Getting your name out as a realtor can be expensive. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on print marketing hoping for a single phone call. I’m not saying that kind of marketing is useless, but it is certainly not the best bang for your buck. My advice? Take friends and clients to coffee.
IT DEEPENS EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS
If you want business relationships that last, you must find a way to have the other person join your story. Taking the time to meet face-to-face with someone facilitates this "story joining." Selling someone a home will leave a good impression, but making them laugh or talking about your family creates an atmosphere wherein working with you, or sending referrals, is second nature.
IT CREATES NEW RELATIONSHIPS
Meeting in public leverages your coffee meeting past the person sitting across the table. If you regularly go to the same coffee shop (or have a top 3 you attend) you will begin to see the same people. Get to know the baristas, say hello to the regulars, buy the person behind you's coffee. Think Norm on Cheers.
KEEP IT SHORT
You want to leverage your time well, so set the meeting to 30 minutes. I've found that a coffee meeting with no constraints quickly turns into a 2 hour ordeal. While that is fun, it isn't how a productive agent works. During the 30 minutes, DO NOT bring up real estate. Talk about and invest in the person you are with. Trust me, they will turn it around and ask you about real estate. Also, remember that you invited them so buy their coffee. It's a simple thing, but a seller once told me that his previous agent didn't buy his coffee in a meeting and it set the stage for an unprofessional relationship and he ended up firing the agent. I should send a "Thank You" note to that agent because I ended up making a ton of money from that deal.
PORTRAY A PROFESSIONAL ATMOSPHERE
Bring an iPad or a briefcase and set it on the table. Remember that part of this meeting is about creating relationships with the people around you. Portraying a professional meeting, even if just catching up with a friend, will subliminally imprint you as a "busy, successful real estate agent" to the people you regularly see at the coffee shop.
I STARTED THIS METHOD AFTER LOSING BUSINESS
When I first got into real estate no one knew what I did and I had no money to promote myself. At one point an old friend of mine bought a house using another agent simply because she “didn’t know I was a realtor and it was too late to switch agents.” It was at that point that I realized I needed a cost-effective way to get my name out. I made coffee appointments for every single day (often times twice a day) with friends and simply started conversations. I haven’t gotten the “old friend” phone call since. I’ll be honest, I’m so busy now that I can’t continue this regime of coffee meetings; but isn’t that the end goal?