In the real estate world, there are many networking opportunities. How do we choose which to participate in and which to leave alone?
In our local areas, we have the option to be a part of the local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, Lions, Jaycees, Non-profit organizations, etc...
Then we have the never-ending networking events to choose from such as Broker Conferences, Wine Tastings, Open Houses, Annual Gatherings, BNI groups and on and on....
I have a hard time deciding where to spend my time and effort. I have found that I have a passion for volunteering and helping the community in any way I can. However, there is also a problem that comes along with that. I take on too much responsibility! I tend to dive in head first and then the task consumes me and my time.
The volunteering aspect of networking is good for the soul, but not as good for the business. I'm finding that I need to change my focus toward the "business" networking. In today's world, I could be spending every night at a networking event. How do I choose which to go to and which to pass on?
After reading an article by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, TheNichePreneur, author of Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a Small Market, I found myself deep in thought about how to make an event useful for my business. She says that research is key when going to a networking event. You should find out who is going to be there and make sure you know who the key players are. These are the people who are known for playing a prominent role in helping others achieve greatness. They may act as mentors, advisors, or even partners. You should find out who these people are and seek them out and make sure they get to know who you are.
Being nice to everyone is important as well. You never know who may be helpful to you in the future. She points out that someone who is an assistant now may be running the office later, so you don't want to burn that bridge from the start and not have a chance later. Also, if someone brings a spouse, engage them in conversation as well as they can turn out to be a good influencing tool.
And lastly, the big thing I took from her article, which is kind of a given, was that people tend to judge you by whom you associate with. So, make it a point to associate yourself with the respected people in the room versus the "bad apple" who is always telling the inappropriate jokes or using inappropriate language. They may be fun, but not good for your image. As Susan puts it, "If you're seen with quality people, people assume you're quality as well."
I'd like to take these and any other suggestions into great consideration the next time I go to a networking event. If you have any ideas of how to make my next event a success, I'm excited to hear it.