Networking is essential to do in order to thrive in real estate—or any business, for that matter. However, for many agents, the process of networking can strike fear into the heart of even the biggest introvert. We all experience moments of anxiety leading up to a networking event. We may think, “What if I don’t know anyone there?” “What if I don’t connect with anyone?” “I wonder if they’ll notice the pimple that erupted on my forehead from all of this worry and concern about other people’s thoughts of me.” It’s normal to be nervous before a networking event. Here are some tips to alleviate your anxiety so that you can meet some great people.
1. Prepare beforehand. Do your research ahead of time on the different types of people you’ll meet at the event as well as the type of people you would like to meet. This will help you get the conversation started.
2. Realize that everyone else is as nervous as you. Most of the people at the event have given themselves a brief pep talk before they walked through the door. You’re all in the same boat, and are looking to chat with friendly, like-minded people.
3. Arrive early. Being the early bird gives you the benefit of greeting people as they arrive. You may not be the host of the event, but it never hurts to act like one.
4. Smile. A smile will make you appear open and approachable. Additionally, you’ll put the people that you meet at ease.
5. Plan your exit. For introverts, being around a lot of people at once can be draining. Promise yourself that you’ll leave when you’ve had enough.
6. Make it a goal to meet a certain number of people, especially if you’re shy or introverted. Making a goal to speak with 3 or 4 people is a good starting point. However, the focus should be on building quality relationships, not collecting the most business cards.
7. Brush up on your small talk. Small talk is a great way to start a conversation. If talking about the weather isn’t your thing, think of a few other conversation starters that you do enjoy talking about. Just be sure to stay away from controversial topics.
8. Craft your story. People will ask you who you are and what you do. Tell them your story, along with any key points. Just be sure to keep it short, and rehearse it often to make sure the delivery is natural.
9. Don’t sound pitchy. A networking event is a place to build relationships, not do a hard sell. While you should be able to talk about your services, keep it informal and focus on getting to know people.
10. Have a conversation, not a monologue. A conversation involves two or more people. Try not to monopolize the conversation with tidbits about you. Encourage the other person to open up and listen to what they’re saying.
11. Ask questions. One of the best ways to break the ice and get to know someone is to ask open-ended questions. Then, ask them to elaborate. Not only will you get to know them better, but they’ll walk away feeling good and thinking that you’re a terrific conversationalist.
12. Think of ways to help the people that you meet. Resist the urge to ask for favors right away. Instead think of ways that you can help them achieve their goals.
13. Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm always leaves a lasting impression. Share your passion with the people that you meet, and they’ll want to work with you in the future.
14. Send a personal note. After the event, send the people you met a personal note telling them how much you enjoyed meeting them. Remind them that you’re never too busy for their referrals, and include a business card with your information.
Be sure to add the people that you meet to your Referral Maker™ real estate CRM database when you get home. Or, if you’ve downloaded the Referral Maker App, you can input their information right away. Visit Referral Maker for more information and to start your 30-day free trial.