Now that we’re in “Selling Season” – the busy period between September and the holidays – it’s a great time to do some networking. Go out and use networking as a prospecting tool.
It’s also a great time to bolster your personal brand. Make no mistake…You ARE a brand. You’re a business of one, a business unto yourself. As a “personal business,” you need to deliberately project your brand to your target audience.
The better known your personal brand is in your marketplace or real estate specialization area, the more successful you are. When you leave messages for prospective clients, they’re more likely to call you back if they have heard of you and have a positive impression of you.
Here are a few personal branding recommendations to keep in mind as you network and prospect during this lucrative time of the brokerage calendar:
Focus externally – Be active and involved outside your home or office. Show up at networking events. Go out of your way to talk to people when you’re in public venues. Big clients come from relationship-building. Make it a goal to attend a certain number of events per month.
Focus on results when networking – Determine what is most interesting about your listings or the way you represent clients, and then exploit it. I call it your “area of self-marketing expertise.” That’s what you talk about when you meet new people, not the mundane, technical details that will cause a lay person’s eyes to glaze over in boredom.
Build a “Google trail” – If you haven’t done a search on your name lately, see what’s out there. I guarantee that people are Googling you on a regular basis. A prospective client will probably Google you to know who he or she is dealing with before meeting with you. That’s why a Google trail is so important. If nothing or very little pops up when someone Googles you, there’s a problem – they’ll assume you don’t have much going on. Therefore, Google your own name on a regular basis. If you’re not very visible on line, deliberately get your name out there to build an Internet presence.
Refresh your value statement – Does your 20-second intro speech need updating? You need to be able to say what you do quickly, clearly and in a way that captures a person’s interest. A useful elevator speech also conveys how a person could benefit from what you do.
Ask probing questions – Don’t just chit-chat and make small talk during networking conversations. Ask some questions designed to uncover the critical information that leads to new opportunities.
Listen to your clients and colleagues – When we get too busy, it’s easy to start making assumptions. Those assumptions can cause you to lose opportunities. Instead, ask the important questions and truly listen to the responses. Don’t just go through the motions. Let the other person’s words sink in and make an impression on your brain.
By the way, never let up. When things are good, don’t let complacency stop you from perpetually networking and marketing yourself. When things are going poorly, don’t let discouragement be an excuse for apathy.
Remember, marketing yourself is never about ego; it’s a form of prospecting. It’s a form of investing in your future. In a loud and crowded marketplace, hard work, good listings and talent are no longer enough. You need to make sure key audiences know about you and have positive feelings associated with you.