What feels worse than finding out that someone you know just listed their house with some other agent? (Or if you're a mortgage lender, a home inspector, or a stager, hearing that someone you know hired one of your competitors.)
When you see them next and somehow bring it up in conversation, your acquaintance says "Oh! I didn't know you (sold real estate, handled loans, etc.)! If I'd known that, I'd have called you."
I expect THAT feels even worse.
Sometimes people who know you won't do business with you because they simply don't want their acquaintances to know anything about their finances. We can all understand that. But everyone you know should at least know you're there and available to help them.
Since being pushy about it is likely to turn people away rather than gain their business, what can you do?
Make your profession known without saying a word, and quite often other people will start the conversation. Some will say "I didn't know you were a …" Others who knew but hadn't thought about it will be reminded and will start asking questions.
So how do you do it?
Start by putting your company name on everything from your ball cap to your shirt to your jacket. Then wear that attire when you're out and about shopping, jogging, or walking the kids to school. In other words, any time casual attire is appropriate. If you do jog or work out at the gym, be sure your water bottle is printed with that vital information.
For more formal occasions, such as a Chamber of Commerce or Toastmasters Meeting, you can wear your REALTOR® pin on your lapel – and ladies can wear a designer pin that indicates the profession.
If you have kids and make it a habit to attend their sports events – or even if you don't have kids but enjoy attending the local games - you can have your "R" or your company name printed on a director's chair and use it at every outdoor game. Do the same if you attend outdoor concerts, hometown parades, etc.
If local laws allow, get magnetic signs for your car doors and leave them attached when you attend neighborhood meetings or parties.
If you like to work on your laptop at Starbucks, another local coffee shop, or the library, purchase a "skin" for the lid and display the REALTOR® "R" or your company. In that setting, even strangers are apt to strike up a conversation about your work.
And thinking of total strangers, many agents report gaining new client leads because they were wearing their company name tag while shopping or while sitting in a waiting room at a dentist office, a garage, or a car wash.
Your email signature
Most professionals do attach their business signature to emails. Most also make the mistake of not including the name of the city where they do business.
If you've made that mistake, go fix it. Then use that signature for personal email any time you send a funny (clean, non-political) joke, a poem, a heartwarming story, or beautiful photos to friends. You know that if they enjoy it, they will probably forward your message on to other friends. Some of those friends will at least know who you are, but may not realize what you do. Remind them.
And as for the people who don't know you: Some will be in your town and some may be thinking of moving to your town. Some may be familiar with every zip code and prefix in your city and some may not. So why risk missing a new contact when the fix is so easy?
Your elevator speech
Be ready – with a short version of your elevator speech.
Then, when someone notices that you're an agent and asks you about it, you can respond smoothly. Instead of stumbling or saying "Yes, I sell homes," you'll be ready to say something like "Yes, I'm an agent here in Yourtown. I specialize in marketing waterfront homes on Yourlake."
After that you can let the other person lead the conversation with their questions.
Oh, and be sure to have a few business cards in your pocket, just in case someone asks for one.