What’s your current close rate for new clients? If you’re not networking face-to-face, you could be missing out on a rate of 40%. In fact, 84% of people surveyed say they prefer in-person meetings because they help to build stronger, more meaningful business relationships, allow for more complex strategic thinking and – most importantly – are a better environment for tough, timely decision-making. As a property manager, you could dramatically improve your business results by simply investing your time into strategic networking. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Be strategic about your circles.
All the networking in the world won’t do you any good if the people you’re rubbing elbows with aren’t able to add value to the relationship. As a busy property manager, your time is a precious commodity. Maximize it by making sure the networking events and activities you participate in are relevant and worthwhile.
Ask to be introduced.
The essence of networking is connecting with other people, and one of the most effective ways to do that is to ask others within your network to help you expand your circle. That is, ask to be introduced to others. A warm introduction from a mutual acquaintance can be much more impactful than simply walking up and introducing yourself. Just make sure you have a valid reason and can readily demonstrate the value that YOU can add to the potential relationship.
Plant seeds first.
Speaking of adding value, effective networking is a two-way street. Do you eventually want to gain something for yourself out of the relationship? Of course. But if you start right out of the gate asking for a job or some leads, chances are you’ll shut down any opportunity that might have existed. Instead, focus first on giving of yourself. The seeds you plant through genuine networking will one day reap a much larger harvest than any upfront pitch ever will.
Be mindful of time.
Property managers aren’t the only ones who are busy. Always be respectful of the time you’re taking of others when you’re networking. Keep in mind that there are other people they’d like to see and talk to, so don’t monopolize. Get your message across but be clear and succinct. When they start to pull away, thank them for their time and send them on their way. They’ll appreciate it and the gesture will pay off in the long run.
Find a reason to follow up.
Relationships aren’t built in one meeting. They take multiple interactions to develop and strengthen. If you’ve found someone with whom you wish to establish a rapport, create a reason to keep the conversation going. For instance, send them a link to an article you came across on a topic you discussed with a brief note about how you think it might benefit them. Making a point to touch base with your connections at least three times will help to nurture the relationship and make it even more valuable to you both.
One last note: if you really want to get positive results from your networking, you have to be willing to put in the time. After all, the term itself has the word “work” right in it. Be consistent and committed and your efforts will pay off with new property management clients, more lucrative business relationships and greater opportunities to grow your company.