Was That Old Fashioned Networking Event a Total Waste of Time or What?

By
Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty

Last week I received an invitation from a new friend to attend a lunch. I accepted her invitation not realizing it was an old-fashioned networking lunch.

I arrived on time and was one of the first people there (you see in New Mexico tardiness is the rule not the exception). I greeted people as they arrived and I saw a few old friends I was truly happy to see.

We had lunch, listened to a guest speaker who gave a brief talk, then we passed the microphone around the room so everyone could have one minute to promote anything they wanted.

When my turn came, I talked about my listing in Alegria, Del Webb's 55 and older Active Adult Community in Bernalillo NM. I had some time left, so I finished up by telling the people there that I was an active blogger and that I was using social media like Facebook and Twitter to promote my business. I invited anyone who was interested in learning more about social media to speak with me afterward.

You could have heard a pin drop.

I guess I should have expected this, after all, this was an old-fashioned networking event.

It reminded me of something bad that had happened to me about two years ago. I had listed a home for sale. It was a very nice home. I had sold my clients the home about two years before for $395,000, they had put some new light fixtures in and some ugly granite tile counter tops and wanted to sell the home for $475,000, $80,000 more than they had bought for!

I talked them out of $475,000 and into a still over-priced $450,000 (I told them they'd be lucky to get $415,000 for the house, but of course they knew better). Believe it or not, after about 25 days we got an offer at $422,000. I was ecstatic, but the sellers wouldn't take the offer because they didn't want to move in only 21 days, it was just too fast for them!

Shortly after that, the sellers, who were supposedly my friends, fired me. When I asked why they were firing me after I had brought them such a great offer in so little time, they told me this "We need a Realtor who networks with other Realtors, has lunch with them who works the market from the inside." They also called the offer I brought them "a joke."

One thing was true, I didn't and I still don't lunch very often with other Realtors. Another thing-the offer, was no joke!

I wonder if this old-fashioned Realtor networking lunch is what the sellers who fired me had in mind. There were about 30 people there, 10 of which were from the title company that sponsored the event. I had the chance to expose my sellers listing to 20 Realtors at once! BFD!!!!

Like I said, I stood up and pumped one of my listings, because evidently that was what I was supposed to do.

When I was driving away I thought "Gee, I could have been taking some photos for a hyper-local post or I could have been researching the market in a specific neighborhood and posted intelligent original content that would be found by Google and by consumers alike." Now that would have been a good use of my time! That's because I know that with a good blog post I will reach 500 people!!!

Oh, the house that the sellers said I couldn't sell because I didn't waste my time at luncheons? It was taken over by the number one agent in Albuquerque who goes out to lunch a lot, then when it expired on her it was listed by the number two agent who goes to networking lunches too. While they were eating out every day the house lingered on the market and the last time I checked the price was down to $375,000 and it was a short sale.

Of course me former client's hardship doesn't make me happy in any way.

And hey, the food at the old-fashioned luncheon (is that what they used to call them???) was delicious so I shouldn't complain, but I am certain my time could have been much better spent for both my clients and myself if I had been blogging.

That old fashioned networking lunch was a total waste of time, don't you think?

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Rainmaker
94,079
Nancy Tallman
Summit Sotheby's International Realty - Park City, UT
Real Estate Strategist

I like to network with people who have the potential to become clients.  It's unlikely another realtor will hire me to buy or sell a home. 

Mar 30, 2010 04:37 PM #67
Rainmaker
684,397
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

I went to a couple of networking "events" in my area last year.  Oh broooother.  I'm not exactly a big drinker, but I should have known that if they are "after hours" that's what people would be doing.  I felt like I was back in college when we were all carrying false ID's.  Most people had already had quite a few and it wasn't that late when I got there.  Not exactly productive and its not fun being virtually the only stone-cold sober person in the room!

Mar 30, 2010 05:01 PM #69
Ambassador
370,076
Rich Cederberg
eXp Realty - Albuquerque, NM
eXp Realty Agent Albuquerque

To me it's about leveraging my time. Networking lunch = 30 handshakes, good blog = 400-500 Reads.

Mar 30, 2010 05:27 PM #70
Rainmaker
410,580
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease

Rich, 

It's harder working with friends, as they don't want to believe what you are telling them about their home or the market.  That's a shame that happened to them and your friendship.  

Off to hyper local blog!

All the best, Michelle

Mar 30, 2010 05:29 PM #71
Rainmaker
200,781
Joyce Thomas
REMAX Home Expert Realty - Florence, AZ
Anthem Merrill Ranch AZ Real Estate

Rich, interesting post.  I don't like those lunches either.  There typically is another motive.  We agree to co-op which means cooperate, why can't we work for our client's best interest and cooperate with other brokers no matter what company they belong to?

Mar 30, 2010 05:34 PM #72
Rainmaker
422,032
Jean Hanley
Coldwell Banker Kivett Teeters - Hemet, CA
Specializing in Folks Who Want To Buy/Sell Homes

First of all....be gleeful...you know what?   They hired a professional in the first place, and then did not let you do your job.  Shame on them.  Lesson learned???  You hope. 

Secondly, I am not much on sitting thru boring 2 hour groups, like BNI or any others.  I do, however, attend a local caravan once a month, just to keep my face in the face of some of the local agents.  I really do think it can help when you get an offer on one of their listings.

But, social media is the bomb.  Nothing beats it.

Mar 30, 2010 05:52 PM #73
Ambassador
1,303,623
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

First-- your friend should have warned you it was a networking lunch. Not nice to be blindsided like that.

Second, I speak a lot in public. I only "bombed" one time. I was used to a mixed crowd and am a Rotarian--very wicked sense of humor. All of our meetings are peppered with humor.

So I spoke at a Lions Club dinner and as I got up to speak and looked out at that sea of white men (not a woman or even slightly tan face in the crowd) I got a bit nervous.

I thanked the club for asking me to speak. I said I was honored to be there, and was especially honored to be the only woman in the room not serving the men dinner.

You could have heard a pin drop and I thought one guy in the front row was going to have a heart attack. He turned beet red and got angry.

I hurried that speech up. In Rotary that would have been funny. I guess that's why I'm not a Lion.

Mar 30, 2010 06:08 PM #74
Rainer
71,600
Pat, Ben and Martin Mullikin
Mullikin Family Realty Group Realty Executives - Integrity - Brookfield, WI

Networking on any level can work for you - it takes time, just like blogging. I feel your pain with your past client. I had a "friend", whose beautiful custom home I was fortunate to list for $980K (this was in 2007) after about 90 days we received an offer for $910K. I was thrilled, my friend was furious and insulted. He accused me of only wanting my commission. He responded to the buyer (depsite my pleas and another mutual friend's pleas to think it through first) with an equally insulting counter-offer. We lost the buyer. Fast forward two years. My friend listed the house with a competitor after telling me he just wanted it off the market for the holidays. He dropped the price to 750K and sold it for 700K - in a short sale. I felt like a failure for not being able to drive home the point two years earlier. He told another mutual friend he chose that other Realtor because she is more "dialed in" whatever the heck that means! I guess it means that she goes out to lunch and country club functions with more of the elite crowds.

Mar 30, 2010 06:34 PM #75
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899,780
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

What a heartfelt post. I bet those sellers miss getting their butts up and outta there. I'd rather be social networking online with like minded people that sitting at a horrible food lunch.

Justsayin

Mar 30, 2010 06:53 PM #76
Rainmaker
200,376
Marc Iafrate
Capital City Real Estate Group, Inc. - Raleigh, NC
MBA - Wake County Real Estate Search

You definitely have to do both.  They type of network luncheon generally attracts sellers whereas I get a lot more buyer clients from my blog.  Anytime we are out there connecting with people be it in person or across a computer scrren its a good investment,

Mar 30, 2010 06:57 PM #77
Rainmaker
425,638
Regina P. Brown
California Coast & Country Homes, Inc. - San Luis Obispo, CA
e-Pro Realtor

Rich, there is NO networking event that works -- either online or in person -- unless YOU work IT!  In other words, the fortune is in the follow up.

Mar 30, 2010 07:02 PM #79
Rainmaker
1,194,555
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

Sounds like while he was busy telling you how to do your job that he missed the best deal of all...the truth and the sale you could have brought him.

Mar 30, 2010 07:03 PM #80
Ambassador
884,311
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Networking IS good... Face to face is GREAT.  But... a bunch of agents/brokers is a waste of time. 

Mar 30, 2010 08:10 PM #81
Rainmaker
252,621
Christopher Watters
Watters International Realty, LLC. - Austin, TX
Austin Real Estate (512-298-4010)

I'd rather spend lunch on my computer blogging to an invisible crowd of prospects that find my blog on Google than goto a networking event. Face to face relationships is important, but it's hard to compete with dominating Google.

Mar 30, 2010 09:33 PM #82
Rainmaker
211,672
Nathan Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Davenport, FL
Your Central Florida Real Estate Expert

I agree with you...total waste of time. More than likely not one of those agents will be buying that home. And more than likely most of them are watching the ship pass them by. The world has changed and information flow has become light years faster. Spend 2 hours having lunch with 30 people who don't care about your listing or spend 2 hours blogging about your listing and having it seen by 100's? I'll take my chances with the internet.

Mar 30, 2010 10:53 PM #83
Rainmaker
353,829
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Broker

Got love those clients who know better than you.....we're in the internet world, it's where netorking is happening. I networked with agents in my company from 4 states today in our 3-d virtual office, picking up great tips.

Mar 30, 2010 11:16 PM #84
Rainmaker
524,725
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Congratulations on the feature Rich! What a great post, and comments too!  I didn't read them all, but I think a little face to face networking  is really not ever wasted,, even though it might seem that way.

I think a lot of Realtors forget that title people know lots of people and title people buy houses too! 

I definitely agree with you about blogging - but I think getting out from behind the screen is always good and look, you got a great lunch and  great post :-)

Mar 31, 2010 12:08 AM #85
Rainer
34,436
Carmen Brodeur
Trillium Properties, LLC - Scottsdale, AZ
Realtor & Attorney

I'm with you. Most meetings, seminars and get togethers are a total waste of my precious time. I'd rather concentrate on dominating google to let clients find me, rather then go looking for clients.

Desert Mountain Real Estate

Apr 01, 2010 01:44 AM #86
Rainmaker
562,605
Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain
Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain - Cottonwood, CA

Rich,

We're fortunate to have a networking group in Redding that is very tech savy. 

Steve

Apr 02, 2010 01:23 AM #87
Rainmaker
261,147
Bill Travis
Captain Bill Realty, LLC - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner

I don't like the realtor networking that goes on here. It's always a title company or a local lender that is simply trying to get you to refer your clients to them.

Apr 03, 2010 04:12 PM #88
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Rich Cederberg

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