Does Your Network Have a Hole Costing You Thousands Each Year?
Networking is an essential part of business. Yet many agents overlook a vital part, which is critical to their success. It's building their internal network in addition to their external one.
External networking is connecting directly with clients who want to buy and sell real estate. Maybe you are a member of Rotary or Chamber of Commerce or on the board of a non-profit – any of the endless options available to build relationships and meet clients. However you choose to invest this time, the focus should be on connecting with people outside of real estate.
In fact, one of the main criteria before getting involved is usually to find an organization with the fewest number of "competing" agents.
Then there is your internal networking, which is building your network within your industry. I admit to being a slow learner in this department. After all, aren't these other REALTORS® my competition? I only have so much time. Why should I spend it networking with agents when I should be out trying to sell a house? I was a lone wolf, and I was missing out.
Then, about 10 years ago, I took a real estate class where the trainers not only taught us how do increase our business, but they built a community of like-minded agents. It was so fun to learn and connect with real estate agents from all over the country who thought like me and did business the same way.
At the time, I was also a new mom going through the adjustments of keeping my business going with a small baby at home. The sense of community came at a time when I needed it most. As a result, I connected with other agents who had children, and we started meeting quarterly to network and brainstorm our businesses. It began as a mommy group, but quickly evolved into anyone who wanted to come. It was a wonderful experience.
Fast forward and now I am involved in Women's Council, which is amazing. It is an incredible group of intelligent, motivated women (and men) dedicated to learning, growing and supporting each other.
Some of the amazing benefits of internal networking include:
- Camaraderie and moral support. Your friends and family are great, but if they are not self-employed they do not understand the emotional and financial rollercoaster that comes with being a real estate agent. Having a network of friends who "get it" is vital to your success.
- Business ideas. Don't waste time and frustration reinventing the wheel. When we share what is working we all get better, improving our own businesses and the industry as a whole.
- It saves time. Attending a business resource meeting or networking event can feel like time you don’t really have in your day. However, my experience is that it will ultimately save you time. I recently listed a house in an unfamiliar neighborhood. I called another agent in my network who serves this area to get the inside scoop and for help with pricing. It saved me an incredible amount of time and helped me to secure a client.
- Negotiating. When you know the agent on the other side it always helps in the negotiations. The reality is, the clients often benefit in some way when the agents have a relationship and feel confident with each other. Whether it’s getting your offer accepted in a multiple-offer scenario or better terms (and so on), everyone benefits.
- Referrals. Thirty percent of my business comes from agent referrals now.
- It's fun! This can be a lonely business, especially given that most transactions are done electronically. However, it's still fun to connect face to face and share a laugh with someone.
What I know for sure is that you cannot do it alone. Whether it's business ideas or moral support, it's important to have a group who "gets it" to connect with. So build in time for internal networking as well as external. It can save you time, make you money and make your business a whole lot more fun.
Nicole Mangina, CRS, is president-elect of Women's Council's Seattle Metro Chapter. She is a REALTOR® with Windermere Bellevue Commons in Bellevue, WA, as well as a real estate instructor. For more information, visit nicolemanginarealestate.com.
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