It has been said that your network is your net worth!
I think that is only partially true.
Just knowing a lot of people doesn't mean they are all going to be your raving fans, referring their friends and family to you.
At the end of the day, business (and life) is all about relationships.
Your ability to build and maintain meaningful, lasting relationships is what's ultimately going to propel your business. So much I'd like to say about this. Another time.
Lunch'n learns - if used the right way - are an amazing way to build quality relationships and expand your network - while, of course, learning from each other.
The #1 mistake people make with lunch'n learns is making it all about 'building a referral partnership.'
In other words, since they lead with the business aspect, it's not really about the actual relationship but what each party can get out of it.
So how do we do it better?
In the World-Class Agent community, we use lunch'n learns:
to meet new business connections to build out or expand our list of trusted ELPs (Endorsed Local Providers), which are local business owners (plumbers, electricians, roofers, landscapers, painters, stagers, cleaners, lawyers, loan officers, dog sitters, piano teachers, cabinet makers, flooring specialists, etc. etc. etc.) whom we have a real relationship with and whom we can recommend to our clients based on their needs,
other agents within or outside of your brokerage,
community influencers, local chamber of commerce members, etc.
Personally, I learned about lunch'n learns and, more specifically, the kinds of questions to ask the person you're learning from, from my mentor, John C. Maxwell back in 2013, when I got certified as a John C. Maxwell coach and trainer - although I had been doing them long before that, actually.
Here are John's 7 Questions that shape a really great and meaningful conversation:
1. What is the greatest lesson you have ever learned?
2. What are you learning now?
3. How has failure shaped your life?
4. Whom do you know that I should know?
5. What have you read that I should read?
6. What have you done that I should do?
7. How can I add value to you?
Here are some of the practices that I've found most helpful:
Before you start inviting people to a lunch'n learn, take a few minutes to go through the 7 questions yourself.
Imagine having a conversation with a good friend and them asking you these questions.
Write down your thoughts and responses in your journal.
When you're ready, let's reach out to the local community connections you already have or the people you want to meet and ask if they'd be open to doing coffee or lunch together and you asking them a few questions.
Do not mention real estate. If it comes up, answer their questions and then get right back to the purpose of your meeting. You don't want to give the impression that you have ulterior motives, and the lunch'n learn is just a way to 'get a foot in the door.'
Do not talk 'business.' The purpose of the lunch'n learn is to build a relationship and learn from your new friend.
Do not ask for referrals or anything other than insight. (Yes, this is the same point made three different ways! It really is that important!!)
Remember ... World-Class Agents do not chase. World-Class Agents lead. Let's make a lasting impression.
Send a hand-written Thank You note via snail mail immediately after your lunch'n learn. Express gratitude for their time and insight.
That's it for now...
I hope this has been helpful and you make many new business connections and friends!
Cheering you on,
Alina Schumacher is a Certified High-Performance Coach™, host of The Alina Show PODCAST, founder of World-Class Agent Academy, and the author of How To Get Listings & Dominate Your Market ... Even if Nobody's Ever Heard of You! She helps driven Real Estate Professionals all over North America become world-class and build a 6-7 figure fully referral-based business - extremely FAST - using her proven 4-stage Market Domination Plan, which enabled her to not only become the #1 local REALTOR® in her market area shortly after immigrating to Canada and reaching the top 1% of all Agents in her province/board - but also, build, systematize and successfully scale her business into a thriving brokerage - while continuing to homeschool her three children.