Networking. It’s sometimes daunting, isn’t it? I finished my last post with a call to get out there and meet some new people, but I often find that to be a big challenge. Some people just have the natural gift of gab – and the rest of us have to work a little harder to break the ice (including me, I must admit). Since effective networking is a major aspect of this business and should be a tool in every rookie’s Real Estate Kit, I thought I would turn the spotlight on it and share some tips that have come my way.
It seems that everyone is talking about social media these days and it’s certain how important it is for every real estate agent to have an online presence. Tweeting and posting on facebook has allowed me to connect with people all over the globe and it’s a great way to keep my services in the forefront of the minds of potential clients. It can certainly be a lot of work (as my fellow contributor Sarah has pointed out ) but can you rely on it? I attended a panel on networking at the NYC Real Estate Expo back in November that underlined the importance of actual face-to-face contact in addition to your web presence. I agree that the Internet is a great way to meet people but nothing can really replace the kind of connection you get with a real handshake and a few minutes of genuine facetime.
Networking beyond your Sphere of Influence is necessary because it gets you out there meeting people you don’t know who could potentially become new customers. Sure, this can be done online, but you should be looking for ways to develop qualified contacts – something that I don’t think is achieved too often just by getting a follow-back on twitter or a “like” on your facebook page. It’s hard to stand out in all that electronic noise, so in addition to your social media marketing plan, remember to work in some old-fashioned face-to-face networking.
If you don’t already belong to clubs that will allow you to meet new people, investigate some in your area. Perhaps there’s an adult sports club, like a group of tennis players or runners you can connect with. Or maybe you can meet some people by picking up a new foreign language or taking a dance class (or a religious organization or a book club…). There are lots of possibilities, so find something that interests you. The people involved in these clubs will probably need to buy or sell at some point, right? And shouldn’t they use that smart and trustworthy real estate agent that they met at that community mixer last month (that’s you)? Not only will you enjoy a new experience and make new friends, but you could also get some business out of it.
While I’m not so sure that ballroom dance is really my thing, maybe I’ll look into those German classes I’ve been meaning to take up again. Who knows who I might meet?
Up next – Networking, Part 2: Industry Networking Events