Real estate agents should be offering more free educational workshops
Who should listen: Anyone who has knowledge to share and is looking for opportunities to generate more leads for their business.
Key idea: Offer an educational workshop and prospective clients will come to know, like, and trust you relatively quickly. The exposure and trust will encourage leads to seek you out when the time comes for them to act on what they’ve learned.
Action item: Add to your lead-gen strategy by developing and teaching a class or creating and presenting a webinar.
Educational workshop, webinar, seminar, class—when you provide information to prospects for the purpose of educating potential clients and generating leads, there is no reason to get hung up on what you want to call it . . . as long as it’s free.
Wealth advisors and financial planners have long known that free educational workshops are among the best lead-generation strategies.
Lawyers are also participants in this strategy, offering free seminars about legislation that affects our relationships, our property, and our rights.
Both industries are intimately involved in some of our most private and important decisions about money and our future. In this way, financial advisors and lawyers have a lot in common with real estate agents.
All of these professionals must earn the trust of and build relationships with their prospects to successfully convert leads.
This begs the question:
Why aren’t real estate agents offering more educational workshops?
Rookie agent uses workshops to become a top producer
Faina Shapiro is this week’s Stay Paid guest. She’s spent nearly 10 years as a landlord, home stager, and property manager. In that decade, she has routinely offered educational workshops to people wanting to invest in real estate.
When Faina got her license about 18 months ago (and, yes, she admits her timing could have been better!), she joined Berkshire Hathaway, and she began to teach more workshops. Only, this time, instead of providing education to eager investors, she began to educate people who needed to know how to buy or sell their homes.
It’s been a win-win for the people attending her workshops and for Faina’s own career and success.
Even though she’s been an agent for a relatively short time and during a period of incredibly low inventory, Faina has had a listing every week for the last two months. For the past two months, she’s been named the top seller’s agent and the top buyer’s agent in her firm and has been nationally recognized by Berkshire Hathaway for her success.
And while educational workshops are only one of her lead-generation strategies, they have certainly contributed to her achievements.
In this episode, Faina explains the professional benefits she derives from presenting workshops and where she’s had success finding leads.
Educational workshops bring leads to you
It’s unfortunate but true . . . when someone is in a position where they need to ask another person for help, they are at the disadvantage because they have little to no leverage. Whether you’re a kid asking to borrow the car keys or an adult asking a loan officer for a mortgage, it’s the other person who has the upper hand.
The same holds true in sales.
When you are the one who is constantly asking for business, you lose leverage.
But, according to Robben Media, an online media advertising company, when prospects come to you, the relationship’s dynamic changes dramatically. You are perceived by your client or prospect as the party with the higher status. And while Robben’s is referring to financial advisors, the same holds true for real estate professionals—the reversal allows you to gain leverage and the authority needed to convert leads into new clients.
Educational workshops, which are typically free or provided at a low price, are a popular way for agents to entice prospects to come to them—just as they are for financial analysts, lawyers, and other professionals.
But lead-generation strategies, including workshops, aren’t useful until you act on them—and planning and delivering a workshop is not for those who aren’t committed to the process. At least initially, it takes some real effort to put together a workshop that’s worth attending.
How to start up a workshop
Even though Faina is well-established now as a provider of workshops, in the beginning it took some planning to generate the content and find venues that would support her efforts.
First, she needed to understand her audience. You have plenty of options as an agent for selecting your ideal clients, and those are the people you want to develop your workshop for.
Next, she needed to develop each of her various programs.
Of course, she didn’t develop them all at the same time. Still, it required that she collect her information, organize it in an easily digestible way her audience would understand, gather resources, and develop tools that would help attendees use what they had learned once they left.
Then she had to convince the different Massachusetts civic leaders, in whose communities she presents her workshops, to give her the green light to participate in their sponsored programs.
As she explains, directors of these programs were spending their municipalities’ limited resources to put together their programs. Naturally, they wanted to be sure that the programs offered met their standards of quality and the needs of their communities.
Faina persisted, and, after two years, was included in her first community program.
After that, things got a bit easier.
Her credibility established, Faina was able to approach other communities and replicate her process, presenting more workshops and generating more leads. As Luke points out, Faina’s workshops took on the characteristics of a flywheel—it may be hard to get moving initially, but once it gets going, the momentum takes over.
While her workshops don’t always produce large audiences (sometimes she only has three to five people in the room), the low attendance is never her concern. Her brand gets more exposure, her credibility is enhanced, and her relationships with community leaders are strengthened with every workshop.
Generating leads is a matter of them coming to you
A workshop is a nonthreatening situation where Faina’s primary concern is to deliver value to those who attend. She says she loves to teach, and, by providing workshops, she gets to do what she enjoys to her and her audiences’ benefit.
In that kind of a situation, where you are more interested in giving than in getting, it’s easy to be authentic. That authenticity helps to build respect and trust.
Additionally, because a commission isn’t part of the equation, her workshop attendees often feel sufficiently comfortable approaching her with questions, which she answers with pleasure.
What we love most about what Faina does is that members of her audience (even FSBOs) sometimes become clients. To them, she’s not only the agent who’s top of mind but also the expert who’s known and trusted.
And, to borrow a phrase from Benjamin Franklin, that is how an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
Connect | Resources
Faina invites listeners to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or to call her at 617-820-0600.