Networking, in most businesses, accomplishes one of two goals: self-promotion or portfolio-building. For real estate agents, this is mostly true. The more people you know – and more importantly, the more that know you – the more potential business you can bring in.
But okay, yeah… we know the question you’re asking. Where do I network effectively, and when the heck do I do it? Between showings and closings and listing meetings, not to mention my personal life, there’s not a lot of time to be an active Rotarian.
Don’t worry, we understand.
Tailoring your networking to your schedule and interests is an important part of making it effective. There may be a ton of wonderful potential clients at every Chamber of Commerce mixer, but if it inevitably falls during prime showing windows, or your kid’s T-ball game, is it really worth it?
Here are a few tips from your friends at Zbuyer:
Think outside the box
As a real estate agent – like those insurance folks or tax advisors – you have a certain advantage: almost EVERYONE, at some point, needs help with a real estate transaction, or knows lots of people who will. The same can’t be set for widget salesmen or interior designers or even automobile sales. That being the case, you are as likely to find a client by participating in a running group or a book club as you are a crowded, boring real estate meet-and-greet. Use your imagination, be authentically you, and get out there. MeetUp.com, Facebook and other social apps can help you find people with similar interests – even if that interest is real estate.
In most cities there is no shortage of nonprofits and civic organizations looking for volunteers and board meetings. These groups can be a great way to make a contribution to your community, meet influential people, and put your name out there in a positive light. (To quote Mad Men, which was about nothing if not business: “Philanthropy is the gateway to power.”) But this shouldn’t be a mercenary act. Find a cause or organization that you care about and jump in with both feet. If people like you, and know what you do, business will follow.
Don’t overdo it
We all know that person, right? The one who shows up at every happy hour, mixer or luncheon, drops the same lines, hands out the same business cards, and never makes much of an impression? Go for quality over quantity. If a certain group or event doesn’t feel right after a few months, it may be time to move on.
Analyze your approach
Similarly: if you are getting questionable results despite a lot of effort, it might be time to change your approach. Do you talk too much? Too little? Do you socialize when you should be talking about business, or vice-versa? Do you sometimes have a couple too many four-dollar IPAs? You may need to reconsider how you go about representing yourself. Short of having security called on you, there’s nothing that you can’t recover from. But being self-aware and making sure you’re accomplishing your goals – even in a relaxed setting – is important.
Find a mentor
We’ve covered this before in this space, but there’s nothing wrong with finding a person in your industry who you respect and asking his or her advice. Chances are you might be asked to a lunch or networking event you didn’t even know existed and open doors you never could have opened on your own. Making the most of such opportunities is up to you – but it never hurts to get a little help along the way. If you’re an agent with promise, personality and persistence, there’s no reason you won’t get there.