Networking. A delight for some, a nightmare for others. Whatever your feelings are about networking, it is an essential part of being a real estate agent. However, just because it’s necessary, doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun and personally fulfilling as well. We asked real estate agents across the country for some tips about how to network more effectively and consistently. Here are just some of the tips that they provided.
- Get Involved in the Community
Getting known in your community as a person is probably more important than getting known as a real estate agent, especially when you’re just starting out in the business. Of course, you want people to know that you’re an agent (and there are easy ways to drop that into your conversations without coming across as too pushy), and you want to be front-of-mind when an acquaintance of yours decides to buy or sell a home. If that’s going to happen, you need to get involved in your community. Whether it’s volunteering (see tip No. 3), or joining the board of a local organization, or just being out and about, getting involved in the community helps you establish trust and credibility with future clients.
“Join the local Chamber of Commerce and go to every networking event they sponsor! You’ll make lots of valuable contacts for future business AND referrals!” – Annette R.
“As a licensee, one of my main concerns is networking. A more proactive initiative I have also made for networking purposes is that I have joined the app called “Meet-Up” to find groups of like-minded people around town who enjoy doing the same activities, as well as going to real estate workshops and networking events for professionals. I do this by talking to everybody, everywhere from the grocery store, to my gym, yoga studio, vet, dentist, doctor, family friends, friends, my parents’ friends, waitresses, at bars and restaurants, people working at stores, and farmers markets. You never know who you are going to meet, or who the people you meet know. It’s easy to throw in that I am in real estate in a casual way, without coming on as pushy or annoying.” – Kira K.
- Knock on Doors
While it may not be the most fun way to meet new people, it can be highly effective, especially for those just starting out or for those who have moved to a new town and want to hit the ground running. However, handing out marketing materials to strangers at their front door may not be the best way to introduce yourself. Figure out how you can stand out from the crowd and not just be “another real estate agent.” This could be something you are passionate about or something unique to your career and life experience. People want to see that you are a well-rounded person with interests outside of your real estate business. In no time, you’ll be remembered as the real estate agent who brews his own beer, or trains dogs on the side or whose family has been in the town for five generations. What makes you unique, makes you memorable.
“My best way to get new business is door knocking. It’s a great way to meet new people who are outside of your network and it has never failed me. Where I live, everyone has a dog. Why not cater to the large market of dog lovers? People are much more open to hearing my front door spiel when I have a little gift for their furry friend. I attach my business card to little bags of dog treats. It’s an easy way to get my foot in the door and people are more likely to give me a little more of their time.” – Shane W.
Volunteering is perhaps the best way to network with people in your community and market yourself as someone who cares at the same time. Volunteer for a cause that you feel passionate about or start your own charity! If you’re already an active volunteer, don’t be shy about it. Post pictures of you volunteering on your real estate business’s social media accounts and include them in your newsletter. This is a great way to show that you give back as well as give the charity or volunteer organization some added attention and awareness.
“I volunteer for local groups (i.e., merchants’ associations) that will allow me to talk about my business, as opposed to paying for advertising or a booth at an event. This keeps my marketing costs down and improves my visibility in the community—not to mention, it is a great way to give back to my community.” – Mary D.
“As real estate agents, we have flexible schedules that allow us to volunteer at local schools during the day when most people can’t take the time off. Ask local schools how you can assist. Offer to teach a Junior Achievement Class or make copies or work a field day. Sponsor and/or volunteer at a Teacher Appreciation Lunch, Honor Roll Celebration, PTO event, etc. Your sponsorship will be posted by the school on their website, at the event, on event promotional material, etc., and teachers, parents and the community will begin to put a name with a face and a service.” – Sybil O.
“Join your civic organizations for quality contacts that make a difference and give back to your community! Everybody wins!” – Denise B.
- Seek Out Other Real Estate Agents
Networking with professionals in your industry is important for every profession, including real estate. If you’re just starting out, see if you can find a mentor. Whether it’s someone in the same brokerage or the top agent in your market, it never hurts to ask. Who knows, they may even ask you to be on their real estate team! If you’re a bit more established in your career and don’t want to “trade secrets” with your competition, go outside your market. Networking with agents in different cities or states is a great way to set up referral networks that are mutually beneficial.
“I network with out-of-town agents. When I travel, I set an appointment or two to meet agents in the area. I let them know I am looking to establish referral relationships. After our meeting, I will follow up with the information from my service area and will add them to my referral database. Staying in touch keeps me on top of their referral list, too. I love to pass on referrals, and it provides me with an opportunity to share this success with my buyer and sellers. I want to become the go-to real estate professional locally and beyond.” – Weymouth M.
Do you have a trick of the real estate trade? Let us know!
McKissock Learning is the nation’s premier online real estate school, providing continuing education courses and professional development to hundreds of thousands of real estate agents across the country. As part of the Colibri Real Estate family of premier education brands, McKissock Learning, along with its sister schools Real Estate Express, Superior School of Real Estate, Allied Schools, The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Gold Coast Schools, The Rockwell Institute and Hondros Education Group, helps real estate professionals achieve sustainable success throughout each stage of their real estate career. Learn more at mckissock.com/real-estate.