Let’s keep it real. If you’re in the real estate business, you’re in the people business. To that end, networking is one of the pillars of success. As the old adage indicates, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” This certainly rings true in the property management industry. You can have all the skills, knowledge and experience in the world, but if you don’t have connections with the right individuals, you’ll never really reach your fullest potential. If your networking ability leaves much to be desired, here are a few expert tips.
Join some groups.
There are tons of industry-related groups to join, as well as those in complementary industries. We suggest starting with a web search on Meetup.com. There, you should find several local groups to consider joining. Narrow your options to those groups that match your specific goals. Then, try a few out to see which ones you feel most closely suit your needs.
Optimize your LinkedIn profile.
In today’s digital world, a significant amount of networking occurs online. At the very least, first impressions are often formed by an initial web search. This is why it’s so important to establish and hone your online image. A great place to start is LinkedIn. Optimize your profile by keeping it up to date, use a professional headshot, create a compelling headline and then spend some time reaching out to make those virtual connections and grow your network.
You need to give people a reason to want to connect with you. The best way to do this is to establish credibility in your field. This fosters trust and adds value, both of which are critical to successful networking. There are a number of ways you can build your reputation. We recommend joining a few online forums, creating a blog, sharing insights and becoming a thought leader. It won’t happen overnight, but over time, it’ll pay off tenfold.
Give more than you take.
The ultimate goal of your networking activities may be gaining investors and increasing your revenue, but that shouldn’t be how you approach your interactions with others. To the contrary, successful networking is built upon providing reciprocal value. Don’t go into events expecting to collect leads. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to establish relationships. Give of yourself and in doing so, you will get far more in return.
Master the follow-up.
You will rarely close a deal during a networking session. That’s why follow-up is so critical. For the most part, it’s nurturing and time that will ultimately convert. We recommend setting a deadline of no more than 48 hours to follow up with any new connections you have made, whether it’s via phone call, email or a simple LinkedIn connect request. Then, after the initial follow-up, schedule calendar reminders to keep those touchpoints going.
In the real estate and property management industry, networking can be the golden ticket to long-term, sustainable success. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Apply the five tips above over the next 6-12 months and you’ll undoubtedly see your results begin to snowball.