Updated: Aug 30, 2020
“Your NETWORK is your NET WORTH.”
Have you ever heard of the saying "your network is your net worth"? Chances are you invest in your money and real estate, but do you invest in your relationships? People want to work with people they like and building rapport is key to successfully making and closing deals.
Real estate investing IS a relationship business whether you believe it or not. Improve your networking skills and you will improve your net worth. This is a long play - a marathon. Networking with authenticity is the way to go. Be your wonderful self, seek to listen actively to others, and you may just find a new friendship along the way, or heck, the NEXT MAJOR DEAL!
Remember that the goal of networking is to build relationships and networks. A good, reliable network can result in new customers, partners and opportunities.
Here are 10 tips for you:
Smile. This is one of the most important tips. It's often an overlooked social engagement action. When you smile, you'll put your nervous self at ease, and you'll also come across as warm and inviting to others. Remember to smile before you enter the room, or before you start your next conversation.
Leverage your social media connections - it's important to have a professional online presence these days, are you on LinkedIn? Get on it! Ensure your online profile is always up-to-date. Potential clients and partners often use social media platforms to probe potentials and even to check out your skills and experience. Other efficient platforms include: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Be proactive, don't wait around the edges of the room, waiting for someone to approach you. To get the conversation started, simply walk up to a person or a group, and start conversing. A great question to start off with if you don't know anyone is, "What brings you to this event?" Don't forget to listen intently to their replies. If you're not a natural extrovert, you're probably a very good listener, which is an awesome skill! Active listening is a wonderful way to get to know someone.
Negativity is your enemy. The people you connect with will feel you negative energy before you even speak and that will ruin the chances of building a rapport. Do you dread networking events? Know that others are probably nervous as well. Not everyone is an extrovert. Check the negative attitude at the door before entering the event.
Be mindful not to monopolize the conversation. People who often do this are probably overcompensating for their nervousness. If you are stuck in a situation like this, have compassion and give grace to the person and help alleviate their burden. You can nicely interject and steer the conversation to others who haven't had a chance to speak. Aim to have a conversation, to make the other feel special and not become a talker for the sake of being audible.
Have an elevator pitch ready. Why are you in this business? What are you looking for? Make sure you have your elevator pitch ready to go whenever someone asks you about what you do, or why you're at the networking event etc. Remember to tap into your "why's for doing what you do. Your elevator pitch is simply that...a SHORT 30-60 second description of your product, service, your "why"! If you can't explain your product, reason, or passion in under a minute, chances are that you'll be unmemorable to that person post networking event.
Share your passion. It is contagious when someone shares their passion and their enthusiasm, often leaving a lasting impression. Take it further by telling a story about why you were inspired to start your journey in commercial real estate investing. Talking about what you love will make you happy and that happiness is exuded forward and helps to spreads positivity! It's a great way to create a memorable two-way conversation.
Arrive early or on-time for a networking event. It may feel uncomfortable for some, but if you're one of the first few people there, it'll be easier to find other people who don't have conversation partners yet. And chances are, by being there early, people won't have settled into groups yet so it makes it easier to create warm introductions and conversations.
Always say "thank you". A simple thank you goes a very long way. Building a network is about creating a genuine relationship. Thank your connection for the information provided and try to return the favor. Take notes on what you learn about your contacts so your future correspondence will have personalized touch (more on this on the next bullet point!).
Follow up. Networking is where the conversation begins, not ends. If you had a great connection, ask your conversation partner the best way to stay in touch. People have their preferred method of communication, whether it's via email, phone, or social media. The general etiquette is to follow up within 48 hours of the event to show you're interested in building your network with them, and reference something you discussed, so your connection remembers you.
Lastly, RELAX! Keep your networking exchange fun, light and informal. Don't go in trying to do a sales pitch. Aim to just get to know someone new, practice your conversation and listening skills, and step outside of your comfort zone. Networking leads to word of mouth referrals which ultimately leads to that client, partner, or deal you've been on a hunt for!
Want to hone in on those conversational skills? Here is a book with a wealth of networking tips written by Debra Fine - a keynote speaker, trainer, and best selling author.
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