Networking for introverts: How real estate agents can master it

Imagine walking into a room teeming with 200 strangers. Scary, right? As an introverted real estate agent and coach, I know firsthand how challenging networking can be. I started Move Over Extroverts to teach other agents how to face their fears and clear this common hurdle. As introverts, being around others drains our energy, and we recharge our energetic batteries in solitude. But we know that real estate (or any sales industry) requires lots of talking to people, relationship-building, and networking.

Not to worry, though. Below, we’ve provided 14 powerful tips for mastering networking as an introvert in real estate (and any industry, really).

1. Choose your events strategically.

Filling your calendar will drain your mental and physical energy. It seems like a good idea, but it’s counterproductive. Instead, carefully choose events that will give you the best bang for your buck (both financially and energetically). Finding the most impactful events and groups may require some trial and error, but finding the right places to meet new potential clients and colleagues will be worth the investment.

2. Plan your energy for the day.

You will want to bring your highest and best level of energy to each networking opportunity. If an event or meeting is in the morning, keep in mind that you may be drained afterward. Block some time on your calendar for a nap or some alone time. If it’s an evening event, reserve enough energy throughout the day (limiting your meeting schedule, for example) to survive it and make it worthwhile.

3. Give yourself a timeframe.

Plan to stay for one hour or two hours. Once your time is up, you’re free to leave. This mental game is a very helpful strategy if you’re struggling just to walk in the door.

4. Set a manageable goal.

Determine how many connections you plan to make. Three? Five? Just one, perhaps? Once you hit that number, give yourself permission to leave, knowing you accomplished your goal.

5. Quality over quantity.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to talk to every person in the room. A handful of solid connections that could lead to impactful relationships over time is much more valuable than handing your card out to 100 people who will probably just throw it away.

6. Use the buddy system.

When you’re attending a new networking group and don’t know anyone, attend with a friend. Buddy up with a mortgage lender, insurance rep, or real estate attorney and work the room together. This strategy makes it much easier to approach strangers and allows you to build a deeper connection with the professional you choose as your wingman (or woman). 

7. When you need a break, take a break.

As agents, we always have the perfect excuse for stepping out of a loud room or disengaging from an overbearing extrovert — we have to “take a call” or “make a call.” Pro tip: It doesn’t have to be a real call! Pay attention to how you’re feeling, and if you need to step away and take a break from the crowd, simply hold up your phone and excuse yourself. No one will think twice.

8. Start conversations with a compliment.

Yes, approaching strangers can feel incredibly awkward. Leading with a compliment is one of the best ways to make it less awkward. Shoes, clothing, and handbags are usually safe bets, and a well-placed compliment can immediately lower the person’s guard. Feeling flattered, they are typically more open to chatting with you.

9. Look for fellow introverts in the room.

Approximately half the population are introverts, so you will not be alone. Try to spot others like you in the back of the room and around its perimeter, and approach them to strike up a conversation. If you lead with vulnerability and share how you’re feeling about the event, you’ll instantly have something in common with your fellow introverts.

10. Volunteer to check people in.

As an introvert, I love working the check-in desk. I get to see everyone (and everyone sees me), and I have a quick chat with them without getting sucked into a longer conversation. It feels transactional in the best way. Then, I can decide who I want to approach and talk to once everyone has arrived.

11. Get involved in one or two specific organizations.

Networking with people you already know is typically less intimidating than walking into a room full of people you’ve never met. While both types of networking are essential, one way to maximize your energy is to get involved in one or two organizations. When you know you’ll see familiar faces, it can be easier to enjoy and succeed in our networking efforts.

12. Follow up.

Introverts tend to go deeper with fewer people, and following up with some of the people you meet at networking events is the key to building deep relationships. A handwritten note is a memorable and easy way to keep in touch.

13. Host your own event.

Hosting an event might sound even more intimidating, but it’s actually a great way to network. As the host, you’re completely in control. You choose the day, time, duration, venue, music, food, and how the event runs.

14. Relax, breathe, and have fun.

Remember that everyone you meet is simply a person with their own insecurities, concerns, and worries. Take the pressure off yourself to say the right thing because there is no right thing. Relax, breathe, and have fun. Then go home and take a nap!

For years, I personally struggled with overextending myself at networking events and finally learned how to manage my energy to maximize my productivity. I hope these tips help you make the most of your networking activities and build your business without burning out in social settings.

For additional support, I invite you to join The Quiet Success Club and our virtual monthly meetings. We include role-play sessions specifically for introverted real estate agents. It’s a great way to share your networking challenges and get even more ideas from agents like yourself.

To find each other at your next real estate event or conference, check out our introvert swag to wear at networking events.



Ashley Harwood photo

About Ashley Harwood

Ashley Harwood began her real estate career in 2013 and built a six-figure business as a solo agent before launching Move Over Extroverts in 2018. She developed training materials, classes, and coaching programs for her fellow introverts. Ashley currently serves as Director of Agent Growth for three Keller Williams offices in the Boston metro area. She is the creator of The Quiet Success curriculum and has taught thousands of real estate agents across the country, has been a guest speaker at top industry events, and has been named a leading real estate coach by prominent industry publications.

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