Social Media: It may be the new cocktail party, but don't forget the actual cocktail party!
Yesterday I had a good old fashioned networking day. Sure I did my Active Rain blogging, and of course I hit up the Facebook and tweeted some updates. But I actually did what we all use to have to do to meet people, I left the house.
Weird huh? I started the day taking my kids to school and chatted to a couple of moms about a movie I saw the day before(Inception-Highly recommend it). Then coming home I saw a guy running and we talked a little about fantasy football. I then changed and got ready to go play a little basketball with a group a neighbor of mine had put together. We played at a University close to our neighborhood and it consists mostly of faculty and a couple of students that run us old guys to death. I had done it for a few weeks but hadn't gotten to know the guys that well yet but this week one of them had a shirt on that said "Got Housing". I asked him about it and found out that this guy is in charge of getting the students housing each year both on and off campus. Jackpot! Now that is what I am talking about, a relationship that was very random that I never would have probably happened upon, that could lead to years of future business.
Then riding home I go by one of my listings to put up an open house sign and there is an agent there showing it, so I got to give them my little sales spiel, and I think they may end up being pretty interested in the property despite me being a little sweaty. Another random, but potentially great thing. I then ran into some old friends that had their kids out playing and so I went and got my kids so they could have a play date. I of course subtly mentioned that I had sold the house across the street from them, Twice.
Any way, I came home and started getting ready for a dinner that we had planned with a neighbor and another couple who are also a Realtor and a Real Estate internet marketing guy. We talked and talked about biz and not about biz. Interaction with Realtors, especially in the same market I think is some of the best networking you can do. You can compare notes, work together on social media, follow trends etc(I will blog about that another time). The restaurant we were at though was a sister restaurant to the one that my wife and I had worked and met at back in young bar life days. So once we started talking to the manager we dropped our business cards so that some of the old gang could get a hold of us. Hey you never know. They also took our picture and said they were going to put it on the wall. Wow how about that.
We then came home and the wife was tired but I knew that there was a school fundraising party that had gone long and someone had texted me from so I thought I would pop over to the cocktail party. There weren't a lot of people left but a few people that have worked some deals with, a local lender, another Realtor and the neighborhood, leasing agent. We again talked a lot of shop but also talked a lot about the local schools and the PTA and marketing to the schools. Our kids go to different schools so there really isn't any toes being stepped on. In fact we both shared some good marketing ideas and set out some fun competition goals.(for our kids and for us). Then me and the lender ended up staying up late talking shop and coming up with our latest version of our million dollar internet idea and battling about whether Carmelo was going to stay in Denver or if the Broncos are going to end up with a winning season.
At the end of the day I can look back and see some quantitative results from reaching out. The housing guy, the business cards to some old friends and general shop talking for some new ideas. But the real lesson is that even if I hadn't had such easy to identify leads, getting out there and meeting new people, keeping personal and professional connections active, and putting yourself out there for random things to happen, are so important. I think is was actually in the old restaurant sales training that I heard the quote "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." This I think was applying to upselling to add quacamole to the nachos, but the lesson applies here as well.
Let's just take the housing guy. 2 years ago I met my neighbor just going to the school bus and he was walking his dog. We have always said hi etc, but I didn't see him very often and so we didn't interact much. I also play volleyball with a Realtor friend of mine and we were talking about playing basketball. Well he knew this neighbor and told him that I was looking for a game. So one day when I was taking the kids to the bus he searched me out to see if I would be interested in playing. He is the Dean of students at the University so he carries a little clout assumedly with this housing guy and maybe opened the door to the conversation. You just never know what will come out of the web that you weave by interacting with different people.
I guess to me the lesson is that even when being out there, it's not necessary to flood every person you meet with Real Estate talk and come off pushy. Also don't just count on social media to get your name out there. Just plant little seeds everywhere you go and then hopefully you'll have a day like I had yesterday where you can reap a little bit of what you sowed.