In the real estate world, we need to focus on expanding our network of contacts every day. Networking is about obtaining information and making contacts that will help grow the Property Management Department.

Networking events are popping up everywhere these days, but savvy BDMs already know that there are networking opportunities everywhere. The following tips can be applied to any type of setting including a breakfast or an evening event, sporting groups, a conference or a function. You will be surprised where you meet your biggest clients.

Before attending networking events, it is important to be prepared and, where possible, have your targets picked prior to walking in the door.

1- Don’t forget your Business Card

Make sure you have your business cards with you at all times. Keep your cards in an easy to reach spot and don’t forget the old hand shake. Be sure to keep the cards that you collect separate from yours. It is very unprofessional to be fumbling through a pile of cards when you are trying to find one of your own.

2- Have your Unique Selling Point (USP) ready

Knowing your Unique Selling Point (USP) at a networking event is extremely important for BDMs. A USP is a product or service you provide that is different from, and better than, that of your competition. When you are meeting someone for the first time and they ask you about yourself, the agency and why an investor should choose you, this is the perfect opportunity to give them a taste of what the agency has to offer.

3- Go prepared with interesting conversation starters

Be up-to-date on world and local news. Pay attention to current affairs and real estate trends. Know the events that are coming up in the community, listen to the person you are speaking to and try to relate to topics they bring up in conversation. It is always best to avoid any conversation that involves politics. It is a topic that can generally brush people the wrong way, especially if their opinion is different to yours.

4- Express interest

Show interest in the person with whom you are speaking, without overdoing it. When you get people to talk about themselves, and you take the time to listen, you will be remembered as a fascinating conversationalist, even if you say very little. While engaging in a conversation with a contact, avoid looking over their shoulder to scan the room. This is a guaranteed way to frustrate your contact and be branded as rude. Always aim to leave the conversation on a high note and a bring smile to the other person’s face. Excuse yourself from the conversation before it begins to die down. Know when to end a conversation and always leave them wanting more.

5- Keep in regular contact

Maintaining contact with the people you meet at networking events is vital. Set tasks to call or e-mail to touch base and prepare conversation starters. Provide them with articles or industry facts which may be of interest to them, or recognise season events like Christmas and send a card with a scratchy. Strive to keep building relationships and focus on the long-term benefits. You never know when you might need information or assistance from your network of friends, colleagues and business owners.

Recognise every opportunity to increase your networking database. You can learn new business ideas from other networkers, obtain leads, and make new friends. If you are prepared and open to actively network on any occasion, you will have the potential to reap the reward of ongoing referrals.