Effective Networking - On and Offline

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with www.GreenHomeRealty.com 0548772

I make it a point to read at least 3 industry articles per week, even if I just skim it for the salient points of interest. "Enough Already" (July 4th, 2012 - Rismedia) caught my attention because I feel sometimes we are pushed an pulled into social media that we really don't care to endeavor, but do so anyway. We are told it will generate leads, but we don't schedule time to learn how to use the tool or become interactive, thus it becomes a waste of time. I believe in social media, I just think that Jared makes some valid points about being effective.  But this article's span is greater than just online, it's also about effective networking.

AVOID BEING A NETWORKING JUNKIE

We all know networking junkies, and social media is no different. There's a personality type that is drawn to social media, which is not much different than networking events. I have this colleague (note I don't say friend) that is always inviting me to stuff. She's a "Marketing Director" for her husband, a lender, but really, she's just directing me to time sucking events with more affiliates biding for my valuable time and business. No offense to affiliates, but there are some networking events that open up opportunities to meet people outside of the industry (client prospects) and others that are just about the industry. I attend 2-3 events per week for non-industry referral building, limit industry events to 2 per month, and choose them by topic/subject matter that will benefit me directly. Choose strategically, choose wisely.

BE AN ENERGY GIVER, NOT AN ENERGY TAKER

I attend a networking group and they have rules - yes, rules. Its not BNI, Lord knows I'm not willing to pay for networking; I don't buy leads, but that's another topic.  There is always at least one person who says they market something, but then when you meet with them later throw out all kinds of business opportunities for you to "save money" or "make money." Or you might run into the guy who vomits all over you about their business, and never even asks you what you do or why you are there.  We should remember when we attend networking events to build a brand - be a Realtor, a Lender, a Photographer, but keep it to that. Avoid asking for business directly, instead, ask them what they do, why they are there, then tell them "I'm always meeting new people and new opportunities. Please tell me how I can help you!"

AVOID SHALLOW NETWORKING, COLLECT FRIENDS

I have read articles and books on attending as many networking events as possible to "Collect Cards - like trading cards." Just  reading it made me cringe. Honestly if a colleague has 10 Realtors in their referral book either you'll refer 10 and overwhelm people, or you'll refer 1-2 meaning that my card will only be handed out every 3-5 opportunities and that means it might not ever happen, much less a concern about to whom they'll be distributed. The goal of networking is not to collect cards, but to build meaningful relationships that results in an army of scouts for business opportunities. A good referral partner should generate a minimum of 1 referral per month. If not, they either aren't scouting, aren't thinking of you, or just don't think you are the right person for their referral network.

One of my favorite questions  is "If a friend asked you if you know of a Good Realtor, who would you refer?" The answer should be "Sure, You" or you're in trouble.

BE EFFECTIVE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA, NOT A WALL FLOWER

Social media is no different, it's just in the cloud. As part of your business plan, determine how much time you have to spend actually networking,  sprinkle in genuine fun and value, then make it part of your daily or weekly action plan.

Lastly, don't be a wall flower, get in and add content. You'll never achieve results holding up the wall! Keep in mind that Facebook wall posts scroll out of sight every 15-30 minutes depending on how many friends you have and even faster for Twitter. Keep content fresh, friendly, frequent, and relevant (couldn't think of an "f" synonym!)

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Rainmaker
965,333
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Personal Service, always.
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC

I love this and agree completely. In the beginning of the year I made it a goal to improve my effective networking.  I am not sure I am there but your post has inspired me to work harder at it! Suggested!

July 05, 2012 05:55 AM
Anonymous #2
Anonymous
Anonymous
Great job and great blog. Good luck to you and keep up the good work. Thanks.
July 05, 2012 05:55 AM
Rainmaker
525,687
Mark Loewenberg
PA 561-214-0370
Keller Williams of the Palm Beaches

really like you realtor closing question, nailed it! and yes you need to ask or you will never be in the game

July 05, 2012 05:59 AM
Ambassador
801,847
Debbie Laity
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO
Cedaredge Land Company

Hi, Cathy...all great valid points about social media. I know people that I think spend way too much time with it, and I can't see where they are getting any results that make that time worthwhile. I do enjoy it to a point. But it's time consuming. I always have someone inviting me to some new social media site, but I've already decided where I will be spending my time and efforts and that is pretty well set for the year. Next year, I will take a look at my situation and redirect where I have to.

July 05, 2012 06:05 AM
Rainmaker
1,338,693
Anita Clark
Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA
ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055

My husband says Realtors are like 5-year old soccer players (all going to the ball)...in some aspects he is right.  We see what someone has had success with and run towards it so we can get a piece of that success too, without regard for the effort it will take to achieve those results.  Like all aspects of our business, having a successful social media presence takes hard work and patience. 

July 05, 2012 06:22 AM
Rainmaker
623,925
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate
Hallmark Realtors

Good morning Cathy - great post. We do a lot of on line and off line networking and prefer BNI over less structured networking because there's only 1 realtor in the group and because everyone pays for networking, they're more committed to making it work. It's been good for about 2-3 deals a month, and the club isn't even officially started yet.

July 05, 2012 06:36 AM
Rainmaker
1,840,847
Gita Bantwal
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
RE/MAX Centre Realtors

Thank you for the inspiration. I have learned a lot from AR and it is great for networking.

July 05, 2012 06:50 AM
Rainmaker
682,908
Steve and Jan Bachman
Realtors - Northern Virginia
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax

Cathy, I do all of the social media stuff and it helps BUT most of our business and our Better business comes from personal human not electronic relationships

July 05, 2012 06:54 AM
Rainmaker
39,683
Eric Proulx
RealEstate.com

Great info Cathy. I feel like a lot of people use social media just as a form of keeping tabs on what other people are doing and don't necessarily take advantage of the relationship building power of the tool. Taking the time to understand networking sources is crucial to business especially in this day and age.

July 05, 2012 08:27 AM
Rainmaker
854,508
Donna Foerster
Metro Denver Real Estate Agent
Cherry Creek Properties, LLC

Cathy~ There are several important tips in your post today.  Remembering that networking is about building relationships is probably the most important one.  Also, that you need to make it about the person you are meeting, not about yourself.

July 05, 2012 09:56 AM
Rainmaker
686,326
Kwee Huset
Venice Florida Homes For Sale
Kwee Huset Realty

Cathy, excellent tips. I avoid industry event networking. My business is word of mouth I spend time on keeping in touch with my former customers. 

July 05, 2012 07:51 PM
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Rainmaker
360,327

Cathy Bureau

Your Personal Real Estate Concierge
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