Ed Craine & Dr. Ivan Misner
In today’s competitive market, building your “social capital” is more important than ever. That is REALTORS® who know how to build strong social relationships will generate more capital,
-via referral business- than those who do not. It’s important to realize in this slowing market, that although we may be tempted to adopt a “hunting” mentality to earn business, we must recognize that building social capital will require a “farming” approach to networking.
So how can REALTORS® increase social capital? First, you’ll need to build a solid foundation for cultivating relationships, much as a farmer preps the land before planting the crops. The secret to building this foundation and thus becoming a “master networker” begins with adopting 10 simple traits. These 10 traits are ranked in order of their perceived importance to networking, based upon a study conducted of 2,000 people throughout the U.S, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
1. Follows Up
This trait was deemed the most important characteristic of a master networker. When presented with an opportunity, whether it is a seemingly insignificant piece of information, or a viable business referral, those who succeed at networking do so because they follow up on all leads presented. Failing to do so will cause others to stop referring business, which diminishes chances of earning future clients.
2. Has A Positive Attitude
REALTORS® viewed as having a case of sour grapes won’t be earning much referral business. Particularly in today’s shaky market, a REALTOR® who fails to display optimism will find themselves driving away business. There’s a fine line between being honest with clients (for example, regarding how long it may take to sell their home) and being discouraging. A positive attitude in all markets will draw others to you like a magnet.
3. Demonstrates Enthusiasm & Motivation
Many people say that the best sales characteristic is enthusiasm. Think about the most successful REALTOR® you know. Do they sit around waiting for the phone to ring? Do they lazily wander around networking functions waiting for someone to approach them? Absolutely not! Successful REALTORS® know that selling themselves with enthusiasm and demonstrating motivation is vital to building long term relationships.
4. Conveys Trustworthiness
In short, we are nothing without our word. REALTORS® who don’t follow up on promises, or fail to live up to expectations will not last long in this business. Say what you mean, and do what you say you’ll do, and the referrals will pour in.
5. Listens First, Talks Later
Success as a networker will not be realized without good listening skills. We have two ears and one mouth, so we ought to use them proportionately. Listen to your referral partners, intently. There will be plenty of time for you to talk, after you’ve listened to their needs.
6. Constantly Networks
Master networkers don’t take days off! That doesn’t mean you must be in the office every day. However, it does mean that your networking radar is always on. Expert networkers find opportunities to network at grocery store, at the doctor’s office, and everywhere in between.
7. Shows Appreciation
Thanking others for business or referrals should be second nature. Unfortunately in our hustle and bustle business world, this simple action is overlooked. Don’t underestimate the power of a sincere “thank you.” Expressing gratitude is an essential building block to cultivating relationships.
8. Pitches In
Helping others is a great way to earn loyalty and business from referral partners. From providing assistance at seminars, to sending articles which may interest others, those who work to help others advance, will earn great reputation, and the referrals will follow.
9. Demonstrates Sincerity
To put it bluntly, insincerity is like a cake without frosting. Even if you offer help, show gratitude, listen to others, but fail to convey sincerity, it will show. Give your undivided attention to those you’re networking with and you’ll show that you’re sincere in your desire to help them and work with them.
10. “Works” Their Network
Networking is work. Those who excel at networking do so because they recognize this. You’re not at events to net-eat, or net-sit, you’re there to work, and it will require effort. Managing contacts, referring others, and looking for every opportunity to cultivate a new business relationship is work, but it’s rewarding work.
The common trend in all 10 traits is that they focus on cultivating long term relationships. Instead of “hunting” for referral partners, nurture and build relationships from the ground up; and you’ll cultivate referral relationships that will be rewarding year after year.
Dr. Misner is a New York Times bestselling author, Founder & Chairman of BNI (www.bni.com), and the Founder & Visionary behind the Referral Institute (www.referralintstitute.com). Dr. Misner can be reached at email@example.com .
Ed Craine is CEO of San Francisco based Smith Craine Finance, an award winning mortgage brokerage. He was appointed Vice President of CAMB in 2007. Ed serves as an Executive Director for BNI, and writes the column Ask Ed on www.brokerbanker.com Contact Ed at 415-406-2330 or firstname.lastname@example.org