60 Lunches in 60 Days: Crafting Your Prospecting Strategy Around Your Passions

How Doing a Social Media Post Offering 60 Lunches in 60 days led to new relationships, new business, new ideas – and was fun at the same time.

Back in 2009, on the heels of the financial crisis I was a college kid who didn’t know anything about anything. I think I had the same generally positive outlook towards life and business that I have now, and although I loved my part time jobs which were geared towards sales and customer service, I assumed that when college ended, I would end up like millions of other Americans – working for someone else – doing what I was told. 

At the same time, I took a class on organizational communication and learned a concept that has stayed with me ever since – “job crafting.”  Whether you are an employer, an employee, or self-employed, this is something that you should become familiar with. Many successful salespeople do it unknowingly, but those who haven’t tried it yet need to drop everything and start today. Job crafting isn’t as much a concept as it is a framework that you can work and live by.

Taken simply – job crafting is the ability to work every day towards turning your job into a role that is perfect for you. It doesn’t happen overnight, and you can’t do it at every company. But the right companies will praise you for doing it well, and with the right amount of crafting you can be on your way to earning more money and being happier in your job.

A simple example of job crafting is if your boss gives you a task to do, and you get it done – but with your own spin—a spin that makes the task more enjoyable and meaningful for you. A job crafter slowly shifts the framework of their job over time until it becomes exactly what they love doing every day. Have something about your role that you don’t love? Job craft until you are spending your time only on the most productive projects and hire people to perform the tasks you may have outgrown. An example of job crafting that I put into the social media universe for the world to see a few months ago was originally a twist on my favorite comedian, Jerry Seinfeld’s, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I decided to do “Marketers Getting Lunch” because what I enjoy most in my life and career is discussing marketing, networking, and dining out (which at the time of this writing amidst Covid-19 is now impossible).

Initially, this new idea was half a joke. The real goal was simply to put out a marketing post that would fill my calendar with lunches & meetings with new people without me having to cold call or prospect. As someone who works in the mortgage industry and networks with Realtors, I find that agents can be hesitant to meet because they don’t want to be hounded by lenders who want their precious leads, and more importantly, their precious time. I hoped that by doing a fun social media post offering lunches and letting people self-select into my calendar, I would flip the dynamic on its head and instead get people that were “choosing” to spend time with me.

It took about one day for enough comments/messages to accumulate from my original post to fill my calendar for the 60-day period. I didn’t end up meeting with everyone who commented because there were the typical cancellations and last-minute additions. Overall it was an awesome experience and a fun way to bypass the typical prospecting calls that so many in our industry dread, yet reluctantly resort to without any emotion or excitement.

Over a 60-day period I had a combination of breakfasts, lunches, coffees, happy hours, and even a few professional dinners. I was able to hit 60 total meetings because although I didn’t include weekends, I often doubled up and had multiple meetings several days a week. I would do a coffee or happy hour in addition to a breakfast or lunch on the same day. Ninety percent of the people I met with were totally new faces. Even though we were connected on social media, I had never engaged 1 on 1 or “gone deep” with them prior to this opportunity.

The actual post that I used is shown in this article but it wasn’t perfect. I learned a lot from my experience and I wanted to include some tips for how you can do it better than I did. In the same format as my book, The Tangible Action Guide for Real Estate Marketing, I wanted to include tangible tips for doing this strategy better.

Tangible Tip #1: Go deeper in your meetings. Talk about more than work. Let them talk about what drives them and show that you are interested.

Tangible Tip #2: Choose healthy dishes or restaurants at least half the time, otherwise you may end up needing a larger pant size…

Tangible Tip #3: Learn from my mistakes, use a system like Calendly to simplify bookings. If you don’t you will end up spending hours trying to manage your calendar and can easily find yourself stuck in the typical back-and-forth of scheduling. Using a scheduling system like this will help keep things simple and organized.

Tangible Tip #4: Be proactive and ask ahead of time if there is something specific they want to discuss or what they hope to get out of the meeting. Be straightforward about what you hope to get out of meeting with that person as well. This can help you be more prepared and give you an out for recruitment tactics.

Tangible Tip #5: Do your research ahead of time. Look at their social profile, see who they know and what they are into – get creative and think of ways you could collaborate even if you aren’t in the same industry. For example, maybe they sell to a similar demographic as you and you can share customer lists and refer each other to prospective clients.

Curious about the results? It was a success. All but 5 of the 60 meetings led to me referring the person I met with, or them referring me or my office. It also helped to generate publicity for myself, my office, and the campaign itself – which became a topic of conversation with new prospective clients for months to come.

I firmly believe that agents and lenders are better situated to offer referrals than any other profession. There are so many referrals connected to the sale of a home that you could be a liaison for referrals and connections for everyone you meet and interact with in the industry. If you employ a strategy like 60 lunches to talk about the amazing service, value, and communication you offer (which your colleagues also pitch), what you can offer each other, and show genuine interest, you will be pleasantly surprised by how your clients react and their genuine interest in what you have to say. My strategy worked for me because it was genuine, and even if it didn’t lead to business, it was designed so that I would have fun along the way. That being said, it did enable me to create new relationships and interact with new people consistently. It brought new business prospects and a myriad of new connections.