The ability to be social is a desirable characteristic for any real estate agent. In a career field where you are primarily in charge of driving your own business, being sociable is not only desirable but highly necessary. Talking to others, building relationships and continuously expanding your professional circle are all a part of networking. In real estate, networking is one of the keys to success, especially among fellow realtors.
It’s important to recognize, though, that there is a difference between networking with local agents and networking with those who are from out of town. While it wouldn’t hurt to be in the good graces of fellow local agents, the term “networking” doesn’t really apply here. Instead, with local agents, you are more so socializing. Think about it. Do local agents, a.k.a. your competition, want to send you referrals? Unlikely.
Local agents are focused on their own sales and will therefore keep most leads to themselves. Local agents, however, are a great basis for a support system. Because the both of you share the same career path and know the inner workings of the real estate world, you are able to mutually understand one another.
Nonlocal agents are beneficial in a completely different way. Through out-of-town agents, you can truly build your referral network and further promote your business. One way to meet out-of-town agents is at real estate conferences. There are tons of events and gatherings every year where realtors will come together from all across the nation, serving as a prime opportunity for networking.
When attending these conferences, be sure to always greet those around you. This is a situation where talking to strangers is actually encouraged. Say hello to the person sitting next to you or even strike up a conversation with those waiting in line with you for the buffet. You never know who you’ll meet or how they will benefit you or your business.
One tip to remember when attending a conference is to arrive early and stay late. It is unlikely that you’ll have much time to connect with others during a speaker’s presentation, so arriving early ensures you that extra time to get to know those around you. Even opting to stay later after an event could result in valuable networking opportunities.
With so much networking going on, it is crucial that you always carry around your business cards. This is especially important if you want to leave a lasting, positive impression on your fellow professionals. You don’t want to be seen as the unorganized real estate agent who had to jot down their information on a napkin or scramble to store their number in someone’s phone.
Conferences aren’t the only places to build connections. These days, there are a vast number of social media platforms that are ideal for meeting other agents. If you have a YouTube channel, search for other agents who also publish videos online. A simple subscription shows your support and can blossom into a advantageous relationship. The same can be done through Facebook or Twitter by liking a realtor’s page or following their Twitter feed.
The challenge in networking lies not in building relationships, but maintaining them, so no matter how the connection is established, make sure that you always follow up with your new associates to ensure a long and worthwhile relationship.