It may take some work on your part, but targeting specific events to attend in order to garner more leads is well worth the effort and time. A marketing strategy that incorporates event networking will put you directly in front of the very people you hope to bring in as clients and that you enjoy working with.
So what kind of events should you specifically attend? If you figure out your particular real estate branding and subsequently understand the real estate clients you would most like to find, you can more easily figure out the type of events that have that target market you are after. So, the first step is determining who you’d like to target. Do you love working with millennials? Luxury sellers and buyers? A specific profession? Your neighbors and friends?
Next, figure out within your target groups how likely they will be to sell or buy a home. For millennials, for example, targeting a networking group where the potential clients make above-average income and have been in the job market a little longer will yield better results than one that caters to brand new professionals. Basically, you want to qualify your home buying and selling clients before you decide to attend an event where they are.
Now that you know who to target and determined the most likely opportunity for clients within that group, where do you go? Networking groups are the easiest events. Happy hours are even better. You, of course, don’t want to appear as the creepy real estate agent who is trying to sell or gain clients aggressively.
Find ones where you know you will be most welcome and where it will be most natural for you to make connections. Alumni groups for universities, especially for your alma mater, are a great place to network. People from all different industries and fields will be in attendance, and your chance for coming off naturally as an attendee is greater because you are already tied to that network. Same goes for neighborhood events. HOA meetings, social events or even neighborhood watch groups are key in aligning yourself to your neighbors and slowly letting them get to know you and what you do. Attending events where you have a natural connection establishes your credibility and builds trust much more organically than just crashing a meeting and trying to push yourself on others.
The groups mentioned above where you have a natural connection is easy, however, events where you are not naturally a member will take some thought on your part. Contact the membership leader or president of the group well ahead of time to determine opportunities for speakers, panels or even if you would be able to attend. Be transparent about your purpose (i.e. sharing your services with their members), but always remember to have a relevant value proposition. For young professional groups, for example, let the contact know that you have some great advice for buying their first homes and (shameless plug) that you specialize in this and can help walk them through the process so they don’t fail or get duped.
Once you get to the event, be sure to wear your name badge and have business cards ready. Let the introductions and the offering of your services flow naturally from the conversation instead of making that your first objective. These type of events will always give you an opportunity to say what you do, so you don’t have to worry that you won’t get to plug in your real estate services.
Above all, just have fun and remember that real estate is all about building trust and relationships. It will take some time to penetrate certain groups, work the events and convert those you meet into future clients, but that’s the only way that you will be able to make person-to-person contact work for you and to eventually grow your business in your particular niche of real estate.