Networking: How You Do It

We asked for your sure-fire tips for cultivating fabulous business relationships. Here are some of the ideas you swear by.

January 10, 2013

Get Involved in Your Neighborhood

Lynette O’Brien Columbia River Properties, The Dalles, Ore.

  • Be involved with your community outside of real estate.
  • Remember people’s birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Break the ice before you talk real estate. I ask prospective clients how long they’ve lived in the area and what they like about the area, for example.

A Step-by-Step Approach

Steven Gribble, Sente Mortgage, Plano, Texas

  1. Develop a database of people who know you.
  2. Categorize each person into one of four categories—sphere, acquain-tance, relationship, or inner circle.
  3. Create a communication strategy for each category (see below).
  4. After every call:

    • Make notes.
    • Quickly reevaluate the relationship.
    • Set the next call in your calendar.

Four Categories of Contacts:

  1. People in Your Sphere: Those who know you but not what you do.

    • Make one call; get permission to stay in touch.
    • Become acquaintances.
    • Possible strategy: Ask questions to uncover a sincerely shared interest.
  2. Acquaintances: Those who know you and what you do but not how well you do it.

    • Make one call per year.
    • Rely on marketing to keep you top of mind.
    • Possible strategy: Contribute time to a cause near and dear to the person’s heart.
  3. Relationships: Those who know you and what you do and who think you do it well.

    • Make one call per quarter.
    • Always be asking: What will it take to get them into the inner circle?
    • Possible strategy: Ask them for advice about something in their area of expertise. Follow up with a handwritten thank-you note and an offer to reciprocate if they ever have real estate–related questions. If appropriate, refer business their way.
  4. Inner Circle: Those with the ability and desire to regularly refer business your way.

    • Check in with them frequently—one call per month and one meeting per year.
    • Teach them how to refer business to you—how to look for opportunities and be able to explain why you’re the right person to contact.
    • Possible strategy: Share a case study of how you’ve helped an investor make a good decision, and ask them to refer others who might be in a similar situation.

Never Be “Sales-y”

Jason Farris Guarantee Real Estate, Fresno, Calif.

Use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools to keep up-to-date on what’s going on in your community. When you make contact with people, you’ll be able to talk about things that are important not just to you but to them as well.