The real estate industry is always changing. We know that. Right now we’re in the middle of a digital transformation. The “Power and Voice” of our industry is undergoing a fundamental shift. The pandemic has people wondering Will Real Estate Ever Be Normal Again? As if that’s not enough change, pretty soon crypto may be entering the mix.
With all of this fundamental change happening, it only makes sense that the way we all network should evolve as well. As our own Simon Chen, EVP of Product and Innovation at Realogy put it, “the pace of innovation has increased dramatically over the past few years.” How do we make sure our networking rolodexes (digital, of course) keep pace?
Why and How to Change Your Networking Toolkit
As real estate professionals, we are used to wearing many hats on behalf of our clients. It’s not uncommon for us to serve as their chauffeur, interior designer, accountant, legal advisor, marketing guru, and psychologist—often in the same afternoon. Because we spend so much of our day taking care of client needs, our own needs often get put on the back burner. This is especially true when it comes to networking and marketing ourselves.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed take a look our Eight Things You Can Do to Boost Your Wellness, at Home and Work. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Learn to say No. Refresh your energy, and get ready to put it to work marketing yourself and building your personal network.
Last fall, we spoke with Dawn Perry, SVP of Strategic Cross-Brand Marketing about Networking in a Virtual World. Though all of us in the real estate industry have been extremely busy in the last two years, Dawn stressed that networking is still absolutely essential. Despite the increased volume for agents and brokers, “Handling the here and now without thinking of the later isn’t a successful long-term strategy. Real estate ebbs and flows…How will an agent set themselves up for success if they do not take the time to continue to build their sphere of influence even when times are good?”
That’s a fantastic explanation for the “Why” of networking right now. But what about the “How”?
How should a young real estate agent—or a more experienced pro who may not be a digital native—go about building their sphere of influence in a digital-first world?
A Roadmap to Staying Engaged
When it comes to networking, it all starts with staying engaged on a consistent basis. Dawn says, “Good networking comes from being present and engaged. Being active in online groups, whether it’s a Facebook group, leadership group in LinkedIn, or a Peloton Team, is a smart strategy. Agents can find groups that motivate and inspire them, and then actively and authentically engage within those groups to build a stronger online/virtual network.”
Here’s a brief roadmap on how to get started building your network.
Step 1: Define Your Goals: If you’re an agent, your goal likely is more clients and listings. If you’re a broker/owner, perhaps your goal is to recruit more quality agents. As the international market heats up, maybe your goal is more international clients. But you can’t develop a cohesive plan of action until your goals are defined in as much detail as possible.
Step 2: Identify and Build Your Network: The bad news: this part can be frustrating. The good news: you can now do a great deal of networking from your living room sofa. Get digital: Optimize your LinkedIn Profile. Follow real estate thought leaders on social media. Tweet more. Attend industry events. Shoot a video or two… here’s a handy guide to help. Put the hours into building your online brand, and watch your network expand.
Action Steps to Networking
For the best kind of success (and to get more referrals) you’re probably going to have to leave the house on occasion. Here are some positive action steps you can take to build your real estate network.
1. Get Involved Locally. The most successful agents and brokers have a strong presence in their community. They know the right people to call if a client needs a bathroom remodel, a landscaper…stuff you just can’t know from social media alone. Get involved in the community. Join the board of a local organization. Volunteer your time at a school. Look online for local meet-ups, and go. Be proactive. It gets you out of the house, and it gets your name out there.
Here are some popular organizations that focus on diverse segments of our industry:
- National Association of Realtors® (NAR)
- National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB)
- LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance (The Alliance)
- Asian American Real Estate Association of America (AREAA)
- National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP)
2. Meet Other Local Real Estate Professionals. If you’re young and just starting out in real estate, seek out a mentor. If you’re more established in your career, volunteer to mentor someone young and hungry (they may be able to help you with digital media). This concept of older/younger mutual mentorships is actually becoming a thing. It’s called Reverse Mentoring, and it’s been covered in places like Rismedia and the Harvard Business Review. It even has a TED Talk.
In their profile, Rismedia talks about its many benefits including:
- Closing the knowledge gap. Younger professionals learn about creating leads, while older pros can learn how to navigate social media.
- Empowerment. For both established and emerging real estate professionals.
- Simple. Reverse mentoring can take place in your company right now, via informal meetings.
3. Attend Industry Conferences and Events
They’re called networking events for a reason. Which events should you attend? Whichever best reflects your goals. If your goal is to recruit more agents, attend events where there will be a lot of real estate agents. If your goal is to become more of a local presence, make yourself a fixture at local events.
This is one of the many instances where joining a Global Franchise can really come through for you. It offers access to a truly impressive array of networking opportunities—on a local, national, and even global basis. See for yourself.
Let us know what you think! What tips do you have to building your professional network? Have you found success building an online brand for your real estate practice? Let us know. We want to hear from you.
*Please note this document was published prior to Realogy’s rebrand to Anywhere Real Estate Inc. on June 9, 2022.