20 Ways To Build Community

The # 1 threat to any salesperson is lack of leads.  If you have no prospects, then you’re out of business.

In my experience, when it comes to lead generation, salespeople are asking the wrong question.

Most want to know: “Where can I get more leads?” I believe that’s the wrong question.

The question you should be asking is: “Where can I build community?”

What’s the difference you ask?  A community is a social unit of any size that shares common values.

You don’t want more leads, you want a community that offers a never-ending supply of leads from people who share your values and as a result, sing your praises.

A community is a group of people who know, like and trust one another.  You would do just about anything for them, and them for you.  You want to see each member of your community thrive, and vice versa.

Thus, for any service-based business owner, the by-product of building a community is ultimately a lead-generation system that is repeatable and reliable.

Build a community and your lead flow challenges go away.  Forever.

Here Are 20 Ways To Build YOUR Community

  1. Attend Board of Realtor meetings, events and award ceremonies.  Notice I said “attend” not “sponsor.” You don’t have to throw money at people to bring value and build your community.  Your local board has all kinds of meetings and events and award ceremonies.  Call them.  Find out when they are.  Meet the executive officers.  They’re always looking for mortgage experts to share wisdom.  The point is to show up all the time, not when it’s just convenient for you or when you’re hoping to get some referrals.
  2. Join a BNI group.  A BNI group is its very own community.  Every mortgage professional I have ever met who commits to the group and is involved in their mini-community tells me they can rely on BNI for quality referrals every month.
  3. Enroll your personal accountant and financial advisor.  Accountants and financial advisors meet with your potential clients every single day.  Many of their clients have mortgage needs.  Cultivate those relationships.   Ask for referrals.  Leave them a stack of your business cards.
  4. Partner with local banks and credit unions. Find out if your mortgage company offers products that fill the gap for banks and credit unions so they don’t have to say “no” to their clients – they can refer them to you.  And then find out what products they have that you don’t and refer them back!
  5. Cultivate a relationship with your preferred title company(ies).  See if they can connect you with their top realtors.  Ask them to make an introduction!
  6. Cultivate a relationship with home inspectors and home owners insurance reps.  These people network with your potential clients and with realtors all the time.  Ask for introductions and ask how you can be of service for them.
  7. Partner with a group of providers to run regular first time home-buyer seminars.  Between a realtor, title company, bank or credit union, debt-repair company, insurance company, and anyone else you can think of, you could put together regular seminars.  Everybody markets to their databases and social media contacts for referrals of people looking to buy a home.
  8. Partner with large organizations in your area for relocation and education services.  All big companies have relocation needs.  Hiring quality talent is a full-time job for members of their human resources staff.  Connect and cultivate relationships with human resource team members of all the large companies in your area and offer your services.  You could also do free home buyer seminars throughout the year a “value add” for their employees.
  9. Cultivate relationships with recruiters.  Connect with executive and talent recruiters and offer to help them strengthen their value proposition to large organizations by offering your services and resources when they place someone who has to relocate.
  10. Attend human resource meetings for your local SHRM chapter.  SHRM (Society of Human Resource Managers) is a massive national organization that has local chapters in just about every city in the country.  Attend their meetings and connect with human resource managers and offer your relocation and educational services.
  11. Join your local chamber of commerce and rotary groups.  Get to know the officers and take on a leadership role.  Executive board members are typically well networked and can become a great source of referrals.
  12. Stay connected to your past clients.  Call them quarterly and see if they need any assistance with their mortgage and ask them if they know anyone who might be looking to buy or sell or refinance.
  13. Host an annual client appreciation party.  Rent out a movie theatre or a bowling alley or a park pavilion.  Show people how much you care by offering them a regular, fun experience!
  14. Host a regular referral source happy hour.  Invite all of your realtors, accountants, financial advisors title company partners and anyone and everyone professional whom you receive referrals from.  They will love connecting with new people and will increase their network while you demonstrate your appreciation for their referrals.
  15. Send a great book to your partners.  Great books are currency.  Massive appreciation occurs when someone receives a book or even just an article about an area of their business or life that will help them grow.
  16. Be vulnerable.  Nothing brings down walls faster than your own vulnerability and transparency.  Share your story.  Tell people about your life.  Ask them about theirs.    Connection will occur and so will trust.  With trust comes referrals.
  17. Contact your local media to be considered as an expert resource.  The mortgage and financial markets are often in the news.  Local newspapers and magazines and t.v. stations are always looking to “localize” national news.  Contact them about a national story and share an idea of how they could “localize” the story, then offer yourself as the expert 3rd party.
  18.  Get involved with your church (if you belong to one).  Church and religious organizations work hard to cultivate community.  Get involved!  Take on a volunteer or leadership role and get to know more people in your church community.
  19. Contact non-franchised real estate offices.  Most national real estate franchises have relationships with in-house lenders that pay a fee to be present.  Many independents do not.  Contact the broker-owners, introduce yourself and see if you can be of service through free education in their weekly sales meetings.
  20. Mine your hobbies.  What’s your passion outside of work?  Golf?  Football?  Painting?  Running?  Reading?  There clubs and organizations for nearly every hobby or love.  Research local meet up groups and clubs and join.  Get to know your members and share what you do and be of service when possible.

Community is all around you.  Stop looking for leads and start searching for ways to build your community.

Offer yourself in service.  Be committed.  Cultivate deep relationships.  In time, your community will be the most valuable, trusted, reliable source of referrals you’ll ever need.

How do you build community?  I’d love it if you shared anything unique in the comments below.

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