How To Build Your Network as a New REALTOR® [Quick Start Guide]
Networking Strategies for Meeting New People
Best practices for REALTORs®
As a new real estate agent, you know the importance of building a network of people around you who will refer you business. This will likely be your largest source of business as time goes on in your career, but how do you go about building your network and meeting more people in real estate?
After reading this quick start guide, you will be ready to start building your network today and you will have ideas you can put into action right away.
The Importance of Your Network
“Your network equals your net worth”
This is a common line in sales that ties the number of quality relationships you have directly to your financial position and in real estate, this could not be truer.
Talk to any agent in your office and ask where the majority of their business has come from over the years and you will hear “my database”.
This is the largest source of business for most real estate agents, however, most agents don’t know much about building their network.
Before we dive into the strategies, let’s first discuss some of the thoughts going through your head right now.
Are you catching yourself saying any of the following in your mind?
My network is small.
I’m new to town and don’t know anyone yet.
I am an introvert so I don’t like going to events or being around large groups of people.
I’m too ____(fill in the blank - young, old, shy, proud, etc) to build my network.
We have heard it all at Rev Real Estate School, and, in fact, I started in real estate with a small network, in a new town, and as an introvert.
If these thoughts are going through your head, that is fine, below, we will discuss how to approach these thoughts.
Another mental hurdle for us is overcoming what we “think” network is in today’s world. As humans, we want to be part of the group, but we also feel like the word “networking” is “salesy” or inauthentic. When we think about a networking event, we can just picture the uncomfortable conversations with that one person that is walking around handing out a stack of cards to everyone.
Don’t worry! This is not networking and building connections are not about a card exchange at all. It is all about making a friend and helping. It is about having a conversation with another human being and not making it all about real estate.
Approach every conversation with an inquisitive mind, drop your expectations, and try to make a new friend.
This is what networking is all about in today’s world
It’s all about an inquisitive mind, no expectations, and making a new friend.
Let’s squash the limiting beliefs
If you are focusing on an inquisitive mind, no expectations, and making a new friend some of your limiting beliefs might vanish even before you get started.
For each of our beliefs above, let’s remove the limiting beliefs with a new way of thinking
My network is small. Ok, so you think you have a smaller network. It’s not about the number of people you start with right now, it’s about the number of people and the quality of the relationships in the coming years. A small network is great because you can start forming strategic relationships right off the bat. If you have a smaller network, your focus will be adding more people to your database.
I’m new to town and don’t know anyone yet. Being new to town is great! You have a blank slate and you can start brainstorming ideas on you want to meet new people. Many successful agents build their business from scratch in new towns. If you are new to town, your focus will be on adding more people to your database. Make sure you run through your 10 Step Business Plan.
I am an introvert so I don’t like going to events or being around large groups of people. Being an introvert can be a huge advantage. Real estate is a deeply personal process and as an introvert, you are better suited for one on one personal conversations without the fluff. Do look determine if you are introverted, shy, or a combination of both. If you are shy, then focus on building your confidence and slowly increasing your conversation. If you are introverted, start to plan ideas to meet new people around things you really like to do.
I’m too ____ fill in the blank - young, old, shy, proud, etc) to build my network. No way! If you’re young and your friends aren’t buying homes, they will be soon. If you are jumping into real estate later in life, you are at an advantage because homeowners will likely trust your maturity. If you are shy or proud, that can be worked on with a plan
The final belief is you do not want to be “salesy” or pushy or inauthentic. This is perfect because none of our sales training follows this approach!
Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty
Building your database and meeting new people in real estate is a long-term game. You don’t go to one event and leave with 10 hot real estate leads. You build these connections over time as you being to know each other.
We are motivated to want everything now, but real estate is a long haul, so approach your network in the same light.
Since building relationships are long-term, we need to be focused on everyone we are meeting and not just those that have an interest in selling or buying in the near future.
There is a saying that you should “dig your well before you need water”. With building your network, you should build your network before you need the business.
Coming back to our mindset of an inquisitive mind, no expectations, and making new friends, nowhere do we say focus only on those that mention buying or selling real estate.
One of the most beautiful things about real estate is almost everyone buys or sells in their lifetime, so you don’t just need to hunt the leads, you can also farm your database so you are the logical choice when it does come time to buy or sell.
Focus on digging your well every day and you will have a full stream of business in the future.
Where to Meet People
Your limiting beliefs have been challenged and you now appreciate the importance of meeting people even if they don’t need to buy and sell. Now, where do we go to meet people?
Let’s explore some ideas! First, let’s understand buying window and commercial intent. When meeting new people, you may be meeting them when they are close to a transaction (open house, buyer/seller seminar, online lead, referral, etc) or on a personal level where they are not met under conditions that signal a buying window (social gathering, sports events, networking events, professional events, etc)
As a real estate agent, you should be looking to meet people with both commercial intent and those that are not in the buying window. Which is more important?
Honestly, we believe that it’s more important to meet people that are NOT in the buying window. Don’t get me wrong, open houses, seminars, and leads are important but meeting new people that will buy and sell in far future usually makes for a more natural conversation and you can meet new people on your own terms.
A strategic networking plan will combine both those groups of consumers with commercial intent and groups that are not looking to buy.
As you move through this list, pick a few ideas that you want to focus on and stick to it. If after a few sessions, you don’t care for that way of networking, no worries, scrap it and try another way.
Networking Quick Start
Before The Event
Prepare your mindset to show up coming from a place of how you can help others and connect versus what you can get from them.
Lose your expectations of trying to get business from the event.
Research the event and venue. Many conversations come from the event style and venue.
Quickly scan some local headlines to know what is happening in the world. Conversations can come from what is happening in the world and industry.
Wear an item of clothing that is a conversation starter. (Fun tie, pin, interesting shoes)
Prepare yourself for an answer to, “how is the market?”
At The Event
Enthusiasm, Confidence, and a Smile.
Understand that people are there to chat and they want to meet you as well.
Use the best icebreaker in the books: “Hi, I’m Mike.”
Search for commonalities. Hobbies, interests, the event food, the venue, etc. Use conversational ammo. For example, if someone brings up eating popcorn at the hockey game on Saturday, the potential ammo you can use is “popcorn”, “sports”, “hockey”, “the weekend”
Introduce yourself to the staff. They can be great to chat with. Plus they need homes too.
Don’t interrupt 2 people that are talking. 3+ Is usually fine.
Ask people about Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams (FORD)
Introduce yourself to the host. They will likely introduce you to someone else
Use hand gestures when you are speaking
Use Ben Franklin’s Trick. Request a favor. People tend to like those more after they have done a favor for you.
Talk to those that are not talking to anyone. They are looking to chat as well.
Hang out at the exit to the bar. People that just grabbed a fresh drink are ready to mingle.
Don’t hang out by the bathroom! People are on a mission here.
Don’t let your eyes wander during a conversation. Focus solely on the person you are chatting with.
Have a few stories lined up. People love stories!
The best way to get out of a conversation is to simply say “Well, it was great meeting you” and put out your hand! Easy!
After The Event
Don’t rush the relationship. Building a connection with someone takes time. Trust the process.
Pat yourself on the back for attending. It’s all about effort, not perfection.
Follow up with everyone within 24 hours.
Don’t push another follow-up, meeting, pitch, or any business related. Just let them know it was great meeting them.
Plan your next event! Building relationships are about running into these people again and again.
Pro Tip: Usually the person that talks the most thinks the conversation went best. Ask questions and engage the other person.
Follow Up Reading:
What are your favorite tips for networking? Let us know in the comments below!