Today’s blog contribution was written by Vishal Kapoor. Vishal is a Real Estate Sales Representative in Oakville, ON.
Ask any Realtor® where they get most of their business from and the most common answer will be “Most of my business comes by referral”.
And where do referrals come from? Referrals come from people they know and people who know them.
1. Friends and family
2. Past clients
3. Referral based business alliances
And how do you get to know people other than your friend and family? Or how do they get to know of you? Through networking…
Networking to me is one of the most important skills not only for Realtors but any entrepreneur who wants to succeed. If you don’t know how to network, you should learn because networking involves building and maintaining contacts and relationships with other people.
As previously mentioned, networking is a process of building relationships…not just a one-time business card exchange with the expectations that person will refer you.
So here are a few steps to becoming a Super Networker.
Step 1. Mindset
If you have the mindset of getting a quick referral by going to these networking events, meet up groups, etc. then forget about it, you’ll be disappointed. Don’t waste your time. When you go to these networking events, go with the mindset of, how you can help them with their business, rather than how they can help you with yours.
Step 2. Be Curious
Get to know the person. Ask questions; ask good, quality questions. It shouldn’t be like an interrogation session though. Questions like, “Tell me about yourself.” Why they do what they do? Who are their ideal clients?
Step 3. Build Trust
If you ask anyone to name the most important elements of any long-term, satisfying relationship, trust is usually near the top of any list. This is certainly true for personal relationships, but it is also true for business relationships. So how do you build trust? Be yourself, no matter whom you’re trying to build a relationship with. Treating that person as a friend rather than a business contact will take you much further with the relationship. So, think about how you would approach a potential friend. Find something you have in common, keep it light, make jokes, and above all, show that you care.
Step 4: Enter Them in Your Contact Management System
You are going to meet so many people and it will be hard to remember everyone. Add them in your CRM system immediately after the event, along with a short note (i.e. what did they tell you about themselves). Send them an email within 24 hrs for an invitation to meet one-on-one, with an introduction regarding your professional motive and purpose. If they want to meet with you on-on-one, that’s great. If not, they might not be the right connection.
Step 5: One-on-One Meeting
Networking events are busy places and you will not have the time needed to solidify a working relationship. Meet them one-on-one, share your story, share your vision, identify what they have to offer and why they would benefit from a business alliance. What value will be added by the relationship in terms of both parties’ ability to serve their respective clients. Let them know you are their solution, who you have influence on, who you can refer, tell them that you have access to other people who can help them as well. Connect them with each other.
Step 6: Give More Than You Get
Give referrals. If you are a giver, you’ll get more than your share in return. On average, once you help 5-8 people you’ll get one referral.
Step 7: Keep in Touch
Communicate with one another when appropriate. Share your market knowledge and your industry information with each other and share it with your clients and connections when appropriate.
Step 8: Be patient
Referral based business is a game of patience. Keep providing value to your referral partner. Ask them who else they know who are like them that can also provide great service to your clients. Ask them to introduce you to such professionals. Once you start this process with each of your connections you’ll soon create a huge team of advocates, who will refer you whenever the opportunity arises.
People refer people or services when they know them well or experienced their good service because it’s their reputation at stake. So, who are you going to help or refer next time from your connections?
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