As a real estate agent, you’ve probably heard the word “networking” more times than you can count. And though the idea of networking can strike terror in the hearts of some and provoke cynical eye-rolling from others, the fact remains that it’s critical to success in every aspect of a real estate transaction, from lead generation to closing the deal. If you’re unsure of what it looks like to successfully grow your network, check out our tips below and you’ll be growing like a pro in no time.
1) Attend Events with Industry Professionals
One of the most effective ways to expand your network is by attending networking events with professionals from all corners of the real estate industry: agents, brokers, affiliated businesses and investors. And although it may sound counterintuitive to network with people who may be competition, other agents could be a major key for opening up new doors for referrals or discovering marketing strategies that work. New agents are often pleasantly surprised by how willing veteran agents are to share knowledge or even create informal mentoring relationships.
So what kind of events should you attend? On a local scale, consider connecting with other agents in your area by attending events hosted by your brokerage or local community. Here at HomeSmart, we host agent mixers on a regular basis so that they always have the opportunity to connect with and learn from others in the area. It can also be incredibly helpful to gain insight from professionals around the country at nationwide conferences. HomeSmart always makes its presence known at the annual National Association of REALTORS® Conference & Expo, which brings together the best-of-the-best speakers and a community of eager, like-minded agents.
2) Get Involved in Your Community
While attending industry events is a great way to expand your agent network, getting involved in your community is useful for growing your client network. If you do business in the same area you live, then the best way to reach your target audience is by making yourself present. Start small by attending local charity events and family-friendly community events so that you can get to know your neighbors without the pressure of being all-business. This will also help you brainstorm different ways that you can personally help your community.
Once you feel like you know your community and their needs, consider creating your own event for the community to get involved in. For example, you could host a canned food drive with your office or home as the drop-off spot, or maybe set up a volunteering event at your local food bank; these events would help the community at large but still allow you to personally connect with potential clients. Instead of volunteering, you could also host a neighborhood get-together in a local park or meeting area. This works great if you give it a theme; a summer barbecue, fall festival, or holiday happy hour are just a few examples.
When you get involved in the community, you’ll not only make your name known, but also people will associate you with good deeds and fun events. Even if your involvement has nothing to do with your real estate business, the connections you’ll make and word-of-mouth referrals you’ll receive will certainly help your business grow.
3) Link Up with Local Businesses
While it might sound obvious to network with agents and clients, don’t forget to connect with all of the other businesses involved in a real estate transaction! Lenders, escrow officers, home inspectors and movers are just a few examples of additional parties that you should network with to increase your business and streamline the transaction process.
The first and most important step in building a network of trusted companies is simply reaching out. There are several ways to do this: you can invite them to open houses, offer to exchange advertising or simply shoot them a quick email or phone call introducing yourself. Local businesses often rely on real estate agents as much as you rely on them, so your effort in reaching out to them won’t go unnoticed.
As you begin forming these relationships, you’ll notice several benefits to your business. First, you can count on a team of trusted companies to provide seamless transactions and a high level of service to your clients. You can also refer your clients to them, and you’ll generate leads when they refer their clients to you. Real estate is a relationship-based industry, and forming these mutually beneficial associations is an important step toward real estate success.
4) Don't Forget Social Media
Today, online networking is just as important as making in-person connections. One of the easiest ways to grow your network with agents and clients alike is through social media. Certain platforms, like LinkedIn, lend themselves to industry-specific relationships and can be a great way to digitally meet other agents and businesses in your area. Other platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, can help you connect with professionals but are even more beneficial for connecting with potential clients.
Whichever platforms you decide to use, you’ll have the greatest success in growing your network if you’re active online. From a professional standpoint, make sure to update your LinkedIn profile so that you can find relevant connections and be recommended to others. On all of your social media accounts, post consistent, high-quality content to appear in others’ feeds and spark conversations. And apart from your own content, be sure to interact with and follow others in the industry along with those in your community to get your name out there.
Though its benefits are undeniable, social media isn’t the only way to grow your network online. There are several online programs designed to help agents easily expand their reach, many of which are completely free to use. Check out HomeSmart’s Business Builder webinar featuring Referral Book as an example; this platform facilitates referrals by connecting you with a circle of local businesses that you can leverage in your transactions. The bottom line here is that there are so many ways to grow your network online. Whether you’re a social media superstar or prefer using a program like Referral Book, there’s no doubt that you’ll grow your network and your business much more efficiently if you take advantage of what the Internet has to offer.