Thursday, June 2, 2011

Face to Face Networking

By Stan Albert
“The way of the world, is meeting people through other people” – Robert Kerrigan
It’s an old idea in an era of high speed electronics. But it works!
Is it time to expose yourself to others in your business? In the age of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, I still think it is wise to go to networking meetings where you actually “touch the flesh.”
Back some 40 years ago, that’s what I had to do in order to build my database or my sphere of influence (SOI).
From the Sales and Ad Club to being on the Industrial Committee to being vice-president of the newly chartered Jaycees, I went to places were I met people of influence or those who were simply just interested in investing in real estate for the first time.
It seems to me that social networking is too cold and impersonal to make the similar contacts. Albeit, those systems are faster and less time consuming, but in my opinion they lack the personal touch. I refer to Jonathan Cainer’s Your Stars syndicated horoscope column: “We all see life from a different perspective and we are all ‘blind’ to some extent…”
Don’t be blind to these networking ideas:
1. Attend as many non-real estate functions as you can at least twice a month. Go with a buddy. You two will be the only Realtors at an engineers’ luncheon. With usually eight people at a table, someone will ask, “What are you doing here?” or “What engineering firm are you with?’ Just simply respond that the subject matter was of interest and that you and your friend wanted to learn. And isn’t it normal for all of us to then hand out our business cards? But wait until the rest of the table gives you their card before you give them yours.
2. Have a complete plan for the year. By attending at least two functions a month, you will have over 100 new prospects in your SOI. Add those to your existing files. Always ask permission to stay in touch by email, phone or hard copy mail. People of all ranks want to know about the local market.
3. You should know who your original contact was and seek them at the event and thank them for allowing you to attend as a guest. (Note: Most of these events will welcome guests at a small additional charge)  If you figure out the cost of advertisements versus a dinner or luncheon to capture more leads, it’s a no brainer!
4. Be cordial at all times and thank the fellow table members for their information and wish them well in their future business.
5. Follow up within a week or so with a personal hand-written note thanking them for the opportunity to meet with them and to learn something new. As an additional follow-up, send them an email newsletter outlining what’s going on in their area.
None of this is new. It’s been done before, but I see many new and struggling to build their business with limited capital resources to send out marketing material. I pass this on to not only new people in the business, but for those who want to be renewed!
In closing, I quote from Cainer’s column again, since I think his recounting of an adage is quite appropriate: “There’s an old Indian tale about three blind men who come upon an elephant for the first time. One inspects the beast’s trunk and concludes it’s a snake. The next finds the leg and concludes it’s a tree. The third finds the tail and concludes it’s a rope.” The moral, Cainer says, is that we should always look at life from a different perspective, “because none of us truly grasp what’s going on in our personal and as well our business life.”
Trust me on this one – in spite of the wireless era, many people have made this system work – and very successfully I might add.
 Stan Albert, broker/manager, ABR, ASA at Re/Max Premier in Vaughan, Ont. can be reached for consultation at stanalb@rogers.com. Stan is now celebrating 40 years as an active real estate professional.

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