Converting Online Prospects to Offline Meetings
How many deals have you closed as a result of social media? The ROI question is the one that I always get from commercial real estate professionals. I always want to answer the question with what’s the ROI of your country club membership? Commercial real estate is a face-to-face business and we meet new clients in a variety of places. Yes, sometimes the country club, our kids ball games and traditional networking events. Many brokers still dial for dollars and cold call. The bottom line is we meet people, initiate conversations and some are candidates for our services. Social networks are places to be discovered, initiate conversations and move the conversation offline into the traditional sales funnel.
- 67% of social network users do not use any social networks for business or professional purposes
- Only 15% of social network users have had an in person business meeting with someone they met via social networks
- 72% of social networkers agree that conversations are richer when they occur in person, rather than online
However, I would disagree and believe many people have a flawed view of how social media works for business purposes. There is a disconnect as people somehow thought social media was promised to allow you to skip through the sales cycle. The secret sauce is to convert your online conversations with potential candidates for your services into face-to-face meetings, just like the conversations via a cold call and at the 19th hole.
Hit-em Where They Ain’t
Most commercial real estate brokers would digest this data and argue that if only 15% of social networkers are having in-person business meetings then it must be a waste of time. My response to this mindset involves the old baseball axiom “hit-em where they ain’t” Salespeople look for all kinds of creative ways to get past the gatekeeper with a cold call. I like to sneak through the back door, the social media door. Sometimes I get invited in without even knocking.