Attending home and garden shows may not be the best way to grow your network. Look for more ordinary ways to meet new people—and watch your business grow.
Juana Martinez, a veteran Realtor® in San Antonio, gives her tips on the best ways to meet new contacts and engage them in conversation.
1. Be prepared to meet new connections—everywhere
"There's no single place you'll get all your contacts," Martinez says. "Always be prepared to meet your next client—no matter where you are."
Martinez has made connections in typical ways, such as through friends, church and social groups. But over the years, she’s found success in less likely places, too. On a recent plane ride, she made small talk with her neighbors, who became contacts over the course of the flight.
"At some point, the conversation always turns to what we do for a living, and I'm proud to tell them about what I do and why I love it," Martinez says.
She always has a business card ready to hand to her new friends.
"More than once, I've taken a work call at the grocery store and then had other shoppers engage me afterwards," she says. Though they don't know the details of the conversation, they can sense she's a Realtor who's both professional and compassionate.
2. Take your time and get to know people
Whether you've met on the soccer sidelines or in a coffee shop, talking business right after an introduction can seem jarring. Don't be in a hurry to talk real estate—instead, take a sincere interest in the other person.
"I really like to chat with other people," Martinez says. "That puts them at ease, and it helps me understand what's important to them."
By really getting to know people, she often picks up on tidbits that can help her steer them toward their perfect home. For instance, talking about kids indicates that local schools might be important, while plans to move a senior parent into the household may cause her to recommend certain floorplans over others.
3. Stay in touch, but don't be a pest
"Nobody wants someone breathing down their neck," Martinez says. She usually gives new contacts a few days or a week before reaching out again.
"They may have taken my card just to be nice," she adds, "not because they really need a Realtor right now."
If you don't get a positive response, you should stop calling them. "I want to respect their time—and my own," Martinez says.
In all communications—email, phone or face-to-face—she offers this important advice: "Make them feel like family. Treat them with care, and they'll understand you'll do the best you can for them."
4. Keep your existing clients happy
As you help your clients navigate their respective home-buying or selling journeys, remember referrals from existing clients are one of the best ways to make new connections.
Show curiosity about their lives, and continue to ask questions about what they're looking for in a new home and community. Empathize when they’re confused or anxious about any particular parts of the process. Be sure to own the close, and—even after the close—follow up every once in a while to see how things are going.
By listening well and helping your existing clients through the complex process of buying or selling a home, you're building your network in a powerful way. Happy clients are glad to do your networking for you by recommending you to their friends—and that's advertising you just can't buy.
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