Posted by: Evan Tarver, Fit Small Business
Published: November 7, 2017
Knowing how to network effectively is essential if you want to be successful in real estate. Half your work is done if you have an expansive pool of potential clients because you will always know where to look for your next deal. You probably already know how crucial networking is for your business, but if you’re still struggling with leads, it’s possible that you’re not utilizing networking possibilities to the fullest potential. To help you out, we’ve put together tips and suggestions that, if done correctly, will propel your career.
Six Networks You Can Tap Into
The first step in using networking to increase your real estate leads is know where to network. Here are six of the best places to find potential clients.
1. Local Chamber of Commerce
Your local chamber of commerce is probably the mother of all networking groups. These groups proactively promote the businesses of its members and provide avenues or platforms for them to thrive in their local communities.
Chambers of commerce usually have different membership tiers. You have to make sure that you research well and ask questions before you sign up to ensure that what you choose will serve your networking needs well. Some benefits of becoming a member of a commerce group include:
- Monthly lunch-and-learns
- Special sub-groups
- Opportunities to speak
- Community events
Strict attendance at the group’s events is not required, but you will benefit more from it if you can be as active as you can. During the first year of your membership, attend most of the events and get a feel of which activities are a good fit for your real estate business. Then, think of strategies that can help maximize your exposure during these occasions.
If you do it well, your network will not be limited simply to the members of the local chamber of commerce. You will also be able to expand to the networks of each of the members with whom you can successfully connect.
2. Networking Groups
Somewhat similar to local chambers of commerce, networking groups also have regular events or meetings where you have a chance to network. The main difference between these two is that the latter typically also has political advocacies, while networking groups are mainly business-oriented. Networking groups are also more structured, and attendance is more commonly required.
There are many networking groups you can choose from, and one of the most popular is Business Network International (BNI). Membership to BNI comes with a cost, but because of the premium fees needed to become a part of this group, you gain access to a network with members that are of better quality and with higher purchasing power. There are also several networking groups that are cheaper, and some that are even free, but you might experience challenges with the quality of leads you can get.
3. Conferences and Events
Look for conferences or events that your target market is most likely to attend. The great thing about real estate is that you have a wide array of events to choose from, as almost anyone could be looking for a home or property. Of course, there are certain considerations that you want to think about before attending so that you can target people who are most likely to buy the properties you are handling.
For example, do you have a portfolio of townhouses that could match the needs of new and small families? Why not go to a “baby needs fair,” where parents are flocking to find stuff for their little ones? There’s a big possibility that the attendees are looking for a home or planning to buy a home for their family in the near future. Or, if you’re selling commercial properties, maybe you can join a “business and franchise expo,” where participants are often professionals looking to start a business who will need a commercial space soon.
4. Volunteer Groups/Charity Programs
Are you passionate about a particular cause? Are there organizations you regularly donate to? Why not volunteer some of your time to these groups or organizations? Not only will you have an opportunity to meet more people and grow your network, but you will be doing good deeds for worthy causes! As long as you make charity your primary goal, people will naturally trust you. Eventually, you could be the first person that comes to mind when they have real estate needs.
5. Your Kids’ School
Parents can easily connect with other parents at their child’s school. You’ll have an instant bond just because your kids are getting the same education. Take advantage of the opportunity to network with them—attend PTA meetings, be a part of a committee, or join school events.
Parents aren’t the only people you can network with at school. Teachers, administration, and staff can be potential leads. Just be genuinely friendly to the people you meet, be helpful as much as possible, and show people that you are someone who can be trusted. Of course, you should also make it known that you are in the real estate business (in a not so salesy manner), so that when a real estate need arises, you are top of mind.
6. Online Groups
Technology has made it easier to form, manage, and join groups. For example, there are Facebook Groups where communities for certain advocacies, interests, locations, industries, and so on thrive. Members can easily connect with each other and post relevant messages, photos, videos, or ads that can be of help to the members of the community. Joining these kinds of groups can be as easy as clicking the “Join Group” button. In some cases, you’ll need to request to join. This is the administrator’s way of maintaining the quality of members.
Once you join your target groups, you should make it a point to spend some of your time daily interacting with the community. Find opportunities where you can answer questions relevant to real estate so that other members see you as a knowledgeable authority on the subject. When members often see you interacting and sharing expert information about real estate, you are making it easy for them to remember you as the “friendly and helpful real estate expert.” It won’t be a surprise when you get direct messages every so often about real estate, and it’s up to you to convert these leads into paying clients.
Putting yourself out there, letting people know how you can help them with their real estate needs, and being strategic about how you grow your network will help your business tremendously. You are less likely to run out of leads, and you’ll have a constant stream of potential clients coming your way, if you know how and where to network. So the next time you feel like you’re scrambling on where to get your next sale, just get out there again, make new friends, and grow your network.
Evan Tarver is a small business and investments writer for Fit Small Business, fiction author, and screenwriter with experience in finance and technology. When he isn't busy scheming his next business idea, you'll find Evan holed up in a coffee shop working on the next great American fiction story.