We all know we need to do it, but like diet and exercise, regular networking is a habit that can be hard to start and even harder to maintain. Like long-forgotten New Year’s resolutions, networking is one habit that REALTORS tend to get into when times are slow, and which fades off with the first taste of success. But in order to maintain that healthy glow, your business needs networking year-round. Keep your business steady through all kinds of market cycles and embrace the power of your network.
Listen to new clients. Obviously, the biggest point of networking is to meet new people and get them to use you. One of the best ways to do that is to train yourself to listen. Ask about families, challenges people are facing, work, milestones approaching. Elicit conversation from people and they will begin to trust and appreciate you more.
Bring clients together. You know people. That’s your job. Most of them probably either have a business or work for one. Find out what they do and what they need. Think about other people in your network. Could any of them fill that need or would they know someone who does? Introduce them. You’ll gain referrals if you give referrals first. In fact, plan to give out more referrals than you receive. Actively look for opportunities to give out referrals.
Smoother transactions. Look, we all know a lot of real estate agents. And no, you’re not going to score both sides of every deal. At some point you’re going to have to work with other agents to get a deal done. So don’t shy away from talking to other agents and getting to know them. Negotiating is easier if there’s already a history of friendly conversation. Think of other agents as resources. After all, they’re only your competition if they’re better than you. And you are a master at networking, so there’s no problem, right?
Gain a mentor or two. Sometimes when you are networking you’ll run across someone whom you really begin to admire. They may or may not be in your industry, but they are successful in what they do. Harness that success. Take your would-be mentor out for coffee and ask about that success. Find out how you can incorporate their successes into your own life and business.
Collect cards. Collect more cards than you give out. If you are collecting a lot of cards, it means you’re talking to a lot of people. And that means that you are finding new connections to make. Remember, give referrals and make connections without expectations that you will receive an equal number in return. Your job is to make people feel like you value them, you listen to them, and you want them to succeed.
Get your head in the game and refocus your networking efforts for the year. Remember, we’re only halfway through 2015. There’s still plenty of time to make this your best year ever!
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