Branding, Business Development, Careers, Facebook, Networking, Real Estate, Realtor, Remarkable Service, social impressions

Networking at its Best: Use the “Power of Two”

JwithTamski1

The author (R) introducing herself to Tamara Suminski (L), the event chair at a fantastic CAR-YPN “Evolve” conference.

Whether you are a “natural networker” or a bit on the introverted side, if you are like me, whenever you attend a business or community event, two questions pop into your mind:

1. Who are the most important people to meet that night?
2. How do I “work the room” for networking success?

Sales and marketing have been my career my whole life, so I can offer a time-tested approach that works to everyone’s advantage with none of the obnoxiousness or helplessness we have all encountered!

Since we can’t possibly meet everyone in a large public gathering, I follow “The Power of Two” and it flows naturally whether the event is large or small, whether planned as a formal dinner setting, or just to mingle over cocktails or stroll trade show booths.

Here it is:  

The two most important people of the night are …
The person on your left, and the person on your right.

Here are some ways that will work to your advantage:

1. When standing in line to enter an event, introduce yourself to the person on your left, and then introduce that person to the person on your right.  You’ll find common ground more quickly, I promise!

2. When standing in line at the bar, introduce yourself to the person on your left, and then introduce that person to the person on your right.  Chatting your way to the front of the line is easy.  Just ask what everyone’s favorite drink is, and you’re on your way!

3. When seated at a dinner table of eight or ten, spend the meal getting to know the person on your left and the person on your right. You will have time to learn in detail about their business, who they are personally, and what connections you might have together. For me, time and again, these two people have proven to be the most valuable connections of the night.

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Two more tips:

4. When you approach a trade show booth, be a good listener, and if you know the booth business, give a “testimonial” to another person that may be standing beside you (again, on your left or on your right!) Then, thank the person behind the booth for being there, and ask them who their “most important type of potential customers are.” That is how I met one of The Geeky Girls, above!

5. Collecting business cards is more important than passing yours out. Two questions to ask the person on your left or right as you look over their card: “How’s business for you?” and if they say they are struggling, ask “How can I help?”

Bonus question:  Ask about ways others use Social Media in their business and you might find yourselves sharing ideas together and bonding over your social success!  Below is a picture of the day I asked Carol Farrar (who was then purely a Facebook friend) to have lunch together when I saw her in person for the first time at Agent Reboot in Irvine, CA. We have since become good friends in real life!

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There you are… Networking anxiety and a frantic sense of “must do the whole room” can be avoided with the “Power of Two.”  Tell me your best tips below, or comment where these ideas resonate most for you.

Branding, Facebook, Facebook lists, House Logic, Real Estate, Remarkable Service, social impressions

Engaging Past Clients: Social Strategy and 25 Content Ideas to Clarify Your Focus

My husband I bought a house earlier this year. How did we pick our REALTOR? I’ll tell you more in a moment, but I was one of those “revered” past clients you love to have come back, years later.

Now that you’re thinking about the special reward of hearing from a past client ready to buy or sell (or both!) once again, think about how many families you have helped in your career.  Have you talked to each of them this past month? Do you have a completely current past client database including phone, email, employment, spouse, children, pets, hobbies, vacations, and notes about past conversations? Sound like a lot of work?

This is EXACTLY what Facebook lists can accomplish for you. You are going to love this! I recommend if you haven’t done so, use Facebook Search to see if ALL your past clients are on Facebook, and add them to a list. (Call it Past Clients.)  Let them hear from you frequently. Weekly is excellent! Treat them like a community. Engage. Share. Be their expert about their neighborhood, about timely home safety and maintenance, and share the victories that set the tone for a successful closing for each of them.  Every client is a success story, so tell the story (omit private or personal details of course), but give them some “fan love” and be sure to tag them.  Keep up with their FB details and engage with them on their page too.

Believe it or not, Marc Prestera, the REALTOR who sold my home eight years ago, has been in regular contact with me, when I left California for the Pacific Northwest. He called me regularly, every month or so, keeping up on my life, and sharing what was new in his business, as well as the shared interest (a volunteer organization) where I met him in the beginning.

I never intended to move back to San Diego when I left, but life has a funny way of coming full circle. Since I had a great selling experience and a regular easy rapport with Marc, it was the most natural decision to once again ask him to be the real estate expert that he is, for my newest home.

If you like the sound of that, here are some ideas to keep engaged with past clients over time.  These work as Facebook posts or Twitter tweets.  (NOTE: you are FORBIDDEN to ask them who else they know that might like to buy or sell a house.)

1. What is your favorite Thanksgiving (Christmas, New Years) memory in your home?

2. Who has a unique holiday family tradition?

3. What do your kids enjoy most about your home?

4. What was the first room you decorated when you moved in?

5. What home improvements are you enjoying?

6. Have you become a fan of @HouseLogic?  Did you know Houselogic.com has a lifetime homeowner binder to record maintenance, upgrades, and seasonal care?

7.  What’s your home’s best feature?

8. What’s your favorite spot in your neighborhood?

9. What surprised you the most (in a good way) after moving in to your new home?

10. What do you like most about Halloween?

11. Post a pic and tell us about your family pet.

12. What is your favorite Costco item, and why?

13. What is your favorite Trader Joes item, and why?

14. Who was your first (or most recent, or longest-known) Facebook friend.  What makes them special to you?

15. Have your kids earned any special awards lately?

16. Who was your childhood hero? Why?

17. What do your kids want to be when they grow up?

18. Do you dream about starting a business someday?

19. Who has a teen that wants odd jobs? Who needs help on a weekend project?

20. What is your favorite worthy charitable organization, and how can people volunteer?

21. What famous people have you met in person?

22. Is there anything you are wondering about that I can direct you to, or information I can track down for you?

23. What advice would you give to home buyers today, based on your personal experience?

24. What advice would you give home sellers today, based on your personal experience?

25. Did you know I have a client reference tab right here on my FB page? Would you care to comment there?

With all the focus on converting new Facebook fans into clients, I recommend you make the effort to engage clients for the long-term, and a lifetime of many happy “returns.”

Comment below and share engagement questions that you can add to the list I’ve started here. And remember the childhood rhyme: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”

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Branding, Real Estate, Remarkable Service, social impressions

Can you pass the “Concierge” test?


“Mouth watering chocolate chip cookies! 
~ My pleasure! “

Cookies!

Recently I was traveling, and I was staying at a familiar business-class hotel. Each afternoon, the hotel baker brought a large, irresistible tray of freshly baked cookies like these to the concierge desk.

When I returned to the lobby at the end of my workday, I walked up and selected a cookie. As I did, I made the comment that I had been looking forward to this special treat all day.  What happened next really surprised me. 

The concierge just glanced up, gave me a cursory nod and a brisk “no problem,” and then his eyes reverted back to his computer screen. 

Whoa!!

All that effort by the company into baking fresh cookies, and the goodwill was gone in an instant. This concierge was unconscious, and THAT was a problem. 

Are you unconscious in your communication with clients? 

I would like to propose an alternate ending to this story.  The concierge glances up, hears my comment, smiles and says, “My pleasure. Enjoy!”

I am on a personal mission to wipe out the phrase ‘no problem’ from the service industry. 

Everyone can try this: Look in the mirror and say “problem.”
Now, look in the mirror and say “pleasure.”
Which one makes you smile?

If there is no problem, don’t bring one up.

Just smile, and be sure to say, “My pleasure!”

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(If you like this post, share widely.  Thank  you!)