Creating a network of professional contacts is one of the best things you can do for your business, and your professional career as a whole. Working in real estate, regardless of which field, your sphere of influence is what helps to drive your business. Here are some tips you can use to build your network, based off of an article that I found on Bigger Pockets. This might take some time, but you’ll reap the benefits before you know it:
Be seen: When you go somewhere and people you don’t know recognize you from previous events you’ve attended, then you know that you’re in a good place. Just because entrepreneurs can “work from home” most of the time, doesn’t mean that they should stay at home.
Go to at least one event per week where you don’t know anyone: When you force yourself to be uncomfortable, you can end up making new friends with somebody else who is also alone. While being uncomfortable isn’t fun at all, it pays off in the long run.
Reach out: Analysis paralysis is when too much thought leads to inaction. It happens to a lot of people, but it’s why you should act first and think later when meeting new people. Don’t try to weigh the pros and cons, just reach out, whether to simply introduce yourself or ask somebody what they do. It can be scary at first, but it gets easier the more you practice.
Introduce yourself to the person next to you: Most of the time, you’re in your own world and thinking your own thoughts. But if you’re at a networking or social event to meet people, it’s safe to assume that your neighbor is there for the same reason, so use that opportunity to strike up a conversation. 99.9% of the time, they’ll be grateful that you started up a conversation with them.
Strike up a conversation at a coffee shop: You never know who you’ll meet at your local coffee shop, and sometimes it ends great. For example, the writer of the article shared an anecdote where she brought a book about asset allocation to the coffee shop, which led to a three hour-long conversation with the person in the chair next to her about intelligent portfolio construction.
Ask to buy a successful person coffee: Not many people say no to a free cup of coffee, and even if they do, you can find plenty more who will say yes. Regardless of the rapid changes in technology and social media, few things can replace a one-on-one conversation over a cup of coffee.
Look for common ground: When getting to know somebody, ask questions to learn more about them, helping you to identify what you have in common and giving you an opportunity to build a rapport. People feel more comfortable around others who are like them. This is also why it’s valuable to cultivate an interest in various topics; being able to converse intelligently about many different things is a great skill to have.
Make an introduction: Offer to connect two people who may otherwise not know each other, expecting nothing in return. You’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping your friends, and a reputation as a “connector” will attract people to you.
Ask a contact for a specific introduction: Most people are happy to connect two people they know, especially if they’re already well-connected. Yet make sure that you’re also returning the favor and not asking for a new introduction every week. For example, take them out to lunch or coffee, which will lead to an investment in the relationship.
Say thank you: Be sure to say thank you, or even write a personal handwritten thank you note. Expressing your appreciation when others go out of their way to help you is just good business. Everybody likes to be acknowledged, so be sure to thank them.