My Mentor and Aunt Sarah retired from the California State Parole Agency as a Parole Agent where she had worked for many years. As one could imagine, she always told great stories. Aunt Sarah taught me how to be a gracious host, how to throw big family gatherings, parties, events, etc. She was a beautiful example of how to be a professional working mom. She always lent a non-judgmental listening ear and was willing to jump in and help wherever she was needed. (I think that is where I got my just say “yes” to everything attitude).
Once she retired from State Parole she couldn’t just sit home and bake cakes, which she mastered years ago, so she decided to get her Real Estate license and get to work selling homes. This was a challenge for her because she did not have a “natural” market. She never had to develop business relationships due to the nature of her career. She had a hand full of good friends, church acquaintances, and her choir member friends, but now it was time to establish herself as a Real Estate Business Woman. Aunt Sarah was always up for a good challenge.
Having a mentor in life is a blessing, but getting to give back by mentoring your mentor is extremely exciting. There are many books written on the subject of Business Networking which are great tools; however, when I get a chance I like to share actual real-life stories of successful networking opportunities seized.
I worked with Aunt Sarah on establishing herself in her community as a Real Estate Business Professional. One day while holding an Open House for one of her listings, she met a woman who was “just looking”. Sarah created an immediate connection with the woman and found out that she was thinking of putting her house on the market and would really like to find a home in the area, but wouldn’t make a commitment to an appointment. Aunt Sarah, following the plan we established, gathered some great information and called me to share so we could create a follow up plan. While we were having a telephone conference to create her plan, I quickly Googled her client’s name and found that she was a frequent donor to the Cause of Domestic Violence. Bingo…we found the Common Denominator. Prior to my Aunt Sarah’s career with the California State Parole, she was working in the Domestic Violence Unit of Probation in Fresno County. She had many years of Domestic Violence experience. The plan we created for the follow up involved sending the prospect a card via Snail Mail…yes, I still am a proponent of the Snail Mail! In the card I asked Aunt Sarah to give a brief history of where she started her career as a Fresno County Probation Officer working in Domestic Violence, how she transitioned to California State Parole, and WHY she decided to become a Real Estate Agent. She got the card out within 24-hours of the “chance” meeting. (I feel it is extremely important to get the first follow-up out within 24-hours, whether it is an e-mail, phone call, or a card.)
The card was favorably received. The prospect called Aunt Sarah thanking her for the beautiful card and shared with her that she had been a victim of Domestic Violence. It was important to the prospect that she work with someone she could feel comfortable with and trust. Sarah got the job of not only the listing of her new client’s home, but was able to find a new home for her as well.
It is easy to find a common denominator, if you prepare a few key questions that you can ask another upon that “chance” meeting whether in a formal networking situation, or in this particular case an Open House.
If you know a realtor that might enjoy reading this story, feel free to pass it along. Now–that is NETWORKING!!