Three Networking Techniques by a Seasoned Networker, by Marcy Gross, Sheldon Gross Realty
My decades of experience in the commercial real estate and property management field have shown me that your business is only as successful as your ability to retain existing clients, while simultaneously attracting new ones. This is what makes an effective networking strategy so essential.
It requires more sophistication than simply chatting up every person you encounter. I consistently seek to enhance my process, and the below are three of my favorite business networking tips for bolstering my client base.
“Really get to know them”
Networking groups have proven to be an invaluable tool. I’ve found the overall experience both enjoyable and profitable. However, while becoming a group member and attending periodic meetings is a great starting point, one of my essential business networking tips is that the real opportunity lies beyond the scope of the group.
My personal strategy within the group starts with initially identifying those individuals with whom I’m most likely to be able to have a direct positive impact. From there, I reach out with a handshake, a smile, and maybe a text or two, all with a goal of building a personal relationship beyond the group setting. Interaction with fellow members during monthly meetings, over coffee and a bagel, is the norm. The key to maximizing those relationships for me is to get to know someone one-on-one, perhaps during a lunch or dinner. That individual meeting where the discussions inevitably turn to personal and real-life experiences and common ground have turned out to be the difference maker when the time comes for a referral.
As business networking tips go, pretty much everyone is aware that social media is a remarkably potent tool for fostering business growth. For business professionals, LinkedIn has become the standard for seeing and being seen. Many of the same basic principles apply to LinkedIn as to a networking group. It’s not enough to pay for a nice portrait image and then post it along with some background information. You need to commit to online engagement, which in our digital world is just another term for “networking.
I regularly share relevant content and information, whether generated by me, my company, or a third party. In this manner, those I’m connected with are reminded that I am fully engaged in the business of commercial real estate.
Part of my daily routine is to scan LinkedIn’s updates on career milestones, promotions and other similar items and make sure to respond with concise, appropriately crafted messages – typically something like “That’s wonderful news!,” or “Way to go!” or “Wow – I’m impressed!” When fellow professionals realize that you’ve taken the time to acknowledge their achievements, they’ll be far more likely to turn to you when they have a business need.
Those you know, those you don’t
Speaking of social media and networking, this is one of those business networking tips about what not to do. I may even be the key mistake for many companies and individuals. They put most or even all of their emphasis on outreach to prospective clients, while practically ignoring the tremendously valuable, current relationships they should also be fostering. Doing this is absolutely a recipe for stunting future growth.
How you utilize the various social media utilities you elect to use will vary depending on the field you’re in and the specific nature and scope of your business. There are several tactics that are almost universally effective. Know your core message – know exactly what it is you want and need to say and drive that point home with conviction. You are aware of what information can help your business thrive, so make sure that’s what you’re conveying with everything you post – whether you’re using words, images, or video.
In addition, when individuals or companies take the time to respond to your social media content, make sure you communicate with them, even if only with a “Thanks!” or a thumbs up emoji. When you post content on social media, you’re seeking attention for your business – so you want to be sure to recognize attention whenever you receive it.
Effective networking is time-consuming, and there’s often a temptation to put it on the back-burner to deal with what may seem like more pressing business concerns. But if there’s a single statement that incorporates all my business networking tips, it’s this – outreach and networking should become a part of your everyday routine. A strong, consistent networking effort is as much a key to my business and my professional success as the old reliables of follow up and follow through.
As the old adage goes, “what you put in is what you get out.” When it comes to networking, there’s no truer statement.
Marcy Gross, Executive VP, Sheldon Gross Realty