BLOG POST BY SARAH MALCOLM, CHIEF DIGITAL STRATEGIST AT THE NEWS FUNNEL
For a lot of you, networking might sound like something your Dad did with his business buddies on the golf course when you were a kid. I probably shouldn’t tell this story but when I was 5 years old my family moved to Kansas. My older sister was over babysitting my twin sister and I and she told us to go knock on random neighbors’ doors to go make new friends. So of course we did and you can imagine my Mom’s reaction when she found out we were out and about meeting complete strangers at 5. So yes, the thought of putting yourself and meeting complete strangers can feel like torture. #StrangerDanger
Either way, networking sounds pretty lame. But it’s likely you’ve been told by many people throughout your career that it’s a necessary evil to make connections in the world of commercial real estate.
I know, I hate it, too. There’s always those people that seem to thrive in networking environments – you know, those people that always come up to you during a mixer and tell you their life story within two minutes only for them to fling you a business card and move on to the next unsuspecting victim.
But, it works. It really does. It’s a necessary evil that can get you closer to places and people you might not meet otherwise. And referral business in commercial real estate can be both necessary and lucrative.
Practice within your comfort zone.
When you’re just getting started in your networking efforts you don’t have to be the guy that knows the blood type of everyone in the room before they’ve opened the bar. Start small and work your way up.
And it doesn’t have to start with strangers. Call up some old friends you’ve been meaning to reach out to and briefly touch on your commercial real estate business in the process. Join a few professional organizations that are centered around presentations or round tables so you aren’t just sitting in an empty room with strangers, and instead can make small talk in between presenters. Mention to your closest friends that you’re working on networking and see if they have anyone in their network they would suggest you have lunch with.
Do it in your pajamas.
But the easiest and most passive way you can get started is through your social network. Heck, you can do that in your yoga pants or boxer shorts! Fire up that LinkedIn account or head to Twitter and just start interacting. Congratulate an old colleague on their startup, or share free CRE content on your profile. Make a video about commercial property taxes. It’s hard to feel socially awkward behind your own computer screen.
Focus on giving, not getting.
When it comes to networking, we don’t expect you to be like Oprah on her annual Favorite Things episode throwing out free services or advice to everyone on the World Wide Web, but when it comes to sharing and selflessness you can’t be Scott Disick either. It’s a little something in between.
Share some important tidbits you know about commercial real estate with people in your industry looking for experts. They will remember your kindness and expertise next time they have CRE needs. But don’t go around offering your services for free to everyone and open yourself up to be taken advantage of for the sake of networking when you have a business to run.
It’s important to remain natural when it comes to networking, whether it’s in person or online. You and your personality will develop your brand and anything that doesn’t come naturally to you will be seen as artificial to your audience. So, just get out there and be yourself. And back to the story when I was 5... We met one of our bestest friends that we still keep in touch with today. So… It works!
To read more #KeepingCRESocial posts, click here.
Need help with your social media strategy? Contact Jen@thenewsfunnel.com to learn more. We manage some of the BIGGEST brand’s social media in CRE and more importantly WE GET RESULTS. Can I get an AMEN!?
If you are interested in booking Sarah Malcolm as a speaker feel free to reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DON’T BE SHY! LET’S CONNECT: