Networking Success or Kiss of Death?

Published on January 23, 2012

Networking meetings are undoubtedly one of the best ways to meet new people and increase brand awareness. When building or expanding your database, it can be the most powerful tool in your toolbox - if you don’t screw it up. 

Having attended hundreds of networking meetings hosted by various organizations, I have witnessed many REALTORS who would have been better off never having attended than to have shown up that day.  (One of those that I have witnessed happens to be me!)

Whether it is the Chamber of Commerce, a BNI group, Rotary, Kiwanis, men’s groups, women’s groups, or any type of organized mixer whereby professionals mix and mingle, here are some things to avoid. 

1. The lame introduction: “Hello, my name is _____ with ______ and I specialize in ‘helping people buy and sell homes’.”

Seriously? How is this a speciality? Isn’t this what ALL agents do? Specializing means being special, different, unique. If you are going to say you specialize, then say you specialize in waterfront properties, downsizing seniors, first time home buyers, high rise condos, luxury homes over $ _____, XYZ neighborhood/subdivision, sellers who are upside down in their mortgage. etc.

All REALTORS by definition help people buy and sell homes, thereby making it officially NOT a specialty.

2. Spending all your networking time with one person (usually the person you came with).

The whole goal of a networking function is to make NEW connections or to strengthen existing ones. If you have a best friend that you ride with, chances are you don’t need to strengthen that relationship. Sometimes people stick by their friends due to lack of confidence or shyness, but networking meetings are not the place to hang with your buds.

3.  Talking too much. 

There are two places that I see people talking too much. The first is during their introduction. Most groups ask that you don’t do an infomercial so that each person has time to introduce themselves and to stay on the schedule. If you turn your 30 second elevator speech into a 5 minute commercial on what you do, how you do it, or why they should call you to buy, sell or invest in real estate, you have officially created a negative impression instead of a positive one.

The second place agents talk to much is when they are meeting new people. “Let me tell you all about myself,” means, “I don’t really care about you and am not interested in what you have to say.”

4. No follow up.

Networking functions are NOT about selling and NOT about lead generating. They are about building relationships. Sadly, many agents make contact with someone at a networking group and that is the end of it. If you don’t follow up with a phone call, note, or at the very least, an email, you are missing the boat.

5. Inconsistency in attendance. 

Most agents are one hit wonders at networking events. They show up and make their spiel and then are never to be seen again. In order to develop credibility and build relationships, it is important to attend regularly. Each meeting solidifies that you are committed and consistent.

 

Now that you know the 5 faux pas, here are ways to fix them if you have already screwed up. Or better yet, start of on the right foot at your next networking meeting!

  • Define your ideal client or target market. Next time you introduce yourself, say something that reflects your ideal client or market, “Hello my name is (first name only) and my ideal clients are people who live in homes that are too big or require too much upkeep and they are ready to downsize into something more manageable. I am (first & last name) and I am with (company). Thank you.”
Keep in mind that you may have multiple target markets, so choose to announce the one that makes the most sense for the members with whom you are networking.

  • Meet 2 to 3 new KEY people at each event. Say adios to your best buddy and go say hello to the people in the room who would make good connections for you. Look at name tags and migrate toward people who are in positions of influence and who are masterful at connecting others. Avoid time wasters and people who are obviously there because their boss required them to go. Sit with people who you want to learn more about.
  • Keep your comments concise and to the point. When you are introducing yourself, make sure you are prepared. Smile and project your voice so everyone can clearly hear you and follow the guidelines set forth by the person in charge. No infomercials unless they specifically asked you to give one. When talking with your new connections, do more listening and asking than talking and telling. Get to know them...find out what they do...be interested in them...ask great questions. They will remember you fondly because you took an interest.
  • Follow up within 48 hours after the meeting with a phone call or email. Keep it short and sweet... appreciate their time and maybe recall something they shared with you that was helpful or insightful. Include your contact information and offer to be available if you can add value to them in some way between now and the next meeting. Send a hand written personal note to their mailing address with a similar message. Assuming they are a good connection, you will want to follow up regularly from now on by adding value to them either personally or professionally.
  • Choose the group that suits you and stick with it. Too many agents try to attend too many meetings and find that they are inconsistent in their attendance. This creates skepticism and doubt in their ability to follow through. When you find a meeting that seems to be a fit, both in time and membership, make a commitment to attend on a regular basis and contribute to the group. For true networking success, you must commit to the long term.

Consider your efforts up to this point and ask yourself where you may have dropped the ball. If you are consistently getting great results from your networking efforts, you are likely doing things effectively, but if you go to meetings with no return on investment, you may need to rethink your strategy and take a new approach.

Happy Networking!

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Nikki and Chris Buckelew are recognized international real estate coaches, trainers, and speakers. Their specialty is sales and leadership coaching.  Clients who hire Nikki and Chris are often seeking assistance in increasing their profitability without sacrificing their health, relationships, and core values. For more information visit www.NikkiandChris.com.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...