Networking Faux Pas
Networking is essential in real estate, but there is a delicate balance you must find when attending professional networking events. Being social and engaging is important, but it is equally important to avoid seeming insincere or over-eager. We talked to some of our long-term members to see what networking faux pas should be avoided at professional events, and everyone seems to agree that stalking asset managers and being over-aggressive at an event is a turn-off.
“From my point of view, at an event like Five Star, it is important not to harass asset managers,” said Juan Cevallos of RE/MAX College Park Realty.
Mary Cubelo-Hinton of Sun Crest Florida Properties agrees and said not to “inundate asset managers asking for business” or “try to become something you think they want you to be.”
“You shouldn’t stalk whoever you want to do business with,” said Susan Hill of Hill Group Real Estate Services. “You shouldn’t give someone your business card unless they ask,” she said because doing so may seem over-eager and isn’t effective. “They’ll throw it in the trash on the way out the door,” Hill said adding, “I don’t collect business cards.” She only asks for a card if she has a conversation that would lead to a natural follow-up later.
Asset managers will meet many agents at each event. “Be yourself, and have fun,” Hill said. She believes you can make a good impression simply by being nice, and then if you make a connection, or an asset manager knows they have a need in your area, they can ask for a business card to follow up with you later.
Many networking events take place as happy hours featuring cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. This is a great way to create a social atmosphere for comfortable conversation, but agents should always remember the purpose of the event. Hill says it is important to avoid drinking too much when trying to make professional connections. In fact, she advises agents avoid drinking altogether when networking with asset managers.
Social Media Tips
Social media can be a quick and easy way to distribute a message, but engaging your target audience and generating leads can be a much more elusive goal.
Facebook is the go-to social media site for real estate agents with around 1.3 billion total users. About 77 percent of agents use Facebook to market themselves and network with other professionals, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). However, only about 25 percent of those surveyed by NAR said they felt “extremely comfortable” using social media, so we talked to our members about some social media faux pas to avoid.
“Business is business,” said Mary Cubelo-Hinton of Sun Crest Florida Properties. However, she says if you have a major personal milestone, it’s okay to post about it as long as this type of post does not occur too frequently.
Graham Wood, senior editor at Realtor.com, said, “Do share personal tidbits about your life. Let people know you have interests outside of real estate.” However, he goes on to say, “But not even your mother wants to know what you ate for breakfast—unless it was something really memorable.”
Hinton also advises against criticizing competitors on social media because it’s unprofessional and may turn away potential clients. Both potential clients and other real estate professionals may be concerned that you would speak negatively about them publicly as well.
Juan Cevallos of RE/MAX College Park Realty agrees that the platform should be used for professional purposes only. “You shouldn’t be obnoxious,” said Juan Cevallos, urging that we always remember social media is a public forum. “You shouldn’t post anything offensive where everyone can see it,” he said.
It’s important to also remember who you’re trying to reach on Facebook, and try to provide helpful and useful information relevant to your target audience. Cevallos says his Facebook page is filled with professional images, articles, videos of his listings, and general market information. The consensus: keep it professional, and keep it positive.