Sometimes getting out can be dropping pop by items on past client's doors or scheduling a walk on a great trail or boardwalk near both of your Homes. This article has some good ideas on JUST getting out in the market place and appreciating and enjoying your past clients, friends and family.
In this digital age is it really necessary to meet F2F with people in our Sphere of Influence (SOI)? We connect with them by e-mail, texting, phone, IM, and Facebook almost daily. Isn't that enough? Well, no, it isn't. In this digital age, direct face-to-face presence is more important than ever, because it stands out.
Here are the four ways I schedule in personal connections that aside from being enjoyable, often bring new business. In decending order of cost:
Once a quarter, I host a party at my house on a weekend afternoon or early evening. Is it costly? Yes, but it's less expensive that taking 10 people out to dinner over that period and 40-60 usually show up, but 80-100 are invited so the attendees change with each party. They have a good time and sometimes become friends with one another. These folks are close friends and a number are past clients who became friends. They are great sources of referrals for my business. By having a good time, they have positive associations with me and have heard good things about me from others at the parties.
Having a regular place to bring clients to lunch is important. I belong to a local yacht club (no, I don't have a boat, but the fees are reasonable and the food and drinks are not expensive). People enjoy being invited to lunch there because the view of the water is fantastic and they feel special, because they have to be invited by a member. You may not have a private club you can bring people in your SOI to, but you can become a regular at an upscale restaurant where people feel it is a treat. Lunch is much less expensive than dinner, so you can stay within your budget.
There is a wonderful local hangout called Harborview Market, where I can bring my laptop and sit for hours, and the owners won't ask me to leave. It's also located in my market area and showcases the "village-like" charm of my area. This is the place where I meet most of my leads to get to know them, discuss the market, and let them get to know me. It's also where new clients sign the Buyer Agency paperwork before we go to show homes. By seeing me there on a regular basis, meeting with people, it reminds acquaintences in my neighborhood that I'm a busy Realtor.
I try to attend many local events, especially ones where the focus is socializing - garden parties, art shows, charity events, community meetings, etc. The cost of the ticket is minimal in most cases compared to the opportunity to mix and mingle with many people, some of whom are reminded just by seeing you that so and so is thinking of selling their home or looking to move into the area.
Where do I carve out the time from my schedule to do this? I probably spend less time on social media than other agents. I focus on Internet marketing, but I don't hang out for more than a few minutes each day on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, or Twitter. I think social media is important and Internet marketing is critical for selling homes and attracting new clients, but at the end of the day, there is no substitute for face-to-face interactions.
Put your laptop down and begin scheduling time for entertaining and socializing. Make sure you are not just getting together with the same people you know well over and over. Get to know acquaintances better, take the next step towards friendship, and meet new people. This is a people business. People are entrusting their most valuable asset to us and they want to get to know us before they do so or recommend us to others.