Real estate agents are crushed with opportunities to spend marketing dollars. Managing a marketing budget for any agent, especially new agents, is difficult. Billboards, golf course scorecards, newspaper ads, digital ads, and buying leads can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month. If you have the budget and can track the return, go for it.
But most agents don’t, and you can be much more effective growing your business with a lot less marketing money. Below you’ll find three marketing strategies, that cost roughly $300 for an entire year to complete. They’ll generate the right kind of business and put you in front of a lot of people.
Schedule a weekly coffee date: it’s two bucks that’ll change you.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
I started going to a particular coffee shop every Monday last year. I order the same thing each time: regular coffee, black. It’s $1.50. The owners and staff know my order and my name. I meet the same person for an hour to catch up on life, share business ideas, and brainstorm entrepreneurial visions. Neither of us are trying to sell each other anything; we are there to share and contribute to each other.
I don’t miss. I’m on time. And something happened. Two community leadership roles emerged, I earned three new clients. That’s the thing – stuff happens when we’re moving around in our community. Some stuff that’s real estate related; some not. All good.
By November, the staff at a different shop in town, on a different day, know my name, my order, my work. I’m starting a coffee appointment there once per week to meet a different mentor 12 times per year, which is four different mentors per month. And stuff will happen – personal growth, deals, smiles, connectivity, community, friendship.
As agents, we need to find that time each week. It can be much simpler than I describe: 20 minutes once a week with a friend to start. Maybe it’s 52 different people like the book. Maybe it’s the mentor model, the mentee model, client model, network model. You see? It doesn’t matter who or when or where or what time. Make stuff happen by…Just. Having. Coffee. Every week. Don’t miss. Your life will change.
Creating a network group will bring you business. And close friends.
“The richest people in the world look for and build networks;
everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kyosaki
When I first started looking for business early in my career, I considered joining a networking organization. I attended a meeting to try it out: it was a room full of strangers, pitching their businesses, leaving their cards, and listening to one member give a presentation.
The cost was almost $500 per year, and I couldn’t choose the people who would be in my group. And I was bored. There was no way to control if the people in my “network” would provide any value at all. It wasn’t for me, so we started our own.
A networking group is a group of people that need referrals to do business. We four simple rules:
- Only one person from each type of business is allowed in the group;
- We meet monthly and attendance is nearly mandatory;
- We all try to refer three deals each year to everyone else in the group;
- Do a great job with the referred business because we have to trust each other – our personal business reputation relies on it!
Our group began with three people and has grown to eight. It began as a group that talked business at the lunch table. Its transformed into a group of friends that talk about life at the lunch table, and refer deals on the way out the door. A lot of my business happens because of this group.
Here’s how we began, and how you can begin, too:
- Meet with one other person for lunch and pitch the idea, with our rules. Brainstorm a list of people to ask to join us.
- The next month invite one person, and pitch the idea, with our rules, over lunch. Describe to the small group what you do for a living, and how people can refer business. Brainstorm a short list of a few more people that may join.
- The third month, add a few more people into the group, review your rules, go around the table, and eat lunch.
By the November meeting of year one, we spent the whole lunch talking about our families, what we were doing for the holiday, and what Christmas would bring to our kids. It was a group that started with many new faces, and grew into close friendships. Business has become a side conversation, instead of the conversation. But a lot of deals flow through this group.
Not everyone should belong in a networking group: pick people that are good at what they do, and can actually contribute to everyone. Select people that present themselves in a professional manner, people you like, people that need business. That’s an important one. Some people run businesses that no longer rely on referrals. This group isn’t for them. Put them on your mentor list. Types of businesses that work well in a referral group:
- Real estate agent
- Mortgage lender
- Insurance agent
- Financial planner
- Computer services
- Website/digital services
- Carpet cleaning
- Title company
There are dozens of others that’ll work, and you can add additional people by separating into commercial/residential for real estate, mortgage, and insurance. Having eight people in your group, if it’s run well, should generate 21 deals per year for each person in that group. Be patient as you grow it, but it’s a powerful source of business!
Including 18% tip
Two Evenings a Month
Join one board and attend one networking event per month.
“We meet the people we’re supposed to meet when the time
is just right.” – Alyson Noel
As agents, we learn to play important roles within our communities and meet new people through networking. Being present, shaking hands, and talking to people helps our business and our company, and will lead to more personal success. It’ll put you in more deals, help connect you to future clients and establish our company as a leader in our markets. By donating a couple hours, two evenings a month, you can make a huge impact.
Join a board. At zero financial cost, you can join any local board. It’ll likely meet one night a month, and put you in front of 10-20 other like-minded professionals. Some agents in our company are on boards for youth sports organizations, church councils, school organizations, community development boards, and many others.
There are lots of options, just reach out to someone involved and attend a meeting to see if it’s a fit for you. Another step would be to assume a leadership role on the board. Be careful to manage your time, and not stretch yourself until you can commit the time. Joining a board and not helping with anything sends the wrong message. Be passionate about your role and the organization.
Network. In all of our markets, there are networking events. For $5.00, one time a month, you can access most of them. Check the local chamber sites and online groups like ‘Meetup’ for different activities. The events we’re most familiar with last two hours, have drinks and appetizers, and are a great way to meet local professionals.
Doing it once or twice a year is disconnected and likely not worth it; however, committing to a networking event once a month gets you out of the house, puts you in front of new faces, and establishes both a personal and professional routine that will increase your business over time.