By Scott Newman
I often encounter other REALTORS® who see little to no value in developing relationships with their fellow agents, and it just baffles me every time! We are in one of the most challenging real estate markets in U.S. history, not to mention we’re in an environment where rules and regulations change daily, which is only adding barriers to establishing a successful business. I think we need the support of one another now more than ever.
But how do you develop those bonds? Read on, as today I’m presenting a few great tips for building your agent network as a way to grow your business in 2012.
This is by far the most important piece of advice I can possibly share with you. Put down the phone, computer, tablet, and anything else with a power cord if you really want to network with your fellow agents properly.
I love social media, and I owe a great deal of my success to our ability to market effectively on that platform. But when it comes to connecting with other REALTORS®, you simply can’t replace face-to-face interaction with any technology that currently exists. Make it a point to attend one live networking event a week related to our industry, giving you have a chance to meet other agents in person. Bring plenty of business cards and come ready to mingle.
Here’s another great tip: Take some time to figure out what distinguishes you from your fellow agents so you stand out. Whenever I’m around other agents, I make it a point to nail home just how successful and interested I am in working with short sale listings. More often than not, another agent in the room is all too happy to take a referral fee for the few short sale listings he gets each year, which is a win-win for everyone.
Maybe you do leasing, or you’re a luxury specialist — whatever it is, emphasize your specialty and talents to distinguish yourself from the crowd and elevate yourself as the top expert in the room. It will go a long way towards cementing relationships and help you create pipelines through which new business and referrals can flow.
Join your local YPN board, join other young professionals groups, but for goodness sake, join something already!
Get on the bandwagon! YPNs are starting up all over the country with rave reviews and big-time support from NAR, so get involved and stop making excuses. Make the time to not only attend, but volunteer for additional philanthropic opportunities and other ancillary events that these groups participate in. Why? The more people who know, you the more successful you will be in building your network.
It’s a snowball effect: Once you are involved in a few groups, you’ll see how inter-connected they are. Before you know it, you’ll be meeting great people who turn you on to new opportunities on a consistent basis.
The bottom line is, if you belong to something your likelihood of participating and getting something out of it is much higher than if you just show up to the events for the free drinks and appetizers. Be an active and giving participant, and be prepared to reap the rewards!
There is no faster way to become the most popular person in the room than to be that educated and helpful agent everyone comes to with their questions and problems.
Make it a point to stay on top of the latest industry news by taking advantage of technology so you’re always one step ahead of everyone else. I am always getting flagged down as soon as I arrive at an event by agents who want to ask my opinion on issues ranging from how the latest news out of Washington will affect the market, to home prices, etc. By simply staying ahead of the curve, I establish myself as the expert agents want to talk to. This is a big part of the reason I’ve been able to grow my network so fast.
By being a “go-to” source of information, you are positioning yourself as one of the must-talk-to people in the room — and that is going to exponentially increase your efforts to effectively build your network.
Stop overlooking the benefits of developing a strong network within our industry. Just because someone is technically your competition doesn’t mean you can’t learn a lot from each other. So embrace your fellow agents, get involved in local, state, and national REALTOR® organizations, and stay ahead of the latest industry news. You will not only find your level of professional satisfaction going up, but also your bottom line!
Scott Newman is the broker-owner of Newman Realty in Chicago. Connect with Scott at www.newmanrealtyillinois.com or www.facebook.com/NewmanRealty.