How to Grow Business by Building Meaningful Relationships

Don’t do anything without passion. That’s the advice Eddie Campos offers entrepreneurs looking to get involved with their community – and grow their business in the process.

Maumee Chamber Muddy Mini half marathon
Campos and other volunteers helping to set up water stations for a half-marathon.

A perennial board member of the Maumee Chamber of Commerce, the 100 Percent Club member with RE/MAX Preferred Associates has earned a reputation in his northern Ohio city for being deeply committed to making a difference. His involvement, though, has little to do with business, he says. Even so, he estimates he receives four to six referrals each year through connections made in the chamber of commerce alone.

“My key focus is plugging myself into the community,” says Campos, who was honored with the 2018 Community Service Award by the Toledo Regional Association of Realtors. “There’s something even more important than getting referrals, and that’s making a positive difference.”

Campos certainly keeps himself busy doing just that. In addition to the chamber of commerce, he also serves on his city’s local planning commission, the athletic boosters for the local school district, and works to ensure a great high school experience for all students as a board member of the Panther Pride Foundation.

If you’re looking to create a local impact, while also building your network and growing your personal brand, joining a local board or organization is a great move. Here are three ways Campos says you can make the most of your community involvement.

Volunteer (It’s Visibility You Can’t Buy!)

According to Campos, volunteering helps create a personal connection with clients in a way traditional advertising just can’t. Of course, brand recognition is an important part of any business, but it’s the personal connections made with clients that really make an agent stand out. After all, real estate is a relationship business at the end of the day.

“At the same time I joined the local chamber of commerce, another local agent leased a billboard in a major intersection,” Campos says. “But I wondered, how many people get the opportunity to talk to this agent? Is the agent able to make a personal connection with the people who see the billboard?”

Campos has found time spent at community events has a better return on investment than expensive advertising.

“You’re shoulder-to-shoulder with community members putting up tables at the summer festival or directing traffic for a 10k race. People get to talk to you one-on-one,” Campos says. “Volunteering is a great opportunity because it builds name recognition and allows people to get to know me.”

Plus, it’s a great way to expand your network.

“It’s through my involvement with the chamber that I really get to know the business owners in the community and build a ton of great relationships. We’re able to learn ways we can support each other.”

Become the Local Expert

When Campos decided to dive into video marketing, he once again made his community the focus. He recently worked with a local production company to launch “Coffee with Eddie,” a series of videos where Campos interviews everyone from small business owners to the school superintendent.

The videos have helped Campos build a reputation for being the go-to source for community news.

“I don’t have an agenda. I’m interviewing people to help share information I think the community can benefit from,” Campos says.

He’s found thoughtful Facebook targeting is a key component to successful video marketing. For each video, Campos says he thinks carefully about who will be the most interested in (and gain the most value from) the information shared in the interview.

“If a video has a message I think would matter to a specific geographic community, I promote it to the people there. Sometimes I send videos out to only a 5-mile radius,” he says.

Campos also advises thinking outside real estate for potential topics.

“Most recently, I interviewed the tax auditor for my county because the three-year tax evaluations had come out,” he says. “That wasn’t just a real estate message. If you’re not selling your home, you still have to go through tax evaluations.”

The videos help keep Campos top of mind for when viewers are looking for a real estate agent.

“People who don’t know me get to know me through my videos and will be more likely to call me to help them buy or sell a home,” he says. “My business has always grown steadily, but over the past year and a half that I’ve been doing video, it’s made the most significant jumps.” 

Above All, Be Sincere

“People can pick up on insincerity really quickly if you’re not there for the right reasons,” Campos says. “Before joining the chamber of commerce, I had visited other community organizations where it felt like I was in the midst of a bunch of stereotypical pushy salespeople. I don’t want to be that Realtor.”

When deciding which community organization to join, Campos says agents should make sure it’s something they connect with.

“It’s important for people to think about what they’re passionate about and what they want to be involved in,” he says. “It has to be something you want to do. If you don’t want to do it, you’re not going to get anything out of it.”

As for Campos, he attributes his spirit of generosity to the example set by his parents.

“My parents didn’t have much, but they knew they had more than most. If there was someone in need, they were always willing to help,” Campos says.

“This is my way to help give back. It doesn’t help millions, but it helps our little corner of Northwest Ohio.”

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