You’ve finally committed to an event plan. Ranging from big happy hours and charity galas to intimate wine tastings and sporting events, you’ve got them on your calendar—ideally two per month—and you are confident that they’ll boost your business dramatically over the next year.
Now it’s time for the next step: how are you going to get your partners (and potential partners) to these events?
At the Mastermind Summit, Steven Marshall not only outlined various types of events and how these events will bring in extra business, but he also laid out the plan for marketing these events, which should take place on a regular basis, ideally every couple of weeks.
Having a plan prevents you from getting overwhelmed with marketing your events. You want to have a mix of dedicated partners and those who you’d like to work with more closely in the future. Some events are large, where you can invite upwards of 50 partners and potential partners, and others are more intimate, where you’re inviting only a select few people.
This plan is the same regardless of event size. For each event, invitees will receive:
- Three emails
- Three voice broadcasts
- One handwritten note
- An assistant/dialer call
- One text message
Even though the plan is the same, it may cause you to overmarket a smaller event. That’s okay, Marshall says. If 30 people take you up on your offer to a baseball game, for example, then you’ll know to get more tickets to the next baseball event. There’s also the exclusivity factor, so if you have to turn away people who want to attend, they’ll know that others are filling those slots.
One way to help organize the invitations is to create an A list, a B list, and a C list. The A list consists of people who already know and love you; the B list consists of people who occasionally refer you; and the C list consists of people with whom you’d like to forge a relationship, where you’re simply aiming to get your foot into the door of their business.
The most important things to include in the messaging are the logistics, such as the type of event and the date and time, and that you are personally inviting them to the event as your guest, no strings attached or other requirements on their part. From there, you can delve a bit more into other benefits of the events, such as networking opportunities with other top agents. Don’t be afraid to name drop once people have confirmed, and another hook is to encourage invitees to invite other agents in their offices.
Marshall says to check compliance regulations and to be cautious when messaging anyone who isn’t already a regular business partner, particularly when it comes to text messaging. If you don’t have an already established relationship, it might be considered spamming.
How technology can help
If you’re tackling it in addition to full-time mortgage origination, then you’re going to need some help. One of these helpers is ringless voicemail messaging, and Marshall noted two programs, Drop Cowboy and Sly Broadcast, that make individual calling a thing of the past.
With a ringless voicemail (which works exactly as it sounds—sending a message that goes straight to someone’s voicemail), you can send hundreds of messages without any of the recipients knowing that you weren’t calling them personally. Even though originators know this technology exists, Marshall says few use it for business-building purposes. He advises leaving three of these ringless voice messages:
“Hey, it’s Jane Doe with ABC Home Loans. I’m calling to personally invite you to the American Cancer Society’s event on [date and time]. I have an extra ticket reserved for you, hopefully you can make it. [Other agent names] are also attending; this will be a great way to network with other top agents and high net worth home owners. Please let me know if you can make it.”
The second message:
“Hey, it’s Jane Doe with ABC Home Loans. I’m just following up to see if you want to attend the American Cancer Society event on [date and time]. If you want to invite a couple of other top agents from your office to join [other top agent names], we can get tickets for them as well. Please let me know if you can make it.”
The last message:
“Hey, it’s Jane Doe with ABC Home Loans. I just want to touch base one more time to see if you’d like my last ticket to the American Cancer Society event on [date and time]. I understand if it may not work for your schedule; if not, maybe I could buy you a cup of coffee some other time next week to see how I can help you reach your real estate goals. Please let me know what works best for you.”
That, he says, is carpet bombing marketing.
“This is how you build your brand with a thousand agents instantly. Quick math here: 1000 voice mails, three messages per event, two events a month, that’s 72,000 personal messages a year to the top agents in your marketplace. Pretty powerful,” Marshall said.
Emails can have virtually the same messaging; the point is to make it feel as if it’s a one-to-one email, and not a mass email (even though it is). Sometimes it’s appropriate to send the same email to everyone, and sometimes you might want to have a bit of a different script with each group. After all, the A group is probably going to need less convincing to come to an event, but you still need them there to sing your praises to anyone invited from the B and C lists.
Whether you get 20 acceptances, 20 rejections, or somewhere in between, that’s okay. If an agent can’t make your event, Marshall says, skip straight to the follow up messaging:
“I understand that you can’t make it to the event—sorry to miss you! Still, I’d love to take you to a cup of coffee next week and find out how I can help you generate more business, or how I can help you be you more successful.’’
Similar messaging can be used after the event for those who did attend, to follow up on a conversation from the event and bring it all back to business. You can also use that momentum to continue to engage people for the next event.
If you haven’t thought about hiring an assistant or someone who’s solely dedicated to managing your calendar and filling it up with appointments and events, it’s worth considering, especially as the events are ongoing, and the follow up is incredibly important to get that one-on-one time with partners. Whether you create a full-time in-house position or hire someone to manage event-related communications remotely, their job is to become an extension of you, creating a buzz about your events and then touching base after the event and setting up a time for you and the agents to discuss further marketing and/or prospecting ideas.
It’s easy to create just an event-related email address that your assistant can manage. They can work from a few different scripts either on the phone or via email, but they can also send any deeper questions or time-sensitive queries—even leads—straight to you.
For some originators, events along can bring in all the extra business they can handle. Once your event series gets up and running, it will be easier to keep it running like a well-oiled machine, using an assistant and technology to keep things on track.