What exactly is social capital? The term, coined in the early 1900s, refers to the value of relationships and interaction that people build in their community and their sphere of influence, says Leader. Here are three tips Leader offers for building social capital:
Employ the 4/12/48/365 marketing approach.
Extend at least four personal touches with each person in your database each year. Then add 12 direct mailers—for a creative touch, partner with a local pizza parlor or other business to send out coupons. Next, put out 48 Web-based messages. Mix it up: a quick e-mail with an appropriate joke, a regular e-newsletter, a quick thank-you note for a good deed or congratulations for a job well done. Last is 365: Use every day of the year to work on growing deep relationships.
Focus your social networking.
Many people make the mistake of gaining 5,000 friends on Facebook, including people they don’t know well if at all. Leader suggests focusing instead on developing 500 online friendships within your immediate community. Comment in thoughtful ways, carefully read and understand what’s going on in your friends’ lives, focus on their successes, and work to improve your community, he says. Then start building in-person relationships by joining a local civic group.
Stay flexible and understanding.
If you were 15 minutes late for a dinner reservation, how would the restaurant respond? The host might give you a hard time and turn your party away—or enthusiastically welcome you and seat you as soon as possible. Which result would make you be more likely to visit again? You want the businesses you patronize to be flexible. Treat your clients with that same openness and understanding. Provide a higher level of service than others usually receive—or expect.
This information is provided by National Association of REALTORS, and this system is created by Mark Leader, founder and creator of Leader’s Choice, a real estate training company, and co-author of Concrete Jungle: Survival Secrets for the Real World (Insight Publishing, 2012).