Let’s face it – meeting people face to face is a huge part of growing your client list. Whether you’re a real estate agent, mortgage broker or lender, your ability to network is paramount to generating leads and growing sales. SO, if you’re looking to become a great networker or brush up your skills, here’s some of our best networking advice.
1. Make a Plan
Growing your professional network won’t happen by luck. If you want to drastically improve prospecting, make a strategic plan for networking. First outline your goals, then create your plan. This could include a list of events to attend, organizations to join, types of business contacts you’d like to meet, specific people to meet, etc.
2. Prep Before Events
Always RSVP to networking events. If there’s an event on Facebook or group on LinkedIn- join it. Connect with the event host to thank them for inviting you and let them know you’re excited to attend. Most importantly, do a bit of research on who’s attending and consider reaching out to those that you especially want to meet with.
3. Remember your Etiquette
Don’t be glued to your Smartphone at events – while you’re responding to voice mails, the people you wanted to meet are talking to your competitors.
4. Focus on New Connections – Not the Ones You Already Have
If you want to grow your professional network, don’t spend all of your time at networking events talking to people you already know. Yes it’s great to catch up with friends and reconnect with current contacts, but the first priority of a networking event is to grow your network.
5. Quality, not Quantity
Collecting 100 business cards during an event isn’t useful if you didn’t actually have meaningful conversations with those people. Remember, networking is about relationships – not self promotion.
6. Keep Track
After you meet new people, make sure to update your contact lists. Enter names, contact info, where & when you met, what you discussed, who introduced you and any details of the conversation that you remember. Keeping track means you can follow up and keep building the relationship.
7. Follow Through
Have a plan for how you’ll communicate with new contacts after you meet. Maybe it’s connecting on LinkedIn with a personalized message and inviting them to sign up for your newsletter. If you had a longer conversation, maybe it’s an invite for lunch. Make sure to follow up quickly, so they remember who you are and what you discussed – marketing to them early will help to turn them into new clients or business contacts that send you referrals.
So while networking can seem intimidating, these 7 steps can improve your skills and grow your network. What are some of your favorite networking tips?