In my last month's article, I taught you how to follow up with your Realtors by email and phone so you can get their attention, pique their interest and invite them to a face-to-face meeting. That leads us to the next step in my seven-step formula...
STEP 5 - Conduct a Face-to-Face Meeting
The initial face-to-face meeting with your Realtors is kind of like a "first date." Not in a romantic sense, of course, but it gives you an opportunity to connect, build rapport, feel each other out and determine if you're a good fit to work together. How you conduct yourself during this first meeting can literally make or break your chances of winning them as a referral partner. That's why it's so important to have a clear, concise, effective approach that compels your Realtors to want to work with you. Here's how you do it...
1. Dress for Success.
This probably goes without saying but if you want to attract a top-producer, you've got to look like a top-producer. As you know, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make it count. Show up to your meetings looking like a million bucks -- well groomed and dressed for success!
2. Be Punctual.
Being late can be a major deal killer for a lot of people. Not only does it reflect poorly on you and your respect for their time, it also undermines your credibility. After all, if they can't trust you to be on time to a meeting, why would they put their business in jeopardy by trusting you to close their clients' mortgages on time? Since punctuality is one of those little things that makes a BIG difference, plan on arriving 15 minutes early, just in case you get stuck in traffic or the kids hide the keys behind the couch. You'll never regret the added peace of mind that comes from proper, proactive planning.
3. Do Research in Advance.
Before the meeting, review the Realtor's profile on Facebook and the "About Us" page on their website. A little research can go a long way toward helping you build rapport when you meet. If you find out they're interested in hockey, talk about hockey. If they're interested in kite surfing, talk about kite surfing. If they're passionate about their dogs, talk about their dogs. The point is, do a little research in advance so you can have some easy talking points when you meet.
4. Set the Stage.
Before you start the meeting, it's always a good idea to address the "elephant in the room" by saying something like, "If you're anything like me, the last thing you want to do is volunteer for a sales pitch where the person just shows up and throws up, talking about how great they are and why you need to do business with them. Can you relate to that?
Exactly. Let me reassure you that won't happen with me. My main objective during this initial meeting is to 'lift the hood' on your business so we can identify the biggest holes in your marketing and uncover the hidden opportunities for breakthrough in your business. Then, based on the answers you give me, I can give you a custom-tailored proposal on how I can help you take your business to the next level. Fair enough?"
If you address this objection upfront, you'll be amazed how quickly any pre-existing resistance and tension dissipates. Empathy is very powerful. Not only does this approach address the Realtor's fear about being "sold," it also provides them with clarity as to what they can expect from the meeting. Just the mere fact that you want to learn more about them and their business, instead of flapping your lips talking about how great you are, will come as a great relief and a breath of fresh air.
5. Diagnose First, Prescribe Second.
The primary focus of this first meeting is to simply diagnose the Realtor's business frustrations, pain points and challenges using what I call the "Realtor Needs Assessment." This is a comprehensive questionnaire that allows you to identify the gaps, holes and missing links in the Realtor's business. So, instead of just giving a "data dump" with all the reasons why the Realtor should work with you (which usually bores them to death), your goal is to simply ask questions, listen and take notes.
Just like a good doctor who diagnoses his patient's pain before prescribing a cure, you're going to identify the Realtor's pain points first, before offering solutions. You see, until and unless the Realtor becomes aware of -- and even disturbed by -- the gaps in his or her business, chances are, they won't be very receptive to your recommendations. That's why your first meeting should always be dedicated towards diagnosis (where the Realtor comes to realize they suck, they need help, and you're the person to help them). Once they reach this point, it's only natural to schedule a second meeting, where you can do a "show 'n' tell" and prescribe specific solutions to what ails them.
6. Take Notes
There's an old saying, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." Studies show that we tend to give people more credence, and are more compliant to their wishes, if we believe they truly care about us as individuals. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to show that you care is to ask questions, listen intently (with eye contact, nodding gestures, etc.) and take notes. The act of taking notes shows that you aren't merely interested, but that you care enough to capture it in writing so you can review it again in the future.
7. Strike While the Iron Is Hot
By the end of the initial "discovery meeting," you should have a pretty good sense as to whether or not this is someone you want to work with. A few helpful questions to confirm this: Do you have good rapport? Do they have a positive attitude? Are they an energy-giver or an energy-taker? Are they open to testing new approaches? Do they have enough listings? If they seem to respect and appreciate what you're bringing to the table, then the next logical step is to invite them to a second meeting, ideally within the next week or two (the sooner the better). In other words, strike while the iron is hot. Don't give them too much time for their interest to wane before you provide them with solutions to their biggest challenges.
Perhaps at this point you're wondering how the heck you're supposed to come up with these so-called "solutions." Well, hold your horses, Bessie, we'll get to that shortly. First, we need to get you trained up on how to get your Realtors to actually commit to working with you. In my next article, I'll give you four specific strategies for converting more of your Realtors into loyal, committed referral partners for life. Stay tuned… ¨
Doren Aldana is considered by many to be the nation's leading Mortgage Marketing Coach. Since 2005, he has been dedicated to helping mortgage professionals attract more clients with less effort, regardless of market conditions. For a free online workshop on "How to Turn Your Realtors' Listings into a Flood of Red-Hot Mortgage Leads," visit: www.UltimateRealtorMarketingSystem.com