Partnering with vendors and other service providers is an excellent way to attract larger and more engaged audiences when you are out conducting seminars and talks in your city or senior living communities in your area.
Of course you know that we at the Seniors Real Estate Institute are also out doing talks around the country for agents like you who are seeking to learn more and better ways to serve seniors, so I thought I would share with you, our members and readers, the main things we have learned along the way.
1. Choosing your sponsors is typically a learning process and who you align with DOES MATTER.
Here’s an example. We recently did a four city tour in collaboration with First American Home Protection. Each area representative agreed to assist us in marketing the event and they each paid some portion of the expenses for either the venue or the refreshments served.
It should be noted here that sometimes the value is NOT in the financial support of events, but in the marketing and promotion of them. Clearly if there is not a good turnout, it’s not a win for anyone -- including the sponsor.
In the case of our four city tour, the First American Home Buyer’s Protection team was on it! They not only helped with promotion and provided refreshments for the attendees, but they participated by attending the event too, meeting and greeting the participants and engaging in the classroom activities.
The other key thing about who you choose for sponsorship and endorsements is that they are in alignment with your values, goals, and standards. In this case, we at SREI serve senior adult homeowners, senior buyers, and real estate agents and brokers. Knowing that First American is senior friendly and that they take an advocacy position when it comes to older adults, well, it was a perfect fit for us.
Lastly, when you choose the right people to help sponsor and promote events, you will want to appreciate their outside perspective and listen -- they know their market and they have relationships and knowledge that you may lack.
Again, in the case of our four day tour in Ohio, Indiana, and Northern Kentucky, the local First American Home Warranty reps shared their local knowledge of preferred venues, connections with other supporters, and how to best reach our target audiences. Their insight is invaluable when you take the time to ask the right questions.
When people commit to attending an event while helping you to promote, fund, and execute it, it’s important -- VERY important -- to share the love. Here are a few ways to value those relationships and illustrate that you really do appreciate all that they have done to help you succeed.
A) Introduce them to your audience. Consider making them the star of the show instead of requesting that they make you the star. Depending on your talk or program, it may make sense to introduce them first or to insure that when they introduce you that you reciprocate by sharing with the group their contributions to making the event happen in the first place.
B) If there are people in the room who know your sponsor or host, ask them to give a brief endorsement or third party testimonial to really let the sponsor shine! This can be impromptu or planned in advance -- either way, these go a long way in helping your supporters get additional business and opportunities. Share the love!
C) Integrate your sponsor or host into your talk. When you bring something up in your talk that refers to their line of business or senior living community, give them a “shout out” and make sure the room knows that they are available for questions or details at break and after the event.
When you show your supporters “love” and appreciate them for their contributions, they will not only want to work with you again, but they will tell others about how great you are to work with. You never know where you next opportunity might originate.
You MUST always remain the HUB of the event.
Regardless of how wonderful your sponsors are and how great the venue is to work with, you must remain in control (the HUB, as we say in our Success in Seniors Real Estate class) of your event.
1. Insure that marketing and promotion is happening as it was planned.
2. Verify in advance that the venue is ready for the day of the event and that it is set properly.
3. Collect the registrations and contact information for attendees so you can follow up later.
When you delegate these tasks to others -- which is fine -- you must inspect what you expect! Never assume that it is being done or you may find out minutes before “go time” that the ball was dropped.
As you are out in your community, we encourage you to align with other high-minded and senior friendly professionals and work together to not only serve seniors, but to help each other become the best you can be!
Have you had a WOW experience with a vendor or sponsor you would like to share? We would love to hear about it in our comments section.
|Nikki Buckelew is the Founder and CEO of the Seniors Real Estate Institute and administrator for the Certified Senior Housing Professional® (CSHP) designation. A veteran REALTOR® of over two decades, she holds a bachelor’s degree in gerontology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology. As a professional speaker, coach, and trainer, Nikki is committed to empowering, equipping, and educating real estate sales and senior housing professionals seeking to better serve the mature market segment.