Real estate networking events don't have to be a crapshoot. With the right techniques and prep, you can build awesome professional relationships every time.
If you’re a real estate agent struggling with leads, there’s a chance you’re not making the most of your agent network. Your real estate agent network is the community of other real estate agents working in a similar field who you maintain close professional relationships with. But if you’ve stayed away from building quality relationships with other agents up until this point, you’re not alone.
Many agents worry about getting too close to their competition – especially in a fierce market. While those fears are logical, most are misguided. Pairing up allows for unique opportunities like subbing in when the other goes on vacation, sharing secondary resources such as contractors and stagers, expanding into other local niches and markets, and more. So what is there to truly be scared of? Even a single high-quality relationship with another agent can cast a wider, more open network and unlock opportunities you didn’t know existed.
Does that mean you should get closer to the competition? Yes.
Pair up with those more experienced and knowledgeable than you? That too.
Luckily, realtors are a naturally chatty group. With the right strategies and confidence, you can stand out at any networking event and build connections that will quickly diversify your business.
1. Wear Something Professional, Yet Memorable.
In a sea of white and baby blue button-downs, a slight outfit change can make a huge impact.
A colorful scarf or smart pair of shoes are visual cues that will stand out in the memories of other attendees when they think back to the event and whom they met. Think about it: are you more likely to remember the guy with the funky, green pocket squares or one of the hundreds with black briefcases?
2. Complete Your Contact Card and Be Ready to Share It.
That little snippet of information that pops up when someone texts someone else’s contact info, is called your contact card. If it’s not filled out accurately, you could be missing out on more layered and effective communication.
Here’s what we mean:
Most iPhones have 10 standard fields for each contact (and the option to add more). Yet, most people only fill out their contact information with their phone number and name. Imagine how much more value you could offer your new contact by filling out all of the fields? Forget about searching for your social profiles long after you’ve left an event or asking friends about upcoming events. Take the time to fill out every field possible so that new contacts have several avenues to get in contact with you in a matter of seconds.
3. Make Your Business Card Standout.
There’s standard business card is here to stay – no matter how advanced communication technologies have become. However, there are ways to make sure that your business cards don’t get lost in the mix with tens of other cards each attendee racks up.
Your business card should not only be professional and clear, but an accurate representation of you and what you represent. Are the colours consistent with the branding theme of your other handouts? Does your logo reflect your business style and niche?
Our Logo and Branding addon gives you a customized and unique brand image that can be shared across all of your marketing materials. Prefer to stand out with small handouts such as USBs instead of business cards? We can make sure you have the correct branding for those too. Learn more about our Logo and Branding addon.
4. Research the Attendees.
A little preparation beforehand can make the difference between a so-so work event and a memorable experience – especially if key speakers are leading the event. Think about what hyperlocal areas these agents work in and which group of clients or niche they work with most. This will help you to get a fluid conversation started and dive deeper into the conversation quicker with rich, informed questions.
5. Break Out of Your Comfort Zone.
Networking events are rare opportunities to meet people you would otherwise not cross paths with. If everyone stood back and waited to be approached, it wouldn’t be much of a “networking” event at all. Speaking with only people you’ve met before, also isn’t much more helpful. Those relationships need to be nurtured, but the key is to not get stuck in your comfort zone.
Take the chance to speak with someone you wouldn’t usually speak to and be open to new things they can share with you. There’s no risk as you can always politely end the conversation and move on. All the better if you’re the one to start and end the conversation.
6. Don’t be Scared of the Big Players.
There’s a trick to getting to those speakers who are guarded by an anxious and excited crowd: speak to them a few hours before they go on stage (or as early as possible). Assuming you’ve done some research and with these confidence tips, you can easily host a memorable, mutually beneficial conversation.
This means: a balance between praise and curiosity, listening, speaking, and not devaluing your own skills in an effort to express your admiration for the other speaker. Think about why that person would love to speak to you as much as you’d love to connect with them – and maintain that level of confidence.
7. Make Sure Your Real Estate Website is Ready.
The goal of most networking events is to gather contacts’ information and foster a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. Don’t let your low-quality website be the barrier that prevents new contacts from referring you to others.
Once visitors reach your website, they should be enticed to explore valuable tools and content that demonstrate your knowledge and expand theirs. With the right expert design team, your website can be a lead magnet that enhances your ability to draw in quality prospects effortlessly.
AgentFire real estate websites are consistently rated number one for a reason. Our team is constantly updating our web platform with affordable, effective and beautiful addons and marketing tools that are made specifically for real estate professionals. Excellent relationships with our existing clients allow us to keep our ear to the ground and provide exactly what real estate agents need to grow their business day by day in a rapidly changing market. Check out our web stacks and customized tools here.
8. Be a Good Listener (your kindergarten teacher was right).
No one likes the person who is so focused on networking, that anything non-business related disinterests them. Remember that as much as other attendees can benefit from hearing about your real estate career, no one appreciates a high-pressure, one-sided conversation. Be attentive to what is being said, regardless of whether the topic is work-related or not, and you’ll consistently get the best version of people (and the natural career benefits that follow).
The flip side is that failing to listen properly causes you to miss out on valuable knowledge that could be tremendously helpful. Listen intently and you’ll pinpoint opportunities to step in and be an awesome resource for your new contacts, and new business.
9. Don’t Shy Away From Your Success.
Real estate networking events are one of the few situations in which rambling about your career isn’t irritating – if you know how to do it properly. Take a soft approach to self-promotion instead of a hard sell. Keep name and award-dropping within relevant topics and conversations.
10. Introduce Your New Connection to Other Connections.
A network is just that: a net of working connections. The aim is for a high-quality connection to lead to other top-notch contact and so on; slowly building relationships that can all be of use to each other.
For example, if you know a home buyer looking for a property within your new contact’s niche, don’t hesitate to send them that agent’s relevant contact information. When the opportunity presents itself, you can expect them to do the same for you.
There’s no use being shy about your referral expectations, as long as you phrase them calmly and professionally. Expressing that you’d love for your new acquaintance to share relevant referrals with you is usually an obvious-enough nudge.
11. Avoid Drinking, If Possible.
Although a few drinks may make you feel more relaxed, the drunk version of you is not the one that should be attending business events. Forgetfulness, embarrassment, speaking out of turn, aggression… the downfalls of drinking at a networking event are plenty. It’s just not worth it.
12. Give More Than You Get.
Always enter social, networking environments ready to share. Beyond your own contact info and knowledge, what can you contribute? Referrals not only to prospective clients, but to other professionals such as stagers, appraisers, real estate investors, and others, can help fellow realtors save hours of time and missteps.
Then, when you’re in a pinch and need a professional to step in, you’ll already have several real estate agents ready to refer you to a reliable contact.
13. Build Connections with Non-Agents.
The thing about real estate is that everyone needs a place to live. Large real estate networking events such as the NAR Broker Summit or Inman Connect, will likely have attendees of a wide range of backgrounds within the real estate industry, such as marketers, bookkeepers, investors, and more. Although they may not sell homes, those experts are key players in the real estate industry and are absolutely worth building professional relationships with. Make an effort to meet and maintain relationships with a diverse group of real estate professionals who share your business principles and maintain a great reputation in the community.
An effortless way to maintain contact is by optimizing your CRM and newsletters. Prepare your CRM with lists for non-client contacts and provide updated and reliable local information periodically to those networking groups. You could even promote local real estate professionals through your email list and ask for the same promotion in exchange.
Our AgentFire CRM integration makes it easy to source and organize every type of contact and client in one place. Learn more about our CRM integration here.
14. Keep Your Goals in Mind.
Take a close look at your real estate business and the progression of your career up until this point. What are you specifically looking to gain from this networking event? What in your current working situation could be improved by building new professional relationships in the real estate industry? Is the primary goal to meet as many people as possible, learn new techniques, or seek out leaders who can serve as mentors?
Don’t be afraid to communicate what you are looking for casually in conversation. That partnership could be exactly what another attendee is looking for – but you’ll never know until you start asking around!
15. Find Your Networking Style.
You don’t have to be the loudest one in the room to have a rewarding and successful networking experience. Think about what already makes you successful as a real estate agent. Perhaps it’s your compassion, attention to detail, or incredible ability to sense what your clients need before they ask. Whatever comes most naturally to you and makes you feel the most confident in yourself, is what will help you stand out in any social situation.
In fact, once you acknowledge and understand your communication style, you’ll quickly find tricks to working with your communication style instead of against it.
Do you struggle in group environments? Try to be one of the first few to arrive at the event. This way, you won’t feel all eyes on you when you walk in. Instead of walking into a conversation with strangers, you’ll draw people to you and conversations will slowly build around you.
16. Consider Virtual Events.
While in-person networking allows for unique personal connections to be built easily, there is still tons of unique value in virtual networking events. Connect with out-of-town agents that wouldn’t usually be available and expand your network past the hyperlocal. An efficient and active CRM allows you to cultivate and nurture these relationships effortlessly as your career progresses.
17. Plan Your Next Networking Event with Social Media.
Stay active on social media to find out when all of the best, targeted and upcoming real estate networking events are taking place. We love the idea of using LinkedIn groups to put agents in contact with other agents as well as find local events.
To find new LinkedIn groups and the ones you’re already a part of, type relevant keywords into the search bar and select groups from the drop-down menu. For more information on how to master LinkedIn, check out this article.
18. Keep an Ear Out for Industry Insight.
It’s not uncommon for agents to fall into the trap of hyper-focusing on their niche or particular locality. In fact, that’s what we often advise agents to do. However, general knowledge about the larger nationwide and even global market, is crucial in order to predict what could be coming to your hyper-local community.
Networking events with agents in distant or nearby real estate markets can also provide insight into new tools and techniques other successful agents are using. Regardless of whether you apply the same tools or business style, it doesn’t hurt to have a more complete perspective of what’s happening in the industry around you.
19. Follow-up With Contacts.
Even the most interested prospect or associate may forget to contact you the next day. Take the initiative to follow up and follow through with the people you’ve met through networking. Don’t assume that contacts have lost interest and let the entire connection fall through.
It’s as simple as sending an email or scheduling a coffee. At the very least, your new connections will appreciate the time you took to write a personalized response (making you look extra-professional and accountable).
20. Enjoy Yourself.
The person having the most fun is undoubtedly the most magnetic. We’re not suggesting that you completely let loose (check tip # 11), but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself. Whether the event is a complete bust or a total success, congratulate yourself on trying something new.
As you learn how to network properly and make the most out of your connections, your real estate business will undoubtedly reflect the positive change. Rather than fear competition, use networking events to make it easier for agents to help each other and enrich each other’s careers. Every real estate professional wants to flourish in their business, and strategically working together is a step many agents are missing.
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