The S.E.C. Guest Relations Program

The S.E.C. Guest Relations Program has experienced significant growth over the past several years. We have experimented with changes and added new activities with a steadfast focus on three primary goals. The program is designed to: A) make each Guest feel welcome and valued; B) orient the Guests to the mechanics of an S.E.C. Marketing Meeting; and, C) create opportunities for Members to personally interact with Guests. The driving force behind this program is the realization that Guests represent the crucial building blocks in our Society’s efforts to remain at the forefront of creative real estate and equity marketing.

The Guest-Mentor program represents most Members’ initial point of contact with Guests. The Program begins several days before the Marketing Meeting by identifying those members who will be attending. We then attempt to assign a Mentor to each relatively new Guest, defined as those Guests who have attended less than four recent meetings. Because of the increasing number of guests, this is not always easy. Officers, Chief Moderators, and others whose duties prevent them from devoting quality time to the mentoring activities are not assigned Mentees. Consequently, with the relatively large numbers of Guests we have been hosting lately, sometimes we don’t have enough Mentors to go around. Even so, the Guests have been giving our Members high marks for being helpful and making them feel welcome.

By design, we try to assign a different Mentor each time a Guest attends another meeting. By changing Mentors each meeting, the Guest receives different perspectives about our business and provides more opportunities for our Members to become better acquainted with a larger number of Guests.

Guests sincerely appreciate the several members who have taken the initiative to contact their Mentees prior to the meeting via telephone or E-mail. This effort makes a very positive impression on the Guest. More typically, a Guest’s first opportunity to meet their Mentor is at the Sunday evening cocktail party. To facilitate the connection, we ask the Inviter to introduce their Guest to the Mentor.

On Monday morning, we host the special Guest Breakfast. Because we have a lot of information to cover, we ask them to be there promptly at 7:30 AM. The full restaurant breakfast is served with an emphasis on cordiality, thus reinforcing the message that the S.E.C. places a premium on “doing things right.” While they are eating, we ask the Guests to briefly introduce themselves. Following that, we organize them into two groups, those who have attended less than three recent meetings, and those who have attended three or more. The latter group (Experienced Guests) is “hosted” by an S.E.C. Member who leads them in a discussion on a topic of the Member’s choosing, usually related to a particular expertise or specialty of the Member. One benefit of this forum is that it provides the host S.E.C. another chance to get to know individual Guests in a small group setting with more opportunities for discussion and interaction. It also benefits the Guests by learning about the activities and expertise of the Member.

Meanwhile, the Newer Guests are being briefed on a number of orientation topics, including, but not limited to, the format of a Marketing Meeting (emphasizing the property, the people, the opportunity), what makes up a professional back-up package, terminology and jargon used in creative real estate, as well as the S.E.C. membership process. Before adjourning, each Newer Guest is asked to tell the group a non-real estate passion of theirs and what primary goal they hope to accomplish at the meeting.

As the breakfast meeting adjourns and the Guests make their way into the Marketing Meeting, S.E.C. Candidates are usually on hand at the entrance to the marketing meeting room to help them locate their Mentor. During registration, the Mentors are furnished an extra name tent to place beside them in the meeting room, thus reserving an adjoining seat for their Mentee.

Following Tuesday’s Marketing Meeting, the President usually holds a question and answer session with the Guests when we ask for ideas and/or suggestions to make the meeting more productive for the Guest. From these discussions, several ideas have emerged. Recently, we started providing each guest a multi-page handout of terms commonly used in our meetings. We are currently developing a notebook with the name and photo of each Member so that a guest may refer to the notebook to “place a name with a face.” The Jargon Dictionary and the Photo Roster are the direct result of suggestions from the Guests at the Tuesday afternoon sessions.

In addition to the above primary goals of the S.E.C. Guest Relations Program, the efforts of the program are centered on assuring that the Guests have a productive meeting, and that they gain an appreciation of how much emphasis S.E.C. Members place on relationships and helping each other. We also want them to understand how much we value their active participation, and how that participation contributes to the productivity of our meetings.

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