Becoming a profitable networker takes time, effort and skill. Building your Center of Influence takes work! It requires you to step out of your comfort zone—and many agents and brokers still struggle with this. As head coach, I am always helping agents build their center of influence, work their database and polish their repeat and referral spoke. This is the foundational spoke of any strong real estate practice!
After all, if you could choose your next deal (or 5), wouldn’t it be a referral, a repeat client or someone who already trusts you?
But what if you’re out there doing your best and it’s still not working well for you? You could be making one of these five common networking mistakes.
Mistake # 1. Calling it in. Texting it in… emailing it in!!!
The best, most effective networking is done face to face. In an age when technology allows us to do everything online, we need to remember there’s no substitute for introducing yourself to someone in person. When you meet people in person, you get a better read on who they really are. Even if you feel you won’t be good at networking events, challenge yourself to get out there. Even if you talk to only one or two people, try to build rapport and genuinely get to know them! You may feel awkward at first, with practice you’ll soon become much more at ease.
How to fix this:
- a)Realize that Social Media like Facebook, Instagram, etc, is there to support your networking, not to replace
- b)In person networking and the on-purpose expansion of your Center of Influence takes more consistent effort, in more diverse areas than you think. You must be committed to the ongoing process.
- c)Commit to a minimum of 3 networking events or meetings per week, in several areas of interest. We recommend using MeetUp.com to find events in 3 specific categories: Personal Interests, 2. Charitable work, 3. Business Networking through specific clubs.
Here’s a short list of things to consider which are in most major markets:
Mistake #2. Treating networking as a one-way street.
People may be connecting with you because they’re genuinely interested in you, but they’re also there because they want you to listen to what they have to say. So don’t dominate the conversation. Don’t let your ego run the show!Networking is about building mutual relationships. Meet someone, get to know them, and let them learn to trust you and like you.
No one cares about your awards! They care about how you can help them!
Use your F-O-R-D Memory Jogger to run the conversation in a non-egotistical fashion, focusing on the other party! ‘Family / Occupation / Recreation / Dreams’!
Mistake #3. Expecting to get something before or without giving something of value.
It’s tempting to think of networking as a chance to make a pitch: I’ll find five people in the room and tell them I’m an expert, then I’ll get their listings… But networking is built on give-and-take, and give always comes first. Work on developing a relationship. When you do, you position yourself among successful people whose influence can help you go far. Build a reputation for being helpful in your network, and people will be keen to help you in turn. Answer when people ask for help, then go further to discover what they need and provide it proactively. Be of service first!
Mistake #4. Focusing on quantity over quality.
Too many people treat networking as a numbers game, collecting contact information without getting to know anyone. This is a mistake I see over and over again. People act as if there were a prize for the one who collects the most cards or connections. But the real prize goes to the person who’s able to make the most genuine connection, engage in the most relevant conversations, and create a memorable impression.
Appointments have more value than contacts. Don’t contract contact-itis!
Mistake #5. Failing to follow up.
This is the biggest and most common mistake of all: You go to an event and make some great connections, but you let them fade away without acting on them. Following up is the key to networking; without it, attending events and fostering connections is a waste of time. Create a specific plan for following up, and do your part to steer promising new relationships toward mutually beneficial territory. Failing to follow up means a missed opportunity to develop a potentially meaningful and profitable connection.
Done right, networking is about building relationships and connecting. It should always be about giving before you receive and learning before you speak.
HOMEWORK: Commit to 3 to 5 weekly meetups / events / etc. Concentrate on the 3 categories; Personal interests, Charitable work, Business Networking. A powerful combination might be:
-Church or Synagogue
-Adult Soccer League
-Rotary, BNI or Chamber of Commerce
-Architectural Review Committee or HOA Board etc.