Article: Networking Follow-Up

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Follow-Up 101: Making the Most of your Networking
Last week we talked about effective networking,  and how it can and should be a part of your routine as an agent. This week, we want to help you most effectively follow up on the contacts and leads you make while networking – after all, marketing yourself doesn’t do any good if you don’t take advantage of the exposure it generates.

Triage the Leads
As Realtor Magazine astutely puts it, is as much a disqualification process as a booking process. You should be able to discern from conversations, or a quick follow-up call, whether or not a lead belongs on your priority list.

We suggest categorizing your leads A/B/C/D, with A being people you’ve had direct contact with who are likely to list or buy, B being first-hand recommendations of interested parties who you have not yet met with, C being leads that seem credible but who you don’t know much about, and D being everyone else. Shuffle your leads between categories as they rise or fall based on your conversations.Don’t be Afraid of “No”

In the lead structure above, don’t be afraid to drop those “D” categories out of your files altogether when they give you a firm no. As the Realtor Magazine article says, a “no” is as good as a “yes” in some instances because you don’t have to waste your valuable time trying to convert a “maybe.” Also, if you show you’re willing to take no for an answer, the lead may actually start talking to you because they don’t feel that “salesman pressure” that so many people fear.
From the article: LINK:
“They believe that all salespeople will use verbal judo to pin them to the mat. The best approach is to let the prospect know up front that it’s okay if they say “no.” You won’t be offended if that’s their answer. Your scripts must be designed to give them the ability to say “no” early in your conversation. This lowers resistance, enhances trust, and builds a bridge that enables them to convey their true objectives and goals.”

(And now “verbal judo” is in your lexicon. You’re welcome.)Get Organized

You can have the most sophisticated system in the world, but if it’s all in your head, eventually something is going to slip through the cracks. Invest in some sort of client relationship management (CRM) software… if you’ve been to a convention, ever, you know where to look. Not all solutions have to be expensive and, if you already work for a brokerage group, you probably have access to it already. If you’re not using it to the fullest of its capabilities, get trained on it and start using it.
If you’re looking for your own solution, this roundup of the best iPhone CRM apps is helpful.Always Be Booking
Once you’re organized, the next step is to get in front of these prospects and get them on board. This should be your signature mission with a follow-up phone call. Realtor Magazine puts it best: LINK:
“Always focus on asking for the appointment. Always! As with asking for a date, what’s the worst thing they can say? “No.” Your office is the best place for the meeting, but if it can’t happen there for any reason, set it up at a neutral, public site such as Starbucks. Not everyone agrees with me on this point, but I believe I will have more control at my real estate office or a neutral site than I will at their home or at the property they’re interested in.”

Carve out time in your weekly routine just for meetings; perhaps a chunk of every day. This will allow you to book a meeting last-minute if necessary. There’s nothing more frustrating than finding a motivated client that you can’t meet with for a week.Back Up the Bravado

Once a client is booked, it’s time to really go to work. Obviously, your performance should exceed their expectations, which means executing their sale, purchase or both flawlessly, and with their best interests in mind. (This is another reason to invest in effective CRM – it will help you organize your schedule, closing dates, inspection deadlines and all the moving parts that go into reaching a closing date.)

Satisfied clients are the best advertising, and over time can replace the persistent networking you will need to do early in your career. But until then… get out there! And make sure you have a plan in place for when it pays off (and it will).