It’s almost five o’clock and you signed up to go to a networking event that starts at six. What you really want to do is to go home, eat and go to sleep or take care of the millions of things elsewhere.
You promised yourself you’d grow your business. It’s been stagnant for a while and it’s time to get more customers. You’re normally disappointed because you may get one customer, if you’re lucky. Time is running out. So, what are you looking for? Who should you meet?
Typically, my goal is to get at least 10 business cards consisting of one of these two categories: prospects and strategic alliances. As a real estate agent, I am happy to collect ALL cards to build my database and reach out to the rest of the people in the future.
Identifying prospects are the easiest. Prospects are your target client. Pay attention to these three traits when spotting a prospect.
A Prospect is the Decision Maker
The decision maker is the one who will make the FINAL decision on whether or not the company or person will use the product. As an example, in the real estate industry, you would need both the husband and the wife for any final decisions.
Companies will often send a representative to network at an event. With a few simple questions, you’ll be able to determine whether the person is a decision maker.
- Who else is involved in this process?
- Who will be using the product?
- Which evaluation criteria are the other stakeholders using?
If any of the answers imply that another person is involved, you need a referral and this is not a prospect, but a lead.
A Prospect Needs What Your Selling
Not everyone needs what your selling, even if you want them to. Most people in their life will need a real estate agent. That said, if they aren’t needing a property within the next year, they are not a prospect for me.
A Prospect Can Afford It
As much as you want everyone to purchase your product, not everyone will be able to. You should have qualifying questions in order to determine whether or not the person in front o fyou can afford it.
So what happens when you find a prospect?
Schedule a meeting! Try to schedule one that night (without being too aggressive) or give them a call the next day.
Strategic Alliances are your partners. They are the network of people who will give you access and referrals to your prospects.
The traits of a strategic alliance is as follows:
- They are in a position to send your referrals. They know who you WANT to know.
- They “get it”. They know how networking really works and are willing to send you a referral because they know you will as well.
There are three types of strategic alliances:
They work in a different industry and have the same client. As a realtor, my complements are title, mortgage and homeowner insurance companies.
These alliances will have the same type of client yet in a different business. As a realtor, this would be financial planners and general insurance agents. People who could afford a home and likely are looking to protect their assets in the long term.
Yep, you read that right, your competitor can be a very good strategic alliance. Although in real estate, realtors are willing to take every client they come across, in other industries, your niche may not include a prospect. As an example, if you mainly deal with estate planning in law, you would not deal with a litigation client.
Schedule a meeting! These meetings are typically scheduled in a follow up phone call. Follow up within 3 business days. Bring your Top Ten List.
Any questions? Drop a note or an email.