Whether you’re matching clients with the best home or working with agents in your office, a career in real estate requires a lot of interaction with other people. In fact, you probably spend most of your time building or maintaining relationships. One way to exercise your people skills while making connections with your peers in the industry is through networking.
When you meet people face-to-face, it results a sense of connection and engagement that can’t be replicated. Your fellow real estate professionals and industry partners will remember you if you have an in-person conversation sharing knowledge, uncovering opportunities, and even creating new friendships.
“Networking is vital to my business,” says Jessica Herrmann, ABR, SFR, broker-owner of Great GA Realty in Statesboro, Ga. “People can see you in a different way, whether it be from a leadership perspective or just good old-fashioned volunteer work. It helps form relationships that would otherwise be difficult in this online world we live in.”
Don’t let your busy work life get in the way of important networking opportunities. Here are a few tips for giving yourself that little extra boost to get involved.
1. Mark your calendar. Creating an event in your calendar will help you set aside time for networking events. I know when something isn’t on my calendar, it doesn’t happen. That’s why I put my favorite gym classes in my calendar as recurring weekly events. Set a goal for attending at least one networking opportunity a month. Newer real estate pros should shoot for bi-weekly, weekly, or more.
2. Research networking events. You can’t fill up your calendar without first finding the events you want to attend. Your local REALTOR® association is your best bet. Outside of that, it can be hit or miss until you find a group or organization that has the right mix of people to help your business succeed. Most cities have robust chamber of commerce organizations that hold regular events, such as themed luncheons or sponsored breakfasts. There are also charities that have more of a business slant, such as Rotary Club, that offer great ways to get involved in your community. Do some research and find something that resonates with your business. For example, if you focus on green building and sustainable properties, consider attending events held by your local environmental center or organization.
3. Have a follow-up strategy. Exchanging business cards at events can seem a bit old-fashioned, but it’s still a great way to get someone’s information. Afterward, you can send them a personal email to let them know you enjoyed meeting them. Furthermore, you could add those contacts to your sales database so they can receive communications from you. Be careful with this approach, as you don’t want it to seem too impersonal. It may not work for every contact you meet. Consider this on a case-by-case basis. Another great way to follow up is to find that person on LinkedIn, either on your phone while you are talking with them or later, taking proper note of their full name. Ideally, you will run into this person again at a future networking event, but it’s important to start building the relationship while the meetup is still fresh in both your minds.
Networking can result in new opportunities and relationships for your business. It can also give you access to the advice and knowledge of others and amplify your profile in your market. The benefits to networking are numerous, which is why it’s worthwhile to have a plan and stick to it.