Do you ever attend regional or national real estate conferences? We do! Real estate conferences and conventions are great places to connect with other professionals and expand your sphere of influence. Whether you meet a fellow agent from a neighboring area with whom you can exchange referrals or a complimentary vendor you can partner with, networking is a great way to get more leads.
Of course, meeting strangers at a professional event (or anywhere!) can be tricky. It’s important to give the people you interact with the right impression and avoid social faux pas that might prevent you from doing business together in the future. How do you know what to say and what to do?
To help you perfect your networking skills and maximize your opportunities, today we’ve compiled the 8 DO’s and DON’Ts of event networking for real estate agents and brokers.
Is anything more intimidating than a stranger with a scowl? Invite conversation by smiling and making eye contact to let others know you are ready to interact. Avoid closed-off body language like tightly crossed arms or a downward gaze.
Find Common Ground
Find a common interest that you share and then talk about it – even if it’s not work related. So it turns out that you both love kayaking? Great. The other person might meet dozens of agents from your area during the event, but chances are good that they’ll only meet one agent from your area who shares their hobby. That makes you instantly more memorable! It also gives you a reason to connect in the future, if only to share a new kayaking resource or experience.
Ask How You Can Help
Instead of asking someone what they can do for you, ask what you can do for them. Say, “I’d love to learn more about what you do so I can send referrals your way.” Most people will find this approach refreshing and happily reciprocate.
Connect with your new contacts online as soon as possible. Twitter is a great way to make instant connections. See if your new contact has a Twitter profile, then tweet about how much you enjoyed meeting them to start a conversation. Once you’re back in your office, take the time to find new contacts on LinkedIn – the largest professional social network.
Forget Your Business Cards
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but we’ve all done it at some point or another. Make it easy for people to contact you after the show by remembering to pack a healthy stack of business cards. Help your business card stand out by creating an affordable custom design; we have some great business card tips and resources. If you do forget your business cards, don’t worry too much! There are some great digital alternatives that will help out in a pinch.
Resist the urge to talk negatively about your industry, your area and your competition – even if you tripped on the stairs, spilled coffee on your shirt and accidentally left your business cards at home. Everyone has bad days, but you only have once chance to make a good first impression… so shake it off!
Spend Too Much Time on Your Smartphone
It is hard to mingle if you’re glued to your smartphone. Some people may think that working on their phone during a networking event makes them looks busy and important, but we know that it discourages conversation and future relationships. If you’re too busy to talk to new contacts now – at a place and time dedicated to networking – why should they think you’ll have time for them in the future?
Of course you shouldn’t drink too much at a professional event, but you also shouldn’t eat too much (how will you talk if your mouth’s full?), talk too much (have you heard about the benefits of active listening?) or gossip too much (the real estate industry is smaller than might think). Being prone to excess is not a complimentary professional trait.
We hope these do’s and don’ts of networking events help you feel more at ease the next time you head out to a work event or a social gathering. These tips will help you make the most of networking opportunities no matter what the occasion.
Which conferences are in your future? Maybe we’ll see you there!