Networking is an art in itself. When most people think of networking, they imagine a group of people in business suits passing out business cards in one hand while holding a cocktail in the other. That may be one type, but what about those more informal networking situations such as a friend's party or community event?
Forget the suits. The truth of successful, positive networking is that it can be friendly and natural. People love to help other people, and that's exactly what networking is. It's about forming lasting, positive relationships with people in your community. If you get nervous at the thought of networking or feel unsure about promoting yourself, read on to find out how easy and fun networking really can be.
How to Use Your Off-the-Clock and Informal Networking to Your Business Advantage
Just about any social function or event can turn into a future lead for your real estate business (or any other kind of business). The important thing is to get out there and get to know people so they can remember you when they need your services.
1. Use Icebreakers
A room full of strangers can make anyone nervous. Whether you are at a friend's wedding or you got invited to your neighbor's Tupperware party, it's hard to know what to do. Fortunately, there are a lot of tips out there for ways to get to know people and start the conversation flowing.
- You might start with telling people your name or why you came.
- Ask them who it is who invited them to the gathering or event you're at.
- Compliment something about them and have that lead into a coversation.
2. Ask Questions
When you pitch your product or service right away before getting to know someone, it can be a real turn-off, especially in a casual setting. Everyone loves attention, so start with that. Start asking questions of the people around you. This lets them know that you are a genuinely warm, caring and interesting person.
Memorize these details that you learn about them. When you show interest in them, they will become mutually interested in you. That is when the conversation can turn to you, and you can answer questions about what you do. The more interest you show in a person, the more memorable you will be to them. The better you stick in their minds, the more chance you have at retaining their business.
3. Create Your Own Style
In Dave Karpen's book, The Art of People: 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want, he mentions how at a networking event, a key person he wanted to meet walked over to him and started talking about his orange shoes. Ever since then, he only wears orange shoes to networking and social events. It has become his signature style. Do something that is unique to you that stands out. For one person, it might be fancy hats; for another it could be funny t-shirts. These style pieces will help start conversations and help you to be remembered by others.
Bonus Tip: Have Fun With It!
Remember that in the end, networking is really just about getting to know people, forming relationships, and having them remember you so that they can refer you later. Any social situation can turn into a lead down the road. Make sure that you have fun and stay positive.
If you're ready to take your networking to the next level, partner with SILKCARDS to get your business card looking as good as you do!