The ultimate guide to real estate networking

Networking can be intimidating for some real estate agents. It is an extremely broad term that encompasses many types of activities — from attending speed networking events (think: speed dating but for entrepreneurs) to stopping by your friend’s summer barbecue. Yet real estate networking doesn’t have to be scary. At its core, networking is simply meeting new people and building relationships with some of them.

We’ll dive into strategies for both online and IRL networking, expert tips for networking successfully, secrets specifically for introverts, and where to find new potential real estate clients.

Online real estate networking strategies

Whether you’re sharing tips on social media or attending an online networking event, you’ll want to be sure you’re presenting yourself in the best light possible. For virtual events, that means:

  • Keep your camera on 
  • Ensure your background is appropriate
  • Use the chat function to connect with individuals or comment to the entire group
  • Remember to save the chat (if using Zoom) towards the end of the meeting
  • If you’re the one hosting the event, require attendees to register in advance – this will allow you to know your headcount ahead of time and capture their contact information

IRL real estate networking strategies 

Real estate networking at a backyard barbecue
  • Dress comfortably yet professionally, in keeping with your own personal style and brand
  • Maintain eye contact and show active listening using head nods, smiles, and affirmative language
  • Keep the conversation focused on the person you’re talking to
  • Ask open-ended questions 
  • Always ask for someone’s business card or contact information, and only hand out your card if someone asks for it

Expert networking tips for every event & occasion

Come with a plan. What’s your goal in attending the event? Who are you looking to meet? In some cases, you may be able to research ahead of time and find out who else will be in attendance.

Provide value. Once you’ve engaged in conversation, make it all about the other person. How can you help them? Who do they want to be introduced to?

Follow up, follow up, follow up. Write notes on your phone after each conversation to remember what you talked about, then when you get back to your office, send each person a handwritten note. A simple “nice to meet you” note in the mail makes a lasting impression.

Build the relationship. You likely won’t click with every person you meet, but the ones who you do have a good connection with, reach out and invite them to have coffee or lunch.

Remember: networking is a long-game. It’s all about building relationships. 

Secrets of real estate networking for introverts

Move-Over-Extroverts-Facebook-Page (screenshot)

This section is for those agents who, like myself, are more introverted. For us, networking may not come as naturally as it does to our extroverted colleagues. That’s ok! Introverts can still successfully network to find clients. Here are a few ways to do so:

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.

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 tool if you’re struggling just to walk in the door.

Plan your energy for the day. If the event is in the morning, know you may be drained afterward. Maybe a nap will be necessary. If it’s an evening event, reserve enough energy throughout the day to survive the event and make it worthwhile.

Real estate networking events — where to meet new clients IRL

Some networking events will put you in front of potential buyers and sellers directly, while others will provide opportunities to meet people who may never need to buy or sell their home, but who may become excellent referral sources over the years.

Treat any event, even a social event, as a networking opportunity. Look for ways to connect with people, share the unique ways you help your clients, and find a way to stay in touch with your new conteacts. Remaining top of mind with the people you meet is key — the magic is in the follow up.

Where do you go to meet new people? Below, here are some of our favorite types of real estate networking events:

1. Business networking groups

BNI (Business Networking International – a worldwide referral group), Chambers of Commerce, or young professionals groups. These will be more professionally focused. The upside: everyone there will be looking to have business conversations. The downside: there will likely be lots of other real estate agents there.

2. Social clubs

Think college alumni events, religious organizations, gardening clubs, etc. These are typically less business-focused yet can be excellent ways to meet new people. Having something in common with everyone else there makes it easier to strike up conversations with strangers, as well. It gives you a talking point and actually provides a level of trust automatically.

3. Fitness groups

Crossfit, yoga studios, hiking clubs, or intramural sports leagues. Physical activity has a way of bonding people so networking with people at your preferred fitness group is smart. Bonus: if the group meets regularly, your follow-up is built-in!

4. Home and garden expos

Homeowners looking to fix up their properties, potentially to sell down the road, will typically attend these types of expos. Attend as a participant or you may even choose to invest in a booth as a vendor.

5. Wedding expos

Many couples think about buying their first homes during this phase of life. Some couples may even need to sell two condos and buy a large single-family home in the suburbs. Either way, having a vendor booth at a wedding expo is a great way to meet potential buyers and sellers.

6. Investor meetups

Working with investors is an entirely different aspect of real estate compared to working with homeowners, yet it can be a very smart (and lucrative) industry sector to serve. While most homeowners only move once every five to 10 years, some investors purchase multiple properties every year, meaning more transactions for you from the same client., Eventbrite, and Facebook are great places to find local investor meetups. Many investor meetings are free to attend and open to all. Keep in mind: some investors could be skeptical of real estate agents at first, so it’s even more important to lead with value and avoid sounding like a pushy salesperson.

Research local community events to attend or consider having a booth at some of them, if appropriate and allowed. Some examples: Harvest festivals, holiday craft fairs, farmers’ markets, parades, fireworks shows around the 4th of July, and community volunteer days.

Where to find them? Most cities will have an events section on their website. Getting involved in local Facebook groups will be beneficial for finding upcoming events, as well. Better yet — find out about the events first and be the source! Community events make excellent content for your monthly newsletter and social media pages.

8. Real estate conferences

Why would you want to network with other agents? Referrals! Creating solid referral relationships with other real estate agents is an amazing opportunity to earn more money through sending outbound referrals and to close more business by being the go-to agent for inbound referrals in your area.

Real estate networking is an effective way to find new clients and stay in touch with people you already know. It may seem scary at first, but it’s very simple. Build relationships, look for opportunities to help people, and show your value in every conversation with those you meet. With enough conversations (and keeping in touch, of course), you’ll see your business grow. 

Happy networking!

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