Smart marketing is all about building strong networks that include prospects, clients, raving fans, referral partners and alliances.
As we all know the most powerful marketing is word of mouth. Receiving a recommendation from a credible source is the strongest marketing assistance you can get.
So how do you go about cultivating this powerful marketing mechanism? Robyn Simpson from Market Smartly explains.
Smart marketing is all about building strong networks that include prospects, clients, raving fans, referral partners and alliances. As we all know the most powerful marketing is word of mouth. Receiving a recommendation from a credible source is the strongest marketing assistance you can get. So how do you go about cultivating this powerful marketing mechanism? Robyn Simpson from Market Smartly explains.
Reputations are fragile things. In order to generate and continue to enjoy the fruits of word of mouth marketing you need to be constantly conscious of your reputation. As a real estate agent, you are an integral part of your brand.
I raise this point because when you are building your network you need to ensure that you are projecting the right image. Perception is reality when it comes to prospects, customers and referrers. How you interact with them at every touch point will determine whether they perceive you as a trustworthy person to do business with. One slip and your reputation can be badly damaged.
The art of networking
Word of mouth marketing starts with building a strong network. Effective networking is an art. To do it well, as a starting point you need to consider the following:
- What are your business objectives and whom do you need to connect with?
- Who knows those people? Where do they frequent? How do they like to be engaged? What are their needs, wants, desires?
- What is your reputation in the market? What can you do to enhance it?
- How can you add value to your network?
- How do you build relationships with various people within the network and what subtle differences are required for each type of contact?
Smart ways to leverage
The strongest networking is done face to face, however that’s not always practical. Face to face networking such as attending functions, events and socialising takes time.
The secret to networking is to keep in touch with your contacts consistently over time. Add value to them and they will reward you in kind.
Once you have met someone, utilise technology to keep in touch. Connect with your contacts online from your mobile or laptop using the online networking and social media tools available.
LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for building your reputation and positioning yourself. It is also very powerful for connecting and engaging with groups of people.
For the Mum’s & Dad’s market and first home buyers, you may find a significant number of them on Facebook.
Blogging is also a great way to keep your connections up to date and establish your credibility and a dialogue. The trick with blogging is to get your connections to frequent the blog. Integrating the media’s that I have talked about above can do this.
However, a word of warning… before embarking on any of these medias, I highly recommend you learn to use them strategically first. Otherwise they can waste a lot of time and resources for no measurable return, and our philosophy is ‘Don’t spend a dollar or an hour on marketing unless it gives you more than a dollar in return.’
Coming back to the reputation side of networking, how you present yourself, no matter whether it is face to face, or via an electronic media, you are always branding and projecting an image. Here are a few tips I can recommend to ensure you present yourself positively:
- Look for the long-term benefit. Never push yourself on someone. Make sure there is a genuine mutual connection before inviting someone into your network.
- You will receive the most valuable information by asking questions and listening. Then you can add value easily. Networking is a mutual exchange. It’s not about how much you can sell yourself.
- Never judge a book by its cover (although you will be judged by yours). You never know who knows whom. The best contact you get could be a friend of the person you are networking with. If they don’t warm to you, you may never be connected with that perfect prospect.
- Be genuine. Everyone can sense falseness and it’s the quickest way to damage your reputation.
- Your network is like gold. Respect everyone in it by being conscious of whom you choose to include. It’s about quality not quantity.
- Invite or ask permission to keep in touch.
- Nurture and keep your communications relevant.
My parting words… learn how to network well and you will enjoy the rewards of organic word of mouth marketing. It takes time, it costs very little and the benefits are priceless!