Five Ways to Crush Your Next Networking Event

By BB admin January 25, 2018

Networking events can be the “black hole” of sales. It isn’t unusual to see the same people, talk about the same things, spend money, and come away empty handed almost every time. These events often take time away from our businesses as well as our personal lives and, by saying yes to these events, we are saying no to other sales opportunities. (See our blog post on “Three Ways to Market From Behind the Desk.”)

So, if we are going to commit to these events, let’s make them worth something! Below are four strategies that will help you grow your business and enable you to finally take advantage of networking events.

1.       Do some research. Don’t go into a networking event unprepared. Research the event.

  • Who is hosting the event?
  • Who will be at the event?
  • What are the attending agents’ production numbers?
  • How can I help with the event?

2. Create a networking “plan of action.”

Now that you have done your research for the event, you can create a plan of action. Attending an event without a plan may leave you lost in the shuffle, only “hoping” to network with someone who will eventually send business your way. As we all know, the “hope” strategy is not a great one. With a good plan, you will come away with winning connections. This plan should outline who you want to meet, what you can talk about with those target contacts, and how much money you are willing to spend on the event. Consider bringing a giveaway or investing in a keynote sponsorship that will draw attention to you and your brand.

2.       Bring a value to the table.

This is the "what" part of your conversations. Maybe you bring along a dozen printed marketing or business plans to give away to real estate agents. These are compliant if you find them on the web and you don’t brand them as your own. In fact, they can be a cornerstone of your conversations at the event. While your competition is making small talk and drinking free beer, you can be asking real estate agents about their 2018 business plan. When you add unique value and have strategic conversations during a networking event, you will absolutely stand out from the crowd.

3.       Get business cards, don’t give yours out.

We are conditioned to hand out business cards at networking events. That is what we learned in Networking 101 back in the day, but we challenge you to try something different. While everyone else is blindly handing out meaningless business cards that most often end up in the trash after the event or in the bottom of a purse, don’t hand yours out. Don’t even bring any! I know this sounds a little radical, especially in a post about effective networking, but this tactic helps you control your destiny. Instead of handing out business cards, take them. Say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t have business cards on me, but I will take yours so I can send you an email and we can keep in touch.” Now, who’s in control of the lead? You are. And instead of waiting and hoping someone you met at a networking event will call you, you can be the one to initiate the next conversation.

5. Follow up, follow up, follow up.

The single most important strategy for a successful networking event is a follow-up plan. Email drip campaigns are a great way to stay top of mind after a networking event. If you received a business card from someone you had a conversation with, first make a follow-up phone call then deliver consistent, valuable communication. This can be achieved by sending content-heavy emails once a week to your new contacts. 

Networking events can be a great way to meet people in the real estate industry as long as you treat them like a sales opportunity. If not, they can often turn into a time and money sucking activity. Stick to these strategies and see a great return from events in 2018.

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