Do the words “real estate networking” make you cringe?
When you hear the words “real estate networking” do you cringe? Does it make you think of events filled with people running around shoving their card at everyone without stopping to get acquainted?
Those people ARE annoying, and the events can be less than fun, but they’re only part of real estate networking. The truth is, you can/should be networking any time you’re introduced to someone new – whether it’s at a meeting, at a party, or when you participate in a volunteer activity.
I’m willing to bet that you don’t want to be that person being obnoxious. I’d also bet that you’d like to become acquainted with more people who might decide to use your services. You might also wish to meet people whose services you need. Think of stagers, photographers, graphic artists – and even copywriters!
Here’s step one: Adjust your thinking about real estate networking.
- Instead of thinking about gaining a possible new client, think about meeting a possible new friend.
- Rather than thinking about what you can get from this relationship, think about what you can give.
- Instead of thinking how they might help you, think how you might help them – and then how you might help each other.
Step two: Ask questions and listen more than you talk.
Don’t worry about being sparkling and putting yourself out there. The more you ask questions and show a genuine interest in the answers, the more you’ll be thought of as an interesting, friendly person. You might even become known as a brilliant conversationalist.
Of course you should answer when someone asks what you do for a living. And of course you should have your elevator speech memorized so you cover the most important facts quickly.
You might say something like “I’m a (insert city, area, or area of city) REALTOR®, specializing primarily in (whatever your niche happens to be.)” If you’re a buyers’ agent, say you help (area or niche) buyers find homes that suit both their lifestyle and their budgets. If you’re a listing agent, say you specialize in bringing (area or niche) homes to market in a manner that generates the highest selling price in the shortest amount of time.
When the other party is interested in real estate, they’ll ask questions.
At that point you can mention that you have access to all of MLS and can get answers for them about any neighborhood or home. You can also offer to send them your market report or anything else you have that might be of interest.
Even if they’re not from your area, offering to send them a home sellers’ checklist, a moving guide, or advice on buying will make you memorable. They might not become clients, but they might mention your helpfulness and pass along your information to someone who could become a client.
Once you’ve made your offer and (hopefully) gotten contact information, switch the conversation back to them.
As you listen, be alert for ways you might be able to help. If they have a business, perhaps you could mention it in your blog. If they’re thinking of having a website built, you could refer them to someone you know and trust. If they build websites, you can ask for their URL and contact information so you can pass it along.
Step 3: Remember that real estate is built on relationships, so don’t limit the conversation to business.
You and this new person might share an interest in some local non-profit. You might both enjoy hiking, golfing, fishing, or perhaps knitting, reading mystery novels, or doing jigsaw puzzles. Any shared interest is a reason to re-connect later and perhaps form a friendship.
But a conversation like that takes time – if you attend a networking event, shouldn’t you meet as many people as possible?
That depends upon the people you meet and how you meet them. I’m sure you’ve read/heard more than one marketing guru say that having ten quality leads is better than having 500 go-nowhere leads.
When you meet someone new and share a spark of interest in each other’s work and other activities, it’s a relationship worth pursuing.
Social network concept Image courtesy of Loveluck at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Handshake Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net