The foundation of commercial real estate is connections. An extensive network is critical to success, allowing you to identify and move on opportunities more quickly. Making new connections happens in myriad ways. We network through social media, conferences, and professional events. A fresh approach, though, can breathe new life into networking efforts and extend your sphere of influence in unexpected ways.
Today we’re presenting 5 ideas for networking that you might not have considered before.
This is a wonderful way to accomplish several things at once (multitasking!). You can contribute to a cause you care about, which is gratifying, and at the same time you are enhancing your brokerage’s image.
Working for a good cause brings people together and creates a bond. New contacts made through volunteer work are likely to be the kind of people with whom you’d like to do business. Find commercial real estate-related volunteering opportunities by researching other brokerages’ corporate social responsibility programs to see the kinds of activities and philanthropies that they are involved in.
2. Get active
Get involved in your community by attending local events that interest you. Chili cookoff? 5K? Yogathon? This is where the people are, and casual situations like these are a great setting for getting to know other professionals in the community. Even if you don’t end up as business partners, you might get a great chili recipe and you’re sure to have a good time. Many cities also have thriving tech start-up and entrepreneurship communities that feature frequent networking and social events. These are fantastic opportunities to meet local business owners with rapidly evolving retail and office space needs.
3. Speak up
At any professional gathering, you have a chance to talk to maybe a dozen people if you’re working the room. On the other hand, if you are speaking at the event, you have the attention of the whole crowd. While everyone there may not turn into a business associate, you can be sure that you’ve reached the majority of the people there.
So even if public speaking isn’t a favorite activity for you, make the effort (or investment) to get on the agenda and to pull together an interesting talk that showcases your expertise. Your local chamber of commerce is a great place to start: they often host small business events and economic development meetings that would benefit from your real estate expertise.
4. Do it yourself
The surest way to find a networking event that attracts the type of people you want to meet is to create the event yourself. These don’t have to be major affairs. Use social media or an event-organizing platform like Meetup.com to set up a get-together at a local pub to discuss topics of mutual interest. Invite a guest speaker. Collaborate with other professionals to produce a really fun and useful event. Create relationships with local business owners by holding these gatherings in their establishments.
5. Vary your channels
Changing up the ways that you network will keep things fresh and expose you to more diverse groups of people. Try using all of the communication tools at your disposal; don’t get into an email rut. Make a quick phone call, stop in to an associate’s office, and send hand-written notes. And don’t forget social media. Search hashtags on Twitter for topics you’re interested in and look for industry groups on LinkedIn. Then start participating in the conversation! These are easy ways to stand out from the crowd.
Finally, keep up to speed on networking tools that help you change things up. There are a number of networking apps available that offer interesting ways to meet new people and communicate more effectively. Check out Shapr, Weave, or CityHour for innovative approaches to expanding your network!