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Networking – Online and In Person

June 5, 2012

Word of mouth continues to be one of the best marketing tools you can have working for you. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMM) tracks the impact of this old-school advertising element and it’s learned that word of mouth is highly credible for most people. 59% of Americans believe offline talk and 49% believe online comments about a product or service.

They key to word-of-mouth success if having a network of people who know you, understand what you do, and are willing to tell others about you. That’s where networking comes in. As real estate professionals, you’re adept at networking already, but it never hurts to take a fresh look at what you’re doing – or not doing.

Build relationships before you need them. 

You can spot them… the people that begin to make connections in earnest because they need something. They’re not interested in sharing expertise – they’re interested in what they can get from networking.  A new job. More referrals. An introduction. Don’t be seen as one of those people. Networking will yield more for you if your relationships are authentic and mutually beneficial, and not done only when you need something. Invest in relationships regularly and often and they’ll be there for the times you need them.

Network over subjects that interest you.

Let’s be honest. Networking seems like a chore. Going to lunches and conferences and talking to lots of people that you don’t know that well.  Be enthusiastic about networking by building relationships over areas that you’re passionate about. Love to read about successful remodeling projects? Blog and interact with online contractors who are in that industry. Enjoy landscaping or helping clients find a perfect piece of land on which to build? Connect with others who have the same interest and begin laying the foundation of relationships. Networking can be something you look forward to when it’s centered on something you really like.

Pay attention to your online profiles and wall.

First impressions are difficult to change, and if your online profile looks unprofessional or incomplete, that’s how you’ll be viewed. If you are so busy looking at other people’s profiles or Facebook walls that you’ve forgotten to tend yours, stop and take a fresh look at what people are seeing. Is your picture dated or poorly done?  Is your profile comprehensive or bare bones? Do you have typos or grammar issues?  Ask someone to look it over and tell you honestly what can be done to improve it.

Find out where other professionals hang out.

We’re not talking about stalking! This simply means choose well. There are thousands of potential social networks online that you can join, and if you’re not careful, you can waste a lot of time in groups that seem like they are growing your network, but in actuality, they are not growing it in a productive way. Quantity is far less important than quality when it comes to networking.

Mortgage Banker Gregg FitzGerald

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