How would you like to earn an extra $50,000 a year just at events?
It sounds impossible, but fear not, It’s definitely possible! Just ask Club Wealth Coach, Aimee Freeman. She received 30 referrals that closed in one year all from networking. Imagine if you received two referrals from one networking event. The commissions you’d earn would most likely cover your costs for attending the event – and then some! While there are some people who were born to network, you know, those people who say, “I’ve never met a stranger”, for many of us, networking can pose a challenge.
It’s easy to sit in the comfort of your office and watch webinars or listen to podcasts. There’s no pressure to make small talk while watching the latest live stream conference from your laptop. However, breaking out of your comfort zone is just the action you need to take, to make long-lasting relationships – and earn the referral business you deserve! When attending events, you must bring a great attitude and an expectation to learn. If you think the event will not be worth your time, and you won’t learn anything, then you probably won’t. The opposite is also true if you think about it.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”- Henry Ford
Here are some pointers on how to network like a seasoned professional:
What’s the difference between networking and masterminding?
Networking is one-on-one professional contact in a group setting. For example, when you go to an event, you are networking with all these different people in person. It’s informal contact with other agents. Ideally, it’s with agents producing at or above your level. Now, remember, you become the socio-economic average of the five people you spend the most time with. So, networking is a very important component of that.
Masterminding really involves three or more people formally sitting down to discuss specific topics with other agents producing at or above your level. It’s usually moderated by someone who truly understands where you are and what you’re experiencing and someone who has been at a level above you and knows how to get there.
It is generally, in best-case scenarios, limited to 25 people per discussion. If it’s a live event, or if you are doing a webinar format for masterminds, which we often do at Club Wealth, then we limit the number of speakers to 25 or fewer. So you may have 200 people on the webinar that are enjoying the mastermind as it’s happening, but you only have, at most, 25 people actually doing the talking. Of course, the other participants can also be asking questions.
I’ve long told people that when I’m on the road, away from my family, at events or conferences, I’m not there to have fun. I do have fun, but that’s not why I’m there. I am there for one reason – to make money. Everything else is secondary. I love my family. I assume you do, too. We don’t leave our families to get away from them, we leave them because we have to pay the bills, and we strive to get back to them as quickly as possible. Thus, it is critical that we have an agenda, a goal, even a mission for every event we attend.
Who are the top three people you need to meet and get to know?
Who are you networking with?
When attending events, you should be networking with agents outside of your own market area. One of the first questions to ask is, “Where are you from?” It’s a great icebreaker, and you’ll learn more about the agent and their market. For instance, if you work in an area that has a heavy military presence, it would be beneficial for you to network with other agents from market areas that have military bases.
Where are you networking?
Networking opportunities are everywhere when you’re a real estate agent. If you work with one of the big box companies, you’ll likely have annual conventions like Keller’s Williams Family Reunion and Mega Camp or ReMax’s R4 Convention.
Club Wealth has two Mega events each year: Listing Agent Boot Camp in the spring, and Business Strategy Mastermind every November. Club Wealth events are especially productive because we go out of our way to help you network with agents at these events, which increases your likelihood of getting a referral.
Other events to consider are the National Association of Realtors (NAR) annual conference and expo, and Lab Coat Agents annual event, LCA Live. Club Wealth regional one-day events are also very productive, as many of our top coaches and clients attend. They are among the biggest referrers, as they have literally thousands of leads coming in annually, and some even monthly.
As you can see, you’ll have plenty of options to attend important events, which will give you the chance to rub shoulders with industry leaders and network with potential referral partners.
How to network like a seasoned professional!
Talk to everyone! If you are shy or an introvert – get over it. Just remember there are many other people who will be feeling the same way. Most event attendees will also feel uncomfortable at first because they’re in an environment they’re not used to. Talk to different people too! If you have friends at a conference, try not to hang out with them all the time. It’s fine to mingle and spend time with them but sit with people you don’t know at breakout sessions or grab a meal with a stranger or two. You should also sit in different spots during the conference. Make it your goal to meet as many new people as you can. Then pick the top 3-5 people who you will make a MASSIVE effort to connect with after the event.
What is the importance of networking?
The importance of networking is two-fold. First, it gives you a chance to sharpen your networking skills. And two, it gives you the opportunity to give and receive referrals (Check out our blog 10 Things To Do When You Receive a Referral). Sharpen your skills! Networking at events can provide you with new business ideas. You should learn something new at every event you attend. You may learn a better way to run your business or make more money! Of course, you can’t implement everything you learn, however, if you can implement one thing that improves your business, the event was beneficial.
Referrals! We understand that events can be expensive. You have the expenses of your conference ticket, airline ticket, rental car, gas costs, meals – not to mention the time away from your office. However, networking at events can make you money! Have you ever worried that the most successful agents seem to show up at all or most of the big industry events? This is not an accident. Attending a ton of events is one of the reasons WHY they are so successful!
Should you bring business cards? That’s a great question! Coach Michael Hellickson doesn’t even carry business cards. He does suggest that you do carry a black Sharpie. Why? Because, some agents like to carry business cards, and you never know who you will meet and who can help you. It’s mission-critical, however, that you get the OTHER person’s business card. Make it a point to talk to as many people as you can. Learn what’s going on in their business and lives. Treat that person like you would any other contact you make in your business. If you receive a business card, write a note on the back with your Sharpie detailing who the person is and how you met them. Forgetting things is really easy, and no matter how much you think you will remember, you won’t. The goal of networking is to get to know the agents – they get to know you – and you each get referral business.
A word of caution about attending events: Don’t be that guy or girl. Alcohol at events is a given. It’s inevitable that some people will make a fool of themselves. While there’s no rule against having a good time, never get to the point where you are stumbling around and slurring your words. Don’t get sloppy. Remember, these are the people who are watching your behavior. Don’t spoil your chances with the ones who may want to do future business with you because they perceive you as sloppy or a “partier”. I have seen agents lose FNMA and other major accounts worth millions in commissions because they were sloppy drinkers. “Guard your habits for they will define you in the eyes of others.”
What do you do after the event?
Attending the event is a part of the process. When you get home, that’s when the real work begins. Many people attend an event, take notes, get back to the grind, send them a text, and forget it all. When you return home, friend them on Facebook, and put those people you met in your contact management database immediately, and write notes about what you talked about.
Send that person a personalized note and mention a thing or two you learned about them. You will make their day – and they will be likely to remember you when they have a referral to send your way. Just like Coach Aimee Freeman did! Above all, find a way to send them a referral! Scour Facebook groups for referrals in their area, even if they are old, and tag your new friend in them.
As Coach Michael Hellickson says, “The fortune is in the follow-up.” Lead follow-up (Read our blog on how proper lead follow-up adds to your revenue) for referral business is just as important as following up with buyer and seller leads, if not more so. By putting these strategies to work for you at the next event you attend, you’ll be networking like a seasoned pro!
For a list of upcoming Club Wealth events, visit www.clubwealth.com/events.