It’s a challenging time in the industry, but it can be much less challenging if you know where to focus your efforts. Even in the best of times, building your networks (both online and off) is an effective strategy, but right now, it’s imperative. For many of us — me included — we focus on establishing strong networks early in our careers and then shift focus once something substantive is in place. In hindsight, network building should have remained a top priority all along. This week, I wanted to spend a little time covering how to grow your networks effectively and efficiently. It’s one of the best ways to build your pipeline and ensure that as professional partners exit the business, there’s no shortage of replacements. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Stay Active Online
Maintaining a consistent online presence makes it very easy to attract new people into your network. When you share valuable information, with minimal pitching (or none at all), you position yourself as a trusted expert in the industry. It shows prospects and prospective referral partners that you’re interested in educating first and foremost. It also demonstrates that you’re engaged in what you do and committed to your clients’ success. If your readers can get a sense of who you are and how you do business before even meeting you, you’re putting yourself in the running as the clear choice to work with in your local market. Some ideas for what you can share that will be appreciated: addressing common questions and concerns among your prospects and clients; the current state of the market and how that should impact decisions; dispelling mortgage and real estate myths; and any information that can illuminate the borrowing process for the uninitiated.
Having an impressive network with thousands on online connections doesn’t mean much if you’re not pursuing real relationships. With just a few keystrokes you can find out where a connection went to school, what they studied , where they have worked — and a host of other information. That alone can provide you with an opening to spark conversation. If you wait for a connection to reach out to you, you may be waiting forever; so, be proactive. Reach out to your connections and work on building relationships. Use the information you find to customize your message and then focus on how you can help them rather than how they can help you. It makes a strong impression, and can be the springboard for turning online connections into acquaintances, friends, and yes, even clients.
Online Should Only Be the Starting Point
If you really want to expand your network in a meaningful way, you need to invest in these connections by moving the relationships offline. A phone call is a good start, assuming you’re not just trying to sell them. An invitation to something happening locally and in-person is even better. Once you begin to really know who’s in your network, then it will be easier to know what your next step should be in furthering the relationship.
There are countless opportunities within our networks, and with just a little extra effort, we can make the most of them.
Good luck and let me know how any of these tips may have helped you!
If you’re a loan officer, sales manager, or branch manager considering new opportunities, don’t hesitate to get in touch.