Three quick ways to get more business in 2007Brian Hilliardbusiness growth, networking
The snow is falling, the birds are migrating and it's time for
another new year. I always love January, and not just because it's
my birthday month. It's also a great time to re-evaluate what's
working in your business and & well, what could use a little
help. So if you're tired of doing the same old, same old, why not
take a fresh new approach with your business and see what you can
do to kick-start its growth in 2007?
Quick way #3: Ask the "right" questions.
Question: What do we know all people want to talk the most about?
Hint: It's not you but & them. That's right; most people, when
given a choice, would rather talk about themselves. So if that's
the case, how can you break the ice and turn a complete stranger
into a business-generating referral partner? You got it & by
asking the right questions. In other words, getting them to talk
about themselves (and their business) and you following along. Here
are a few of my favorite questions when meeting someone for the
first time while networking:
1. "Where else do you normally network?"
This is a great conversation starter just after you've handed each
other your business cards and you're searching for something to
say. Most of the time, people will give you a couple of networking
spots you might not have heard of and you can do the same. Either
way, you're starting to get comfortable having a discussion.
2. "What do you like best about what you do?"
The most popular question at a networking event is "What do you
do?" And while I don't have a problem with that, it can sometimes
paint you in a corner as to what to say next. Except now, you can
ask, "What do you like best about [his occupation]?" This is a
great way to learn more about that person without sounding too
nosy. Watch out though: 40 percent of the time, when you ask that
question, they'll ask it right back to you. So don't say I didn't
3. "What got you started in that direction?"
Now, as the conversation is winding down, you've learned a little
bit about this person and what he's all about. Your last question
should be, "Boy, that sounds like some good stuff. What started you
off in that direction?" And now, you're learning more about his
background and what motivated him to do whatever it is he's doing
Now when you meet someone who can give or refer you business,
you're building a rapport by asking questions about his business
and spending time learning about his situation. This, of course,
sets the stage for you getting more business from him later on.
Quick way #2: Please, get out of the house and
For those who might not know, meeting new people and networking
around town really is your secret weapon when competing against
other loan officers. Why? Because they're so busy running ads,
waiting by the phone and talking about how bad the market's been
lately that they don't realize that the path to more business is
right under their noses. Conversely, smart people like you
recognize that the refi boom is over and that people just aren't
responding as much to ads and telemarketing as they used to. That
means if we expect to get some more purchase money business, we're
going to have to do it the old fashioned wayby meeting people and
winning their trust. That means doing a lot more networking. I'm
talking about networking events such as Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs,
Kiwanis Clubs and maybe even your local area chamber of commerce.
These organizations usually meet in the mornings, have anywhere
from 35-70 attendees and you're done by 8:30 a.m. Not only will you
meet more potential prospects, but if you play your cards right,
you might even be able to cultivate a few (non-real estate agent?)
referral partners who can send business your way.
Quick way #1: Develop a sphere of
Quite simply, a sphere of influence is a market niche or target
audience for whom your services are best suited. Now before you
say, "But everyone needs financing for their home! Why can't I
market myself to all of them?" let me just say that in the world of
marketing, one size does not fit all. For example, the message you
use with first-time homebuyers is going to be much different than
someone with bruised credit. Same house and same financing, but
your prospects are coming from two different perspectives. In other
words, the hot buttons of a first-time homebuyer are not the same
of someone in a credit repair situation. And if we already know
that the mark of a good sales interaction is positioning your
service in the context of your prospects' hot buttons, then how is
that possible with an "everyone needs financing," one-size-fits-all
mentality? The short answerit isn't. That's why developing one or
two target markets is so important. It allows you to really figure
out what's important to them, and then everything you say and do
can be tailored around those issues.
As a motivational speaker and author of the book "Networking
Like a Pro!" Brian Hilliard is recognized as an authority on
showing busy originators how to get more business from everyone
they meet. He may be reached at (404) 434-2826, e-mail mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.agitoconsulting.com.