Networking plays a huge role in the life of a real estate agent, and if the thought of ‘working the room’ fills you with anxiety, perhaps it’s not the best career choice for you.
With the rise of the Internet and the phenomenal increase in the number of people using online service now, it would be easy to assume that face-to-face networking is a dying art and online networking is taking over as a more modern and practical approach.
So is this the case?
Online networking certainly holds plenty of appeal. It allows you to connect with others in the comfort of your own home or office, anywhere in the world within a matter of seconds.
Online networking works well for many reasons:
- You can reach a wider audience and therefore build a larger network of potential vendors and buyers, and other professionals you can collaborate with
- You can narrow down your searches to people within a certain area who fit a particular demographic
- You can network at all hours of the day and night when it suits you, and it’s pretty much instant
- You don’t have to make time to attend networking meetings, and there’s none of that awful social awkwardness or fumbling over your words
However, real estate is an industry where significant, lengthy transactions are made, and people need to trust you in order to work with you. Online networking simply doesn’t allow you to build a memorable connection. You are just seen as typed words on a screen, not a person. You can’t greet anyone with your friendly smile, read body language, have a giggle over a joke or exchange business cards.
Online networking builds connections, but only on a superficial level, and this usually won’t be enough to form a valuable connection that is mutually beneficial in the world of real estate.
Face-to-face networking on the other hand, can be a formal and structured networking meeting or something as simple as meeting a new contact for a coffee.
Face-to-face networking gives you a better result because:
- You can shake hands, look someone in the eye and get a real feel for who they are and what they represent. There is an element of recognition with face-to-face networking that you can’t get online.
- You’re more likely to be referred to someone else if that person has met you face-to-face, because you have built some trust and rapport.
- You develop a deeper connection with someone when you have met them in person. They (and you) are more memorable and the meeting has a greater chance of leading to a worthwhile business bond.
- From a personal development point of view, you can learn more from speaking to people and get inspired by hearing the struggles and triumphs of others in the same role as you.
Both online networking and face-to-face networking are valuable and have their place in this day and age. Both will lead to great things if done correctly, and using the two together will allow you to make the most of networking.
For real estate professionals however, face-to-face networking is always going to allow you to build a deeper connection with a potential client than online networking ever well. So get out there, meet people in person for coffee and a chat, build some trust, grow your network of contacts and you will reap the rewards.