As a broker, you’re well aware that you need to spend A LOT of time cold calling in order to build up your prospecting list. While some phone time is unavoidable, cold calling is NOT the only way to network and grow your client list.
Instead of sticking to the status quo, why not get creative and try these nine networking hacks for growing your client list?
1. Be a coffee shop hero.
The key to networking is to put yourself in the shoes of your target client and ask yourself, “Where would I spend my time?” Since most entrepreneurs visit coffee shops daily for meetings, breaks and fuel, why not post up at your favorite neighborhood brew house and arrange with the cashier to buy customers’ coffee for the day?
When customers go to thank the good samaritan who bought their drink, you can introduce yourself and explain that you’re helping businesses in the area find great office space and hand them your card. They will be impressed by your ingenuity, and at the very least, appreciate the free coffee!
2. Infiltrate a coworking space.
Coworking spaces can be treasure troves of potential new clients. They attract young, hungry startups on the path to hockey stick growth. Meeting these entrepreneurs early is the key to winning them over. Consider getting a spot in a coworking space as a member. This will allow you to truly put yourself in the shoes of your prospects as you make natural connections in the kitchen, at events or over coffee. Plus, you’ll benefit from changing up your work environment.
3. Don’t be afraid to advertise.
You don’t need to hire a marketing agency to start advertising. In fact, you might be surprised at how easy (and inexpensive!) it is to launch your own targeted ad campaign using Facebook, Twitter or Google AdWords.
To start, we’d recommend creating some basic ads using a free design tool such as Canva, then experiment with Facebook ads to learn what does and does not work. The system allows you to be incredibly targeted — you can even upload your prospect email list and begin running ads directly to those individuals. And if you’re looking to gain new prospects, you can create a target audience based on interests such as “startups,” “coworking,” “entrepreneurship” etc.
4. Host an event or meetup.
Adding value to the community is a powerful way to make new contacts. Again, put yourself in the shoes of your desired clients. What type of event or content might they be interested in? Perhaps consider partnering with an entrepreneur coach or marketing expert and hosting a workshop or meetup. Or, you can volunteer to speak at an event. Be sure to collect emails at the gathering to add to your prospecting list. When you reach out, you’ll already have added value to the relationship and will be starting on the right foot.
5. Get social.
Social media is one of the cheapest and fastest ways to start making connections. The catch? Everyone is doing it so you’ll need to get extra creative. Try creating a networking group on LinkedIn or Facebook targeting your ideal client. From there, you’ll need to get the conversation going before you start reaching out one on one.
6. Tell the world.
Everyone and their hairdresser should know you’re on the hunt for new clients. Tell friends, family, professional contacts, ANYONE about your goals—you never know who might know someone looking for space. In business, we are always more likely to trust someone with whom we share a connection, so be sure to leverage your personal network as well as your professional network.
7. Drop off some goodies.
It’s winter time and in many cities, that means our afternoon coffee walk just isn’t going to happen—it’s too cold! Why not show your potential clients some love and bring the coffee to them? Bonus points if you throw in a sweet treat as well. If you can, try to deliver your goodies in person, rather than relying on the delivery guy. This will give you an extra shot at some facetime.
8. Create content.
It’s never too early to become an expert in your field. Creating content for your own blog, or guest posting on other thought leaders’ blogs, is a great way to build credibility and get your name out there. Once you’ve created some quality content, you can begin to leverage it in various ways. For example, rather than simply emailing a prospect and asking if they need space, you can create a nurture campaign and send them some of your most informative blog posts. That way, when you do ask if they need your help, you’ve already proven your knowledge and added value to the relationship.
9. Keep in touch at the right times by leveraging a CRM.
Once you’ve gone to the trouble of networking and growing your contact list, it is crucial to connect with these people at the appropriate times with the appropriate information. CRM software is the best tool for this task. You can set reminders, pull reports, and keep your contacts and properties organized.