REAL ESTATE MARKETING AND SALES
So you get your real estate license, now what?
Congratulations! You have embarked on a path to have as much free time as you want, to spend time with family and friends, vacation wherever you would like and, walk into any store and buy what ever you want. You can now make as much money as you want to make. You no longer have a boss telling you what to do, when to do it or how to do it. You don’t have to worry about cut backs, lay-offs and termination. You choose what time you get up in the morning and how late you work each day. Your level of success is in the control of only one person, YOU!
Sound great? So what do you do next? How do you go about gaining all this exciting wealth and prosperity? Once you have your license everyone should beat a path to your door and hand you lots of money right? WRONG!
Getting a real estate license is much like getting a driver’s license. It doesn’t make you a good driver. It takes practice and experience. And the more training you get, the better you become.
Following are the steps to total, unstoppable and complete success. They are not complicated; they do not require special experience and education. Anyone who chooses to be successful at this can do so if they follow this simple plan. It is simple, but it is not easy! It takes commitment and diligence. The key is not intensity it’s consistency. It is entirely in your control.
Choices and Goals
Why become successful and what exactly does it mean to you?
Success comes in all shapes, sizes and ages. For those looking at real estate as a second career, you have just as much a chance as any of the youngsters. You can start any time anywhere. Don’t forget, Ray Kroc (of Mc Donald’s fame) didn’t buy his first hamburger shop until he was 55! The key is to understand what you want and how you are going to get there. Take a moment and answer a few questions.
How much money is enough for you?
For many, an extra $5,000 per month is more than they ever though possible. For others, they can’t make it out of town for a weekend vacation for that amount. The questions you need to answer are what are your needs and desires? As with any professional script or game plan, writing these goals down makes them real and it gives you a target to start working towards.
How much time are you willing and do you have to invest?
Much of your initial extra time will be absorbed in understanding how to do the job. Understanding the contract forms, the disclosures, the listing, purchase and sale sequence or whatever steps are taken in whichever field of real estate you choose. Making a colander of your day, week and month all the way out for a three year period of time is a worthwhile exercise to look at your current time commitments and your preferred schedule. When is your family time? When is your personal time? When are the school plays, soccer games, date nights and other current commitments? Make the list and schedule them! Nothing has to be cast in stone, at the same time the soccer games will never be played again and it would be a shame to miss them.
Is your family or significant other supportive of your career decision and do they clearly understand what will be involved?
Be aware that the dynamics change. If you start working full time, there will be times when the money will not come in at a regular stream, as it does in a nine to five job. You can’t spend your entire commission check celebrating your transactions being completed. Some of your commissions need to be set aside for slow periods and taxes. There may be periods when, for one reason or another, a few key transactions just aren’t closing. Sure there will be big checks, but you will need to budget for your costs and obligations. Following your marketing plan will take care of the majority of the peaks and valleys but they will be there, especially in the beginning.
How much do you want to make?
Do the math. Put a pencil to paper and determine how much you must make and how much you want to make. Then look at what part of the business you’re going to get into. Talk with other successful people in the
market and find out from their personal, in the day to day reality, what it takes to make the kind of income you have decided upon. Selling houses, representing buyers exclusively, originating loans, processing loans, managing property, it doesn’t matter, How many sales or closings or properties does it take to reach your goal.
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses
It’s appropriate to conduct a personal assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. You can learn to do anything you want the question is how willing are you to do it. If you don’t particularly like dealing with the public you may need to consider something a little more behind the scenes, verses on the front line. There are many, many jobs in real estate. Be honest with yourself and find something that matches your personality. Or, if you want to venture out of your comfort zone, where would you like to go and what mile stones would need to accomplish to get there?
Put yourself in surroundings for success
Do you need an office environment or are you a self-starter? Do you want to start in a group and then, after you have learned what you want, would you rather work alone? Determining these answers will help you decide on a direction. DON’T JUMP INTO THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY, look around, ask questions, and spend some time at the office or in the company of your prospective fellow agents. If it doesn’t feel good, keep looking. Many new licensees move three or four times in their first year or two in the business before they find an office they are comfortable in. The key is to find an office (if an office is what you feel you need) that is supportive and provides a good mentoring, runner, or education system that meets your needs. Again, if it doesn’t, keep looking.
You must have financial reserves or keep your old job
Don’t make the mistake of severing your ties (or life-line) and plunge into the water unless you still in your twenties and mom will welcome you home. It takes an average of 30 to 45 days to close most deals. That’s the soonest you will get a commission check, if you had an executed agreement the first day. We’ll discuss ways to hit the ground running in the next few pages but the reality is that you want to have some reserves set aside to cover your expenses. Again, pen to paper is the best way to keep everything clear. It is often a wise choice to ease into the business and have a few closings under your belt before severing the ties with the old source of funds. This could put some physical and time constraints on you for a while but this is much better than the effects of emotional and financial strains of lack of income.
Now that we’re in reality mode, let’s get to work on leveling off the peaks and valleys and establishing income security.
The most successful actors and athletes have a script or game plan that they rehearse and practice until they have it perfect. It may need to be modified slightly as it all comes together but the success is in the practice and the consistency. Just as it is with actors and athletes, successful real estate people have a plan and they work their plan. The most successful real estate people are “client based” which means they handle the real estate needs of their clients. It is impossible to be an expert at all elements of real estate. You could be awesome at taking listings but weak when it comes to property management. So what do you do if your client needs property management? You introduce them to a quality property manger and you coordinate the agreement. We’ll deal with this later in the session when we talk about your “Dream Team” for now we need to determine where all these clients are going to come from and where a continuous source of clients will be coming from.
The most successful real estate professionals do all or the majority of their business from referrals. A referral client is one that comes to you from another client, associate, acquaintance or friend. “There is know competition for people who know you, like you and trust you” The key is how to develop referral sources and maintain them. The balance of this session will show you exactly what to do and say to develop the types of referrals you want in the shortest period of time.
First, some of the basics:
Never sell your family or friends! It’s okay if they ask you for assistance but never offer your services. Never offer to list your friend or relative’s house, never ask if you can help them re-finance their home. Never, never tell a fiend that you could do something better or cheaper than someone else. Why? You don’t want to put your family and friends into the uncomfortable position of saying no to you.
One big issue is credibility. Your friends and family know you from your former life; the kid who use to throw rocks or the former employee who brought the bags of coffee and the pens home from work. Don’t feel bad,
this goes way back. Even a Prophet isn’t a Prophet in his own back yard, they are just the kid they all knew and watched grow up. Credibility has to be nurtured and earned. It takes time and patience and even then it’s still not a good idea to do transactions with family and friends. That doesn’t mean that you don’t still ask for their help. On the contrary, friends and family can be one of your greatest sources of referrals if they are trained properly. And there is usually no one who would be happier to help you succeed more than family and friends.
Develop your plan and stick to it.
Marketing yourself takes time. In the beginning your marketing plan must be worked even harder than your education plan. It’s easy to find the answers to technical questions; it’s harder to get a flow of clients to do business with you.
When should you get started?
Who ya gonna call?
Statistics tell us that we each know approximately 250 people. Each of the 250 people we know, know another 250 people. People want to do business with people they know, like and trust, don’t you? This means you already know the people that will help you become totally successful! Plus, they want to help you! All you have to do is let them know what you do and ask them for their help.
Do you want the success? Make the list
Make a list of everyone you know. Write down their names and phone numbers. If you can’t remember everyone you know ask for help from people you know. Here are some initial examples of categories to list.
Friends and family
People from groups you are associated with
MAKE THE LIST! WRITE IT DOWN!
Just as a professional athlete or an actor practice their plays and rehearse their lines, it is important to know what you want to say when you have the opportunity. We have prepared a script that has worked for everyone that has tried it. It’s simple and gets the point across. To start on your path to success, memorize this script just as it is written. Practice it until it seems natural. Practice it with family and friends and classmates. Say it to yourself in the car, in the shower and every other opportunity until you know it. Say it to at least five new people each day. You can change it in a year if you wish. For now, let this simple script help you open the door to unbelievable success.
Say it, say it, say it.
EXACTLY WHAT TO SAY
THIS IS PHASE ONE of the program. It’s just the introduction but it’s critically important and ties into the next phase of the marketing plan.
Hi, I wanted to let you know I’m in the real estate business. I help people buy and sell homes and I need your help. I’d like you to be one of my referral sources. If you hear anyone that could use my services, please ask them if I can give them a call.
This is what you might hear:
I’d like to have a bigger house; this one is not big enough for us.
I wish I had a vacation home.
My children are getting ready to start school; I don’t like this school district.
My children have all graduated and I would like a smaller house.
If you here any of these comments, PLEASE DON’T GIVE THEM MY CARD! Ask them for their phone number and ask if I can give them a call, then call me.
How many people do you need to say this to each day, each week and each month?
That depends on how much money you want to make. It’s a numbers game, but the numbers change the better you get. You will soon begin to realize who the more effective people are to say this to. It may not work as
well if you say it to the grocery store bagger as it would to the minister at church, but after you have said it many, many times you’ll begin to know who is a better referral for you. The more you practice, the better your delivery and the more credible you will sound. This does not have to be people on your list only. But once you have said it to someone, try to get their name, address and phone number to make contact with them the following week as will be discussed in Phase Two.
Who else should you talk to? Who else could be a referral source?
The answers are limitless. The more people you say this to, the more
business you will get.
How much fun do you want to have?
The spa broker
One individual (let’s call him Joe) who is an expert at referral marketing enjoys the lifestyle he has always wanted. He is independently wealthy and now has real estate holdings that more than cover his living expenses, vacations and toys. His day begins at the local gym where after a work-out he holds court in the whirlpool spa. He discusses current events but it always ends up talking about the local market and housing. Several real estate friends, mortgage officers and others in the real estate business that he has met at the club make it a point to end their work-out in the spa once or twice a week to visit and share ideas. From the gym, Joe meets some friends for breakfast where they have their favorite table informally reserved for them. After breakfast, he checks his projects, most of which are remodeling projects on the homes that he has purchased from his various network sources. He checks in with the contractors then Joe takes their lists of items needed from the local home improvement warehouse stores and delivers it to each job in his pick-up truck. It’s then time to meet other friends for lunch (at another restaurant) again, where they have an informal reservation at a table. After his long lunch, he returns to the job sites and checks on their progress. He then meets with potential buyers or tenants or
looks at his next potential purchase. Hours later, you guessed it; Joe is off to
drinks and dinner with more friends at yet another restaurant. It’s a good thing he works out as much as he does to stay in shape but he says he has learned to pace himself. Joe said it took him about three years to develop the contacts he has now but he feels he could do it all again in about six months if he was dropped into a new city where he didn’t know any one.
The real estate guy for the motorcycle club
Another network marketing enthusiast is Greg. Greg is in a motorcycle group; not one of the ones with the tattoos, piercing and grease, more of the pristine fair weather riders who go for weekend rides for coffee and apple pie. Greg loves nothing more than working on his bike in his garage. In addition to his wrenches and ratchets his computer is in the corner and his transaction coordinator is on speed dial. Greg can take a listing or write an offer to purchase in between gapping points and strobe tests. He lets his clients know what documents they need to get together and that someone will be over to pick them up (often on a motorcycle). The next delivery is to the transaction coordinator who follows Greg’s directions to open the escrow, order the appraisal and coordinate the notary to meet the clients and sign documents a couple of weeks later. Greg doesn’t charge as much as many real estate agents but he knows he keeps more money because of his low overhead. All of the bikers from his club and several other clubs use Greg for all of their real estate transactions because they now him, like him and trust him. Most of his business however comes from referrals from these club members who know other people.
Is this a businesswoman that’s an athlete or an athlete that does business?
Liz is a world class tri athlete. Her training schedule is more rigorous than most professional athletes especially the months leading up to a major competition. Liz didn’t want to get caught up in the sponsorship game so she decided to sponsor all of her events and training herself. Plus, she has a home and a family who provide her moral as well as racing support. Liz meets all of her goals and is able to be completely independent through her real estate sales business. Liz makes it a point to meet as many people as she can at competitions, training sessions and training clinics and keeps detailed records of where she has met them and what events they competed in. This camaraderie for the sport and the understanding that other athletes have in what it takes to compete establishes her credibility as a dependable business woman. Her self promotions and networking bring her more business than she can handle alone. For that reason her husband also works with her on the real estate business, handling many of the day to day details while Liz focuses on training and making new contacts.
Pot that one that so what so far as and that’s okay is our head explained and then the lady in black lady that I was and then you this you so is that’s me I okay so this is
Network marketing does not have to be hard work; it just has to be worked consistently!
What’s your story? What do you like to do? Where do you like to go? Could you start a conversation off by asking “what do you do when you’re not sitting in the spa?” It doesn’t really take as much talent as it does interest in other people. Don’t go into this with the intention to sell them a home or a loan, go in with the idea of establishing a long term source of continuous referrals. When you did the math above, how many referrals would you need each month (that ended up referring you a sale) to get where you want to go? If you come from a position of how you could connect one client with another, it always ends up benefiting you. Your goal is to establish only a dozen or so quality referral sources that consistently send you a client or so each month.
Other places to develop referrals
The Chamber of Commerce business after hours or business socials
The most powerful tool for developing referrals at a business social is to introduce people to each other. It’s a lot of fun and you absolutely don’t have to know anyone before you get there. First, go to the first person you don’t know and introduce yourself.
Don’t make this a big deal. Hand them a business card and just say “Hi, I’m Ed, what do you do”? Listen carefully to what they say. At this point your new acquaintance will probably be telling you everything about themselves you ever wanted to know and more. If the conversation ever stalls however, ask some other basic questions like:
How long have you been in the area?
How do you do your marketing? (Really great question)
Where is your office?
Who are your customers?
How long have you been in business on your own?
How did you get into this business?
Listen, listen, and listen to all the answers.
Find something interesting about this person and figure out who you may know that may be able to do some business with them. Listen carefully; pretend that you will be asked to introduce this person at a business meeting someday. When you feel you can do a very basic introduction, stop the next person that comes along that you don’t know, and simply say “Hi, my name is Ed, do you know John? John is a chiropractor; his office is on Orange Street, what do you do?
Listen carefully to what the new person says. Get to the point that you can give an introduction for that person. Ask each how they develop their marketing leads; this always keeps the conversation rolling. Listen carefully and see if any of their techniques would work for your business. Ask simple questions like “what else have you tried?” “which works better for you?” Then, think of a way these two people you have just met could possible do some business together or generate some business interaction. Don’t go crazy with this, it could be as simple as recommending that they get together for lunch or visit each other’s office. The important thing is to help them find a way to learn a little more about each other’s businesses and how they could work together.
Take a look at the dynamics of this situation. With little effort you have performed a valuable service. You have helped break the ice between two people and opened the door for them to share referrals. You did that: and they will really appreciate you for it. Here’s where the dynamic part comes in. Tell your new acquaintances that you can see where they may be able to come up with several ways they could work with each other to develop more business. Be sure you have each of their business cards and say “you two keep working on this, and I’m going to come back and check on your progress”, then leave. You will often hear one of them say “wow, this is great, did you pay that guy for this?” The really great part is that both of these people feel anxious, even committed, to be sure to find you a referral! And you didn’t even need to ask! Imagine, helping others to help yourself. Has a nice ring to it. The next step is extremely important. The very next business day, call each of these people and tell them what a pleasure it was to meet them. Ask them how it went with the others they met. If it’s convenient, visit the offices of your potential referral source(s). Learn more about them and their business. The more you know about them, the more the comfortable they will feel with you. Don’t make the mistake of selling your referral source! As a matter of fact it’s almost better to avoid selling your services to a referral source. You want
them to want to bring you leads, not feel pressured or awkward when they see you to list their home for sale or re-finance their house. Referrals are like your personal sales force; however, you pay them with kindness, attention and referrals, not cash. This method will work every time you try it. If ever things slow down a little, get back to the basics and attend a business social. Have fun with this.
PUT MEETING PEOPLE INTO PERSPECTIVE
Eliminating the fear factor
JOHN learned how to work a Business mixer when he was in the seventh grade. It was the night of a school dance. It’s important to be aware that JOHN wasn’t a very good dancer, he had a moderately active case of acne and his mother fed him too well. But that night John had more fun than he
had ever had at a school dance. What he did was simple. He went with a classmate. They didn’t really have the plan formulated until they walked in
the door and then it all came together. They made a commitment that they would each to go to the first girl they saw and asked them to dance. Regardless of what they said or did, if they rejected them or danced, they would finish one dance then go to the very next girl and ask them if they would like to dance. It didn’t matter whom they were with or what they looked like. They had this revelation that everyone there, or at least most of the people there felt as awkward as they did, they just put their egos on their sleeves and walked up and asked. They knew going in that we were probably going to get rejected a few times, they chose not to let it get to them and went for it anyway. Long story short, they didn’t come close to making it half way trough the crowd, there just wasn’t time. They danced every single dance and they met more people that night than they had since the first day of school.
Breaking the ice
It’s funny how little things change. Every time you attend a business mixer you see people who look lost and dying for attention. Consider it your mission to meet as many of them as possible. What is really amusing is that you don’t have to have something special to say! You don’t have to know anything about them; you don’t have to have some really smooth line. The reason for this is that they usually do all of the talking. All you have to do is listen and ask really simple questions about their business. You will be
amazed at how many times you will listen to someone talk about themselves and their business for fifteen, twenty or thirty minutes, without saying a word yourself, only to be told what a an absolute pleasure it has been talking with you! At this point they don’t know much about you but wow, you know volumes about them. As a matter of fact if you hadn’t made a point of being sure they had one of your business cards and that you had a name tag, they probably couldn’t remember your name within thirty seconds of meeting you. By the way, that’s the secret to remembering names, to say it in a simple sentence back to them or better yet to others, within the first thirty seconds of meeting them. “Hi Mary, let me introduce you to John, John is a chiropractor, John where is your office again”? To set remembering a name in stone, and to follow through locking up this referral opportunity, mail John a card the next day and call him on the phone to tell him you enjoyed meeting him. If possible, make an appointment and go to their office and see their operation. Go with the thought of adding them to your arsenal of professionals who can provide services to your clientele and other referral sources. In a short time you will be known as a reference source for whatever someone wants or needs. You will also be known as the “can do” person for real estate transactions.
Name tag: It may seem a little silly or just a little awkward in the beginning. Just get over it. Get a custom made name tag of your own and wear it every day. This makes it easy to read, says exactly what you do and lets people know that you mean business. It’s best to wear your tag on the upper right side of your chest. This makes it easier to read when you reach your right hand out to shake hands. If you are having trouble with the thought of a name tag, think about it for a while. Those people you know who wear them are easier to remember, you know what they do and you don’t have to worry about remembering their name. They have made knowing you easier for you!
Business cards: Be sure you always have plenty and that they are easy to reach. To avoid confusion and embarrassment, keep them in a separate pocket from the cards you get from people you meet. Always go for a quality card and give as much information about what you do as possible. A business card should be considered a miniature billboard. It must be tastefully done and hiring the services of a professional designer is worth the money. Plus, they make great referral sources. Be aware, most business cards are thrown away. To be effective, you must follow up the next day with a phone call to whomever you gave a card to. Of you don’t, you may as well throw them away yourself.
The other important point about the use of business cards is that you do not want anyone handing out your cards for you! Instead, ask your referral sources to get the names and phone numbers of the people they were thinking of giving your card to and asking them if it’s okay if you give them call. Train your referral sources to give you a call with these prospective customer’s numbers. This puts the opportunity to get together with the client in your control.
Pen: Always have a pen to make short notes on the back of cards you receive. Note where and when you met the person. Make notes about the conversation. Make sure you know what they do and what type of client they are looking for. If you have an idea of someone they may be able to work with, call that person and tell them about your new acquaintance. Ask if it’s okay if you give the new contact a call and suggest they call them. This gives you the opportunity to contact each source again and they will see that you are helping them with their business. At the same time they will be that much more committed to find you a new customer and you will be in the forefront of their attention.
Primary and secondary referral sources
All referral sources have the capacity to generate business. Some are better than others. For example, loan officers often deal with real estate agents. Real estate agents obviously deal with clients that need loans. Other excellent referrals for loan officers are listed below in the primary referral sources. Secondary referral sources are met anywhere, for example at a business mixer or other social function. Secondary referral sources are excellent to introduce you to your primary referral sources. And don’t forget, the more referrals you can give, the more you get.
Your primary referral sources are people in professions who deal with your clientele. People that are going to generate business for you through the introductions they make. For real estate agents as well as mortgage brokers it would be CPA’s, stockbrokers, family law attorneys and others. Primary referral sources are professionals who deal with your clientele regularly. We will be discussing how and when to ask for these primary referral sources in Phase Two of the program.
ESTABLISHING A RELATIONSHIP WITH A BROKER
How do you find a broker?
Before we go too much further into the discussion of network marketing, it is appropriate to discuss who you will be working with. As a new licensee you need to find a broker to hang your license with. A broker accepts a degree of responsibility for your actions as they relate to the practice of real estate. In typical offices, the broker provides the staff, office facilities and is responsible for the overhead expense of the operation.
How do you find a broker? The easiest way is through your referral network. Ask people you already know if they know a real estate broker or an agent who works for a broker. If you put the word out, you’ll have plenty of names. You could also look on the DRE website at www.ca.dre.gov, but a personal reference (as we have discussed above) is normally a better source.
How do you pick a broker?
First set up an appointment to go to their office and see how it looks. Meet with the broker and get to know a little bit about them. Here are some questions.
How long have you been in business?
What do you like about the business?
What type of clients do you typically deal with?
How do you get your customers?
Does your office assist new real estate agents to develop customers?
What are your goals with your company over the next five years?
How do you determine your commission splits with new agents?
Do you have specific guidelines you prefer new agents to follow?
Are you comfortable in the office?
Could you see yourself going there regularly? How is everybody dressed? How do they act? How do they sound on the phone? Do you like the way they conduct their business? Would you be willing to invite them to your home for a Bar B Que? What is the atmosphere like? Would you feel comfortable asking your best friend and their family to stop by the office? How about your parents? Is this an office you feel you could learn from?
These are all questions you should think about and answer before committing to a broker or company.
Do they have a Mentoring Program?
A mentoring program is where you work directly with an individual who trains you and lets you follow them around to learn the business. The programs are as diverse as the individuals and you need to understand how they work and what is expected of you and how much (if anything) you will be paid. Make sure this is not costing YOU!!
Interview the prospective mentor
Ask the mentor questions and get the details about the program and their goals with the program. Find out what happens if you bring in a client. What will your share of the commissions be? Will you get any salary or share of commissions while you are in the program? How long do they intend the program to last before you’re on your own?
Many offices have runner programs instead of Mentoring programs. As a runner you are at the beckon call of the agent in charge of you and your job is to do what ever they want. Most of the time it is structured as a learning experience and can be very effective. Just be careful that you are not the prize for some hot-shot agent to serve coffee and drive all over town as a messenger and delivery person.
Transaction coordinators are individuals responsible for the coordination of all of the paperwork in a transaction. They are often also the person designated to keep the clients up to date on the status of their transaction and handle most of the calls from other parties to that transaction, such as title representatives, escrow agents and others. This can be an excellent starting spot in your training but again, ask questions and be clear on what your responsibilities are, how long the program lasts and exactly what will be expected of you.
What if you bring a new agent into the office?
Many offices encourage agents to bring in new agents. Find out if you will receive a share of the commissions they generate and what other parameters and procedures there are.
What happens when you bring in a client?
If you commit to your success program immediately there is an excellent probability that you will find a client that needs your services soon. Be prepared for this. Here’s how. You need to know that you can call the broker or an individual (or individuals) that that the broker has designated for you to work with that can assist you. Your job at this stage is to develop your clientele base so you can begin to generate income. It is imperative that you go above and beyond the call of duty to be sure that everything goes smoothly in the transaction and that the client feels comfortable and confident that they are getting cost effective and timely service. To accomplish this you must not feel that you are going to have all the answers to all of the questions (you never will). Learn this incredibly valuable lesson as early as you can, it will serve you for life. It is not important to know the answers to all of the questions. It’s important to know where to find the answers to the questions! A client will have far more respect if you say “I’m not sure, let me check on that and I’ll get back to you”, than if you try to come of with an answer you think may be correct and later find it was not. If a client says, yes, I want to list my house, let’s go, you need to pick up the phone and call an associate that can meet with you and the client and take the listing. You need to follow each step and hopefully you will be able to be the primary contact person with your client. We will talk about special handling of clients later in this session. For this and all of your transactions if you are the person that calls with the up-dates and you are the person they call with questions (that you will get the answers to), they will develop trust and confidence in you and that will mean more referrals and more business. Have your broker or associates phone numbers on your speed dial on your cell phone and you can have the confidence that you can accomplish anything in real estate because you know you can find the answers. There are too many agents our there
“waiting in a big hurry.” Don’t get caught in that trap! Have your support team lined up and start putting deals together. You will learn more and become more confident with each transaction. With your continuing education plan in place plus the experience, you will soon be asking fewer questions and handling or coordinating more of the transaction yourself.
OTHER VENUES TO DEVELOP YOUR REFERRAL SOURCES
Marketing at a business leads group
Business leads groups are an excellent source of business through referrals. A leads group is a group of business people who get together regularly and exchange leads. The group is usually mixed with one only one member for each type of business. For example, one florist, one banker, one chiropractor etc. The best size group is between 20 and 30 members. This gives all the members an opportunity to know the other members well.
Meeting times and locations:
Meetings are usually breakfast meetings that begin at 7:30 or 8:00 am. They are typically held at restaurants but they can be anywhere there is some degree of privacy so the members can hear each other. Restaurants usually caters to leads groups and will be accommodating to give them a private room or banquet area that the group reserves (at no extra charge) because everyone in the group usually orders a meal. The restaurant appreciates having a dependable group of twenty or more every week to serve.
Structure of the meetings
Meetings usually start with introductions. Members are encouraged to practice the quick introduction they would give when being introduced to a new prospective client. Members will often critique the introductions so members improve their skills in speaking and introducing themselves.
Next any of the leads groups’ business is conducted. From there, the more successful clubs will have one of its members speak. The member will inform the group of the type of product or service they offer and will explain the type of client they are looking for. The more the other members know about your product or service the more easily they will be able to recognize a prospective client for you. After the member speaks, the group will often have a guest speaker. This may be anything from a local politician, to an individual the club would like as a new member.
Size and structure of large business leads organizations
The most effective leads organizations deal with local members giving local referrals. There are many leads groups that have blossomed into large organizations. These organizations are coordinated through key individuals who actively solicit new members to add additional services or individuals to the groups. These people may have started the group themselves or the group may be a branch or chapter of a much larger organization and affiliation of clubs. Some of these groups have thousands of members and sponsor convention type gatherings all over the country. These types of organizations often require staffing for event planning and other club administrative functions. To become a member of these groups it usually requires monthly or quarterly dues and often an initiation fee.
Quality of the members is important:
Remember, each of the members has something at stake. They want the referrals; they give their clients quality service. If not, it could be a reflection on them. Many times leads groups will have an executive committee that will interview prospective members before they are accepted into the group.
Deciding if the leads group is right for you
The attitudes and atmosphere should be supportive, enthusiastic, and fun, but not too much of any of these. Many clubs are more social gatherings and spend too much time making jokes and not focusing on the business at hand. Others are too critical and cliquish. Just as it is when choosing a broker to work with, it is just as important to feel comfortable with the members of your leads group. It is also important to get with a group that deals with your prospective clientele. Usually a club will invite you to several of their meetings before you have to commit or are invited to commit to the group. Take this opportunity to get to know a few of the members outside of the meeting to get a better feel for the clubs effectiveness and commitment.
Working with key members
Each leads group has a few key members that seem to bring in more leads than and others. These are important people to get to know and for them to know what you have to offer. Unlike the Chamber of Commerce mixer the leads group is hard core business lead generation. If you are accepted by the key individuals and you are successful helping out one of their clients then your product or service may have found a Primary Referral Source which you may receive a client or two each month from on a regular basis.
Consistency Is The Key
As with all portions of your marketing success program consistency is the key. You must attend the meetings regularly and you must participate. Keep your mind alert to potential referrals for your fellow club members and be clear on the product, service and quality of each the club members provide. The leads group of twenty or so members is like your miniature sales force out looking for new business for you each day. Make sure you do the same for them!