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Networking is the key to your sales success. Having a solid network can be the difference between being very successful and simply getting by. By inserting yourself into different communities, you’ll get your name out and create more opportunities to strategically build your business. Here are a few tips for beginning to build an effective network.

Be a Card Taker
While you’ll want to have business cards to give out, make a habit of taking other people’s cards. This gives you the power to reach out and initiate relationships. When you get people’s information, set an expectation for when and how you’ll reach out, so they expect you.

Spend Time With New People
You should continue to maintain the relationships you have but be cautious about spending time with the same groups of people. It’s important to meet new people to expand your local reach. So spend five minutes talking to people you already know at an event and then start to mingle.

Join Local Groups
Expand your network by attending local professional organizations. These organizations typically meet weekly or biweekly and will provide you with exposure to other local professionals and business owners. Attend most of the events they offer, especially during your first year, to create a consistent presence in your community.

Attend Conferences and Events
When searching for events, prioritize those that include your target market. For example, to target young families buying single-family homes, you could attend events that attract people who are starting families. By establishing a place in this market, you can become the authority for people who are looking to purchase their first home or upgrade to a family-friendly neighborhood.

Develop a Rock Star Team
As you select vendors to refer your clients to, make sure they’re competent, trustworthy people who will also refer potential clients to you in the future. This referral-based network can include inspectors, lawyers, mortgage lenders, etc. Your team will reflect on you, so finding individuals you can rely on is integral to your success.

Create a Website and Social Media Presence
Build your credibility by creating an online presence. Use your platform to advertise your services and educate your potential clients on the industry. Social media allows you to share your content, knowledge and expertise with your clients in a format that they can easily consume.

Keep your voice authentic and don’t just use social media to sell. Supplement your postings about new listings with other content that educates potential clients about the area or home-buying trends.

Engage Your Community
Being active in your community helps to establish rapport with new people. Choose events that are true to your values and brand. You can sponsor local youth baseball teams, volunteer at a place of worship or hold educational seminars.

Your network is your key to success as a real estate agent. By forming strong local relationships, you’ll build an authentic network that drives leads.

Ashley Chorpenning is an author at ZING! by Quicken Loans. For more information, please visit