By Jo Falkner, Marketing Specialist at Realty Partners, LLC
There have been plenty of us out there that have followed the same old marketing plans in real estate. Consider the model of marketing that consists of older – and sometimes ineffective – methods where you just might be throwing away money. Much like any city, there are many routes to the same place. It depends on where you start and how you get there. MeetUp is just one, yet imperative, avenue to take. It’s been around for a while, but for those of you that don’t know, MeetUp is a website dedicated to connecting people around a particular interest or multiple interests. It’s an excellent resource for getting to know others in your city. It can be anything from canoeing to marketing to philosophical discussion. This is the one resource to use if you want to meet people in your community and an amazing networking tool as well.
But how can you use MeetUp to your real estate advantage? In fact, why is this even important to my overall strategy? Isn’t digital marketing THE way to go nowadays?
You can’t depend solely on the digital marketing platform to do all the work for you. At least not in this business. You’re helping someone make one of the single most valuable decisions in their life. I heard an anecdote recently about an agent selling a property entirely electronically. This agent never met the buyer in person and performed all the necessary transactions through his computer, and the buyer was not across the ocean or in some far-off land known as Michigan. Another agent remarked, “You just missed out on a referral, you fool!” That’s the thing this agent missed: a personal touch… something human that isn’t so one-dimensional. In real estate, that personal connection can make all the difference. That can get you the referral and the next one after that. Not to mention with all the talk about being hyperlocal and niche markets in today’s real estate climate, this agent truly missed out on getting some significant insider knowledge not only about the buyer but also that neighborhood. They could have used that to market themselves better. #MarketingFail
This is where MeetUp can give you that edge over those that refuse to get out from behind their computer and away from paying for leads. Here’s how to make the most of it.
- Be Prepared
This honestly depends on which group you will be joining for the day, evening, weekend, etc. Have some cards handy. There is no need to bring a fat stack unless you plan on going to a networking MeetUp where that is the goal is to gather as many cards as possible. Also, practice your elevator speech. Don’t know what that is? It’s about a 10-second speech where you spell out as succinctly as possible what you do. Here are some samples that can make you truly stand out:
- I connect people to communities. I help them settle into places that might be unfamiliar to them and acclimate to becoming a new local.
- I help businesses find a space that serves their individual needs while maximizing their bottom line to ensure cost efficiency.
- Aim to meet those prominent members in your community and spark a genuine conversation
Nobody likes being treated like they are just part of the herd and not an actual person. At another MeetUp networking event, this
happened to me a few times where someone would only ask my name, what I did, and then throw a card at me about their business, then move on. You’re there to meet people in the community and understand what the people know. Ask some questions and get some answers.
Sure, if someone needs a REALTOR®, then you’re there with your prepared elevator speech. But don’t go around looking desperate and throwing your card at people. They won’t appreciate it, and someone may write a blog post about it in the future about what not to do at these MeetUps.
- Attend only groups that are relevant to you and your interests
I only attend small business/marketing meetups and Spanish language meetups not only because that’s what my
time will allow but also because those interest me. If I were to attend some MeetUp about a book that I have little interest in, not only is everyone going to see right through it, but people will not remember me fondly and most certainly won’t come to me when they want to sell. You attend MeetUps not only to meet others to help with their problems. People will remember if you help them, not if you have a great pitch unless you’re on “Shark Tank”.
Likely, they know something you don’t and vice versa. Connect with these people and schedule coffee dates to have enlightening discussions where you know you two have a shared common interest. I’ve already connected with two others who have given me help on some things, and I am quite grateful to them for that. And if nothing else, you have another connection that could lead to a seller/buyer in the future.
Key Takeaway: MeetUp is an invaluable resource for networking. Use it!
Did I miss anything? Questions, comments, concerns, insults? Comment below and share with your real estate friends to get a group to go to the next MeetUp in your city!