources
Tiny Url: Utilize this super valuable site to shrink the size of your links so they fit within Twitter’s 140 character limit
RT: “RT” stands for Re-Tweet. This is a form of recognition and the best strategy for networking. When you want to recognize someone’s Tweet content you simply place RT and then copy their Tweet. This provides your network with the valuable information and opens up a line of communication with that person
@: This is another form of recognition. If you @person or company you can ask them a question as well as publicly recognize them for their writing
Jeffrey Gitomeris a best selling author, world class keynote speaker, and one of the most important resources available for job seekers and entrepreneurs today. Gitomer specializes in many important facets of business including business development, sales strategies, and networking. Yet it is one very simple concept, that remains one of the greatest takeaways I have learned in my business career. Jeffrey’s mantra “Give value before you receive value.” When you network with people he instructs people to give value, give it continously, and give value without asking for anything in return. Here are too very valuable resources that help people understand networking and the sales process:
The focus of every entrepreneur and job seeker should begin and end with the concept that in today’s world you must become a go-to source of information for your target audience. If you provide valuable information, provide it continuously, and provide that information without asking for anything in return you will be very successful. The first step to becoming a go to source of information? Utilize Linkedin.com to it’s fullest capabilities.
Box.net is a free application that you can load onto your Linkedin profile. The application allows you to upload pdf files, videos, articles, or links into one neat storage area. Your files are then made available to anyone interested in accessing them.
Strategy of a Go-To Source of Information
The idea is for entrepreneurs and job seekers to give valuable information while they build their network. By creating your mini resource library on Linkedin, utilizing Box.net application, you will do the following for your career:
Establish your networking presence online
Attract new networking partners due to the fresh information you provide
Help others with challenges in their business
Create a reason for people to view your profile by giving value first
Utilize “What are you doing now” message to alert your network of new content you will share
Create opportunities for exposure, stay top of mind, with Linkedin updates every time you add to your application(s)
Drop the url to your profile in comment sections on blogs inviting people to download the free valuable information in your Box.net library
Increase traffic to your profile
These are just a handful of the benefits that the Box.net application will provide you and your network in your strategy to become a go-to source of information. Linkedin is the key vehicle to drive your message. It is up to you to find the resources of value and deliver.