By Anand Patel
I have a wonderful agent in West Palm Beach, Fla., who decided he wanted to give back by getting involved with his local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. While on site at his first project, he struck up a conversation with a fellow volunteer working along side him. As they carried on their conversations throughout the day, it turned out his new-found friend was an investor residing predominantly in Europe but looking to buy, rehab, and sell residential real estate while in the West Palm Beach area. To make a long story short, my agent ended up finding a property for his new volunteer buddy, who in turn rehabbed the property and had my agent list it and eventually sell the property for him. His new client enjoyed the experience so much he wants to purchase a few more properties with my agent. Who would have thought giving back would have paid off so well!
The point of my story is that we all prefer working with people with similar interests, right? Isn’t it easier to work with a client who supports the same causes, charities, clubs, foundations, associations and organizations that you do? Volunteering is a great way to connect with these like-minded individuals. Keep in mind that one should only volunteer when they truly have a genuine interest in getting involved and giving back. We all know people who volunteer with the pure intention of getting new business — others read right through this. Sharing a common bond and genuine interest with someone makes the decision for them to do business with you so much easier.
Here are some ideas:
- Volunteer with charities or causes you want to support. You will meet people from all different backgrounds and professions. You’ll learn new perspectives about yourself, the way you run your business, and how you view your community. Not only will you feel good in supporting your favorite cause, but you are also indirectly helping yourself grow as an individual.
- Volunteer to serve on committees at your association, various organizations you may belong to, at your place of worship, or your child’s school. Just by volunteering at your association alone, you will meet fellow REALTORS® who work different niche markets, which become excellent sources of referrals. Serving on a committee with a local non-profit usually gets you face to face with top leaders in your community who give of their time for causes they feel strongly about.
- Organize a fundraiser, a 5k walk/run, or other community event. I know agents who are really passionate about certain causes and they want to do their part in creating awareness. By organizing events they get connected with local businesses, schools, and can even solicit media attention for their cause.
Volunteering is a great way to grow your network and sphere of influence by filling it with like-minded individuals that you will love to do business with down the road. The most important thing is to be genuine. Getting business is a secondary by-product of giving back — it should not be your sole intention. Look around at the top producers in your market and I guarantee they give back of themselves in one way or another. Reach out a hand, get involved in your community and try volunteering your way to success!
Anand Patel is a broker licensed in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi with Elite REO Services and Elite Premier Properties. You can connect with Anand on Twitter: @anand_tampa; Facebook: www.facebook.com/livingelite; LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/anandpatel1 or on the Web at www.anandsblog.com.