How can you connect with, communicate with, and support your network to foster strong relationships and build your real estate career? With so much emphasis today on building profiles and pursuing social networks, people are more accessible than ever and boundaries have been blurred due to varying standards about what is considered appropriate, acceptable, and effective.
However, there are still social rules of etiquette that hold true in the networking professional world, especially in the real estate industry. In the same way you prepare for a client meeting, pitch, or interview, networking is not something you should approach cold. You should do your research, know your audience, and understand your goal.
For example, let’s say there’s a real estate industry leader with whom you’d love to be able to talk to but you don’t know them directly or anyone who could introduce you. Utilize LinkedIn! Find a reason to reach out to them – whether it’s a CRE LinkedIn Group you’re both a part of or something in their profile you have in common with them that could be used as a conversation starter. Make sure to approach this person with a specific purpose or question to increase the likelihood of receiving a response. This could be to ask for information you need for a project, to set up a meeting, to ask for specific advice, or to request an introduction to another person.
Another great way to network is to go to commercial real estate networking events in your area. This is a great way to get out of your comfort zone from behind the computer and meet new people in the industry. Here are some easy steps to get the most out of each networking event:
- When you attend an event, know what you want to get out of it before you go, with an objective in mind about what success means.
- If you’re an introvert and struggle with networking, when going to an event, rather than standing in the corner, push yourself out of your comfort zone and stand in the center where you’re meeting people at every turn.
- Make sure to be interested in who your talking with! One of the easiest ways to do this is to ask them open ended questions.
- Focus on trying to listen more than you talk. When talking to them, repeat their name back to them.
- Make sure to exchange contacts, and follow up with a phone-call, coffee meeting, or a simple invitation to connect on LinkedIn.
The ability to find, cultivate and maintain connections in the real estate industry can give people an edge, no matter what field they’re in. Ultimately, putting in the time and effort to network and grow relationships is a vital part of advancing your career in real estate.