Effective Networking in Real Estate: Building Connections for Business Growth

A solid business is built on solid relationships, and the real estate industry is certainly one where it’s beneficial to have many trusted contacts. With so many moving parts to a real estate transaction, you need to be acquainted with fellow agents and brokers, finance and insurance folks, photographers and videographers, property inspectors, title search experts, lawyers, and the list goes on and on. These strategic connections can make your job much easier and help you boost your sales, grow your business, and advance your career. 

But how can we build these interpersonal relationships in the digital age when much of our daily communication has gone online? How can we fill the space left by in-person events that didn’t return after COVID cancellations? Both of these circumstances have led to innovations in networking, so let’s take a close look at how we can all foster stronger professional relationships in the high-tech, post-pandemic era. 

Take Advantage of Digital Networking Opportunities

The real estate industry, like many others, has undergone a substantial transformation in recent years, spurred by advancements in technology and changes in how business is conducted. The shift to digital platforms for networking has become more pronounced, emphasizing the need for a strong online presence. If you want to be a successful networker, you need to learn how to take full advantage of digital networking opportunities. 

Social media is the first tool you should use for professional networking, and platforms like X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, and especially LinkedIn have begun redefining how professionals connect and interact. If you haven’t already, you need to familiarize yourself with these social media tools and how to use them. If you’re of a certain age and honestly can’t grasp social media concepts on your own, ask for help! You don’t want to miss out on engaging with other professionals, so don’t be afraid to enlist a more tech-savvy colleague or hire a social media consultant to help you get started. 

Virtual networking events can range from business breakfasts where everyone brings their own coffee for an online morning round-table about industry trends to virtual cocktail hours where you bring something other than coffee. There are seminars, classes, and many other types of online gatherings where you can talk business, exchange contact information, and catch up with previous contacts. You should attend these events when you can to keep your name and agency/brokerage fresh in people’s minds. 

Collaborative online spaces like the forums on industry association websites can be a great place to cultivate and foster new relationships. Here, you can talk about market trends and best practices; these digital hubs are terrific for networking and can also be a tremendous source of knowledge and shared experiences. 

Email is still a popular and reliable tool for digital networking. Want to meet and form a relationship with a particular business or professional? Their email address is likely available on their website or social media profiles, and sending a professional introductory email is more likely to be well-received these days than a random cold call.

While there are some challenges posed by networking online rather than in person, it is possible to form and maintain strong professional connections via these means. You just have to be willing to forego a handshake for a friend request, a business dinner for a shared social media post, and a message notification for a meet-up. 

Meet In Person When Possible

If you’ve read my book, then you know that I am a huge proponent of facetime, and not the kind you do on an iPhone. I feel strongly that meeting people in person is the best way to make a first impression, better communicate needs and intentions, and build strong relationships. Yes, of course, I spend as much time on the phone and computer as any other real estate broker, but I will stop advocating for in-person interactions. Everyone should learn how to network face-to-face; it’s an invaluable skill with equally invaluable benefits. 

Networking events can be a little intimidating if you’re not prepared, so ready yourself by ensuring you know the correct time and place for the event and, if possible, learn who else will be attending ahead of time. For large industry expos, you might see a list of presenters and booths before the event, allowing you to strategically plan your time at the venue. If there’s a particular mortgage broker you want to speak to or a renowned home inspector you want to build a relationship with, find out when and where they’ll be at the event and make meeting them a priority. 

Initiate conversations with people who align with your professional goals and values. Join discussions, actively listen, and respectfully participate in conversations. Be sure to exchange contact information when you part ways—you don’t want to get home and realize you didn’t get a phone number or email address for someone you were having a productive conversation with. 

Follow up with people! I do feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s so easy to fall into the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ trap, and it’s a two-way street. Keep yourself fresh in people’s minds with a quick email telling them how much you enjoyed your conversation and that you hope they’ll reach out if and when they need your services or professional expertise. Don’t forget to say that you’ll do the same. It fosters a sense of reciprocity and begins to build the foundation for a working relationship. 

Technically, You’re Always Networking

Yes, that’s right. Whenever you interact with other people, whether they are clients, colleagues, or other industry professionals, you’re networking. Think about it this way—you’re not just trying to sell real estate; you’re also trying to sell yourself. Social media and other digital platforms give you a chance to curate the impression you leave on others. In-person networking events allow you to back up that impression. But it’s the everyday interactions that boost your reputation and make you the person that people seek out online and at networking events. With that in mind, you can use your strong communication skills and personable style to build yourself an incredible, lasting professional network. 

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