Networking – The Art of Making Other People More Successful
The real estate business is all about strategy and expertise. It’s all about numbers and negotiation. It’s all about building trust and keeping it, getting out front, working unconventional hours, and being a people person. When it comes to success in the real estate business, we’ve all seen the faces on billboards. We’ve all been in conversations where people compare numbers and talk about goals and growth. But at the end of the day, much of our job in real estate comes down to people. It comes down to the people we know and the people we work with. It comes down to the people we meet and the relationships we invest in.
That makes networking an essential part of the job.
But networking isn’t necessarily about what we think. It’s more than handing out business cards and working a room.
Networking as Both a Skill and a Service
Most real estate agents value networking as a professional skill and a personal pastime. The mentality they have in it, however, is often self-serving. It’s a chance to meet important people or prospective buyers or sellers. It’s a chance to expand their influence and contact list. Rounds of golf and rounds of drinks are all write-offs in the name of “business development.”
But the best agents see that networking can be much bigger than a never-ending sales meeting.
The best networkers are not people who know a lot of people. They’re people who are connected to a lot of people. And that’s the difference that matters: Connection. Rather than working a room and handing out business cards, connecting with someone requires something more authentic, something more beneficial.
While many sales professionals and real estate agents are handing out business cards and sending emails to a prospective client list, consider some of these ways to make networking about more than your own business.
Host Networking Events (and even invite other real estate professionals)
Consider setting up a one time or recurring networking event that will benefit everyone who comes. Make it beneficial for people and they’ll realize that you’re someone who cares about their success, and not just your own. It will be a way for you to make your natural ability to connect with people a resource for others.
Set a weekly reminder to introduce colleagues.
Each week, find two people in your contacts list or your LinkedIn connections that you can introduce to each other. Whether it’s a mentoring connection, a marketing consultant and a business leader, or a fundraiser with a person with deep pockets or big connections, practice the art of being a connector. It forces you out of the natural tendency to be self-focused in business.
Intentionally invest in younger executives and entrepreneurs.
Spend time making the work and success of other people (particularly younger or less-experienced people) your priority. Invite them to attend a leadership lunch as your guest. Buy them a book that meant something to you. Treat them to a lunch or a happy hour with your colleagues so that they can learn to create their own networks. Include them in what it looks like to do your job and be in your network. Treat them like you’ll get nothing from them but they need you in order to succeed.
The lists and ideas of opportunities like these go on and on. The goal is not necessarily to never speak of your own work or build your own network. It’s, instead, to make your priority other people. The more you practice that in your business and your life, the more trust you’ll build with the people around you.