June 5th, 2017
Behind every successful mortgage broker is a strong client networking strategy. And whilst you may think that in the digital era, you should only be focusing on developing your online networking via social media, there really is nothing quite like meeting people face-to-face to instantly create new business opportunities and grow your client base quickly.
Networking is essentially a people-skill, and if you’re an expert in finance, the home loan numbers, the product policies… that’s not necessarily your forte! So, what does it take to develop great networking skills and a strong face-to-face networking strategy as a mortgage broker? Here’s a few do’s and don’ts to get you up to speed.
Do act as a connector!
Networking, quite simply, is being helpful. The secret to success is to be unselfish and to focus on the needs of new person you are meeting, rather than trying to sell your services or a home loan on the spot. People will engage with you better if you take a genuine interest in them and offer your support. If you want the person to connect you to other people, you should think about who you know that can help with their situation and facilitate a connection for them. For example, if you learn that the person you are speaking with is moving, can you connect them to a great cleaner? Or perhaps their situation has changed and they need to rent out their property, do you know a great property manager you can connect them with?
Being a connector of others leads to mutually beneficial relationships that provide business opportunities over the long run. You’ll be seen as someone helpful and influential, which will also get you more invitations to events and create more networking opportunities.
Don’t put limits on your networking opportunities.
Some people subconsciously create boundaries when it comes to potential networking opportunities. They qualify networking as a business activity and fail to see other situations outside of business hours as the excellent networking opportunities they could prove to be.
In reality, every person you meet is a networking opportunity. It doesn’t matter if you meet them at a business function, at the gym or in the line at the supermarket check-out. No matter who you’re having a conversation with and where you meet them, it’s always an opportunity to engage and connect with a possible new client.
It’s all about getting yourself known and making a favorable first impression. Have your business card ready at all times so you can take advantage of opportunities as they arise, but be careful not to come across as one of those pushy sales types, particularly if the meeting occurs in a social or casual setting. It’s enough to get the person to like you, and know roughly what you do, so they keep your business card when you hand it over.
Do practice your elevator pitch.
What’s an elevator pitch? It’s a short, persuasive speech used to grab interest for your business and professional services. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride, hence the name. If someone says “What do you do?” the right elevator pitch could turn them into a client/salesperson for your business in under thirty seconds.
Networking can be a bit like speed dating and you may only have a very small window of opportunity to make a lasting impression, so it pays to think carefully about what you are going to say. The trick to a good elevator pitch is to make it sound like a completely natural part of the conversation rather than a sales pitch, so do practice and try out different versions to see what works for you.
Why not test it on your nearest and dearest and see what they think? Remember, it’s not a sales push, it’s who you are, what you do and how you can help that particular person you are talking to!
Don’t forget about online opportunities.
These days, your clients are online. They are going onto the internet and conducting their own property and home loan research, so you need to focus on your social media connections as well.
Connect your face-to-face networking activities to your social media networking activities by asking each person you meet to follow you on social media. Meeting prospective clients face-to-face first will help to make your online connections stronger and more effective. You can motivate people to follow and like you on social media by creating relevant content and posting it prior to your networking event. You can then use the content as a conversation starter that grabs interest and proves you can provide value. We have a whole host of information about building your social media connections, check out the how to here.
Do leverage special events.
Keep an eye out for special events, or industry-specific events, that can help you connect with potential clients, or make useful contacts who can help you connect with more people.
Special events and trade shows frequented by home-buyers are very effective, particularly if you can afford to take a booth and appear as an exhibitor. But if not, just go along to the event and talk to as many people as you can.
Other special events to consider attending are industry and professional membership events and other open forums. You may not meet potential clients at these events, but you should meet a potential referral partner or two! This can be anything from ToastMasters, a local business community group, business functions from your old high school, you name it!
And don’t forget about the special events on your social calendar too. Weddings are a great place to meet potential first home buyers, Christenings could provide access to growing families looking for a larger home and even the humble backyard BBQ could give you access to a host of potential property investors! As we said earlier, this is not a sales push, it’s simply about people knowing who you are, what you do and liking you!
Do consider running seminars or your own events.
Seminars are a networking event that have the added advantage of creating an opportunity for you to present yourself as a professional and an expert in your field.
“Property investment tips for first time investors”, “Rentvestors and how to make it work”, “Buying your next family home”. There are so many things that you are experts in, and that you can help educate people on, without having to do the same old things that many mortgage brokers have done before you. It’s important to focus on providing value for your audience and keeping the information relevant to both their needs and your business. You can speak on a range of topics to different audiences to network with a broader range of people, but always focus on strengthening your brand and reputation.
Whilst running your own events has many benefits: the audience is there just to listen to you and aren’t distracted, and they are probably looking to act in the next little while, running your own event does have added costs, and you need to consider how you are going to market these events and ensure people come along!
Don’t forget to allow time for networking.
Time is in short supply for mortgage brokers, so if you don’t plan your networking activities ahead of time and schedule your activities in your diary, your network will disappear!
Networking takes focus, but it shouldn’t feel too much like hard work. Don’t forget to allow time for your networking activities and enjoy every opportunity you get to meet a new contact and make a new client.
Want to find out more about the networking opportunities provided by Connective? Just get in touch and we’ll make a time for you to chat with our Sales Manager. If you’re already a member and you’d like to find out more, access our events calendar via Mercury or get in touch with your local Broker Support Manager today.