5 Ways to Improve Your Networking SkillsBy Paul Esajian on January 25, 2019
In real estate, and in life, connections matter. The most successful investors have spent years cultivating relationships they use every day. It is not a stretch to say that the more people you know, the better your business will be. If you are just finding your way in real estate, it can be uncomfortable and intimidating trying to connect with like minded people. You may feel you don’t know enough or have done enough to carry a conversation. The reality is that there are many people in the exact same shoes as you. The key is to show up, find your niche and stick with it. Over time you will find people who you like and trust that become valuable connections. If you don’t put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone you will never have the necessary networking results. Here are five tips to help improve your networking.
- Go to Networking Events. Half of life is showing up. You can make plans and have the best intentions but unless you follow through it doesn’t make a difference. The simplest thing you can do to improve your networking is go to networking events. In almost every area there are weekly or monthly networking events you can attend. Some are specifically investing related while others are for local networking. You should view these as a long-term return on your time and business. You may not get a deal immediately from them, but by making the commitment to show up you will eventually see results. You never know when you will meet someone who will completely change your business. All it takes is one person with access to capital or who is looking for a partnership to take your business in a different direction. None of this happens unless you show up and continue to do so regardless of the short-term results.
- Make a Connection. It can be intimidating walking into a networking room or an investment club if you have never done it before. Instead of trying to make a splash and connect with everyone, narrow your focus. You are not running for office or trying to get a word in with the entire room. You are much better off picking and choosing your battles. Find someone who looks as uncomfortable as you and go introduce yourself. Instead of treating it like speed dating you should look to build a relationship. Ask questions about their business, personal life and interests. You don’t have to act like a reporter but make the conversation about them. Instead of waiting to speak, you should listen to the answers and go from there. Even if you only talk to one or two people every meeting or event you will get more out of it with this approach. The next time you see them, they will remember the conversation and you can build your relationship from there.
- Connect Socially. It wasn’t that long ago that when you met someone you exchanged business cards and went from there. While the business card is still somewhat in vogue, it is not nearly as important as it once was. Today, with the increase in technology you need to connect on all the various social media platforms. Don’t be afraid to take the initiative to reach out on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and any other medium you can think of. By sending a request to connect you further the relationship and can start the process of exchanging business. You would be surprised at how much impact a few liked or shared posts can have. Every day they will see your name and subconsciously want to work with you. In today’s world if you are not connected online, you are missing out on a prime opportunity to network.
- Set Up a Meeting. Connecting online and in person at networking events is great, but at some point, you should take the next step. The logical next step is a one on one meeting. Your meeting doesn’t have to be a big elaborate event. It can be something as simple as sharing a few minutes in your office or grabbing a quick cup of coffee. In your meeting you should continue to ask plenty of questions and focus on the answers. However, you should also touch on business topics, so you get a feel of your goals and whether you could work together. At the end of the meeting you should have a pretty good idea of if you are a good business fit. If so, continue to build on the relationship and either sit up another meeting or start exploring potential projects.
- Persistence Networking doesn’t happen overnight. The reality is that it usually takes much longer than you think. Unless you hit it off with someone, you probably must show up for weeks, even months, before you see any results. You should give yourself a good six months before you make any networking determinations. There will some events and meetings that are a better fit than others, but you need to put the time in regardless of the initial results. Like anything else, the more people see and talk to you the more comfortable they will be. Eventually they will refer you deals or want to work with you on a project and you can take it from there.
Networking is a necessary evil. It is not a stretch to say that it can be one of the pillars of your business. Use these five tips to help improve your networking success.