The room was pregnant with anticipation. The animation amongst this group of successful real estate agents was palpable. A question had been tossed on the docket by the speaker.
It hung suspended in the air... provoking a response. "So, how many names do each of you have in your database?" For a group of over-achievers, this was like throwing bloody red meat to a hound dog.
One gentleman raised up his hand and confessed to 2,500 entries. There was an audible gasp. The bar was raised high...a challenge to conquer. Another individual threw out an even larger number. I was out of my league and knew it. My list of 300 was certainly not going to be newsworthy in this crowd.
What happened next took me by surprise. The speaker proceeded to place Mr. 2,500 Leads on center stage. The spontaneous interview began with a question about WHO those 2,000+ individuals were? Were they people who received bulk mailings? How did they come to be a part of the database? Had they ever been asked IF they wanted to be a part of the database? As the questioning continued, it exposed the underlying fallacy which had infected virtually all of us. We were simply collecting names...not building strong underlying relationships.
His next statement rocked my world...which admittedly in this crowd was already pretty small. He said, "You probably only need about 75-100 people on your database list to have an effective marketing sphere of influence! If you take the time to truly get to know those people and learn how to serve them, you will benefit far more than sending tons of useless mailings to people who don't know you and don't care about you. In light of what had just transpired...this was a WOW moment for me.
We were urged to scrutinize our databases of names that we had collected over the years. The barren reality was that many of us had people we were mailing letters to whom we didn't know. The challenge required a type of radical surgery; paring down the number of names to just 100 by asking ourselves some simple questions.
Could we put a face with a name? Did we know what our clients goals were...their hopes & dreams? How about simple stuff like the number of kids they had or their birthday? Many of us couldn't recollect their Anniversary with us...the Closing date of the home.
That day, I understood an important thing. You see, it's not so much about WHO you know as it is WHAT you SHARE in common with WHO YOU KNOW that brings vibrant prosperity into relationships. A truly satisfying business is the by-product, not the end result of connecting with people. Unfortunately, the mistake that the agents at the seminar had made in striving to create a burgeoning portfolio list of names for a database rather than striving to really know their clients is still being repeated today.
In the next segment, we will continue to explore this important issue for the online marketing community. Many of us are left wondering WHERE the leads are going from all the hits/clicks our STAT counters tell us we are getting on our websites. The nagging question haunts many participants within the blogosphere...if I'm talking to people, why aren't they talking back? Have we inadvertently traded our mass mailings for websites in a vacuum?
to be continued...
Picture provided courtesy of AMAgills photostream on flickr.com
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