Networking is essential for building relationship and referral-based businesses. While every real estate agent understands the value of networking, some are more effective than others. Whether you are at an enormous convention like Keller Williams Mega Camp or attending a small local gathering, these 10 networking tips will help you make the most of your time and conversations.
Practice, especially if you don’t like networking or you are shy.
Find someone who will role play with you and help you practice different scripts that concisely introduce you and your business to others. By planning starter conversations in advance, you will go into the networking event with more ease and confidence. Here are a few ice-breaker conversations from Christy Belt-Grossman, chief operating officer of The Belt Team, to get you started:
- “What’s the ONE Thing you’re here to learn this week?”
- “What was your biggest accomplishment last year, and what’s your biggest challenge this year?”
- “Where are you from and what does your team look like?”
- “What was the best book you read last year and what are you reading now?”
- “Tell me about the breakouts you went to yesterday.”
- “What’s your best aha so far?”
"Remember, you’re surrounded by people who make their living in sales: a relationship business. So chances are if you start the conversation, they’ll run with it. Piece of cake," she says.
Start with talking about yourself, not your business.
Even though the main goal of networking is to get the other person to have confidence in you and your services, don’t lead conversations with talking about your business. Allow the person you are talking with to get to know you as a person before you shift to telling them about your business. People do business with people, not companies.
Set a goal.
Prior to attending any event, set a goal for how many contacts you want to make. Do not stop working the room until you have met your goal.
Download Kelle immediately and add agents to your referral network.
With Agent-to-Agent Referrals, you have instant access to the largest referral network in the industry through Kelle - your AI-powered, virtual assistant. Referrals allows you to send, receive and track referrals with ease allowing you to offer immediate value to every connection you make. After you've downloaded Kelle, add KW contacts with this simple voice/text command: Add [first/last name] to my referral network. Make sure to type a personal message when you send your request.
Spruce up your KWConnect profile.
Make a top-notch digital impression by spending a few minutes to make sure your KWConnect profile (what appears in Kelle searches) is up to snuff. Upload a high-resolution photo and make sure you're communicating your unique value on your About Me section.. Here's an awesome KWConnect user profile if you're looking for some inspiration!
Know in advance who you want to meet.
Before you head out to the networking event, do your homework and see who will be there. If you are comfortable doing so, before the event, reach out to the people you want to meet. Look up fellow Keller Williams agents through White Pages. Send them an email introducing yourself and why you would like to meet them at the event.. Be specific in your request and suggest a day, time and place. Keep the initial meeting to 30 minutes or less. If you suggest anything longer, such as lunch, they may decline for lack of time.
If you'd like to maximize the effectiveness of your networking experience, follow-up. Send a personalized email 24-48 hours after meeting your contact, reflecting on what was discussed. If you don't receive a response, try calling. Don't be offended if you don't hear back right away. There could be a million reasons why someone hasn't replied to you.
Go light on the alcohol.
Many networking events include drinks. While a glass of wine may take a little bit of the edge off, having too many can cause you to embarrass yourself. Pace your consumption and be sure to eat food. Networking is like a job interview and you wouldn’t drink at a job interview would you?
Bring breath mints, not gum.
You want to have fresh breath, but you don’t want to be chewing on anything while you are talking.
Let your natural personality shine and just be yourself. Try to enjoy meeting new people and enjoy your time networking. People will sense that you are genuine and you will have more networking success.
Photography: Josh Baker