If you’re a real estate agent who is having difficulty getting leads, you might not be taking full advantage of your professional network. Your network of real estate agents is a group of professionals in the same field with whom you have close relationships. Many people avoid building relationships with other agents because they think it will be a waste of time.

Many agents worry about getting too close to their competition – especially in a market where there is a lot of it. While those fears are logical, most are misguided. Pairing up with another real estate agent has many benefits, such as being able to fill in for each other when one of you goes on vacation, sharing access to contractors and stagers, and expanding your business into other local markets. So what is there to truly be scared of? Having even just one good relationship with another agent can create a more extensive and less restricted network, as well as uncover opportunities you were unaware of.

Should you get closer to the competition? Yes.

Luckily, realtors are a naturally chatty group. There are certain strategies you can use to make sure you stand out at networking events, which will in turn help you to build connections that will diversify your business. Having confidence is also key in this process.

1. Wear Something Professional, Yet Memorable.

In a sea of white and light blue button-downs, a small change to your outfit can make a huge difference.

Other attendees will remember you more if you’re wearing something colorful or stylish. Would you be more likely to remember the guy with the funky, green pocket squares or one of the hundreds with black briefcases?

2. Complete Your Contact Card and Be Ready to Share It.

The piece of information that appears when you text someone else’s contact information is called your contact card. Having an inaccurate form could prevent you from having successful communication.

Here’s what we mean:

Most iPhones have 10 default fields for contacts, with the option to add more. Most people only fill out their contact information with their phone number and name, yet. Wouldn’t it be great if you could offer more value to your new contact by filling out all of the fields? Find social profiles and upcoming events without searching or asking friends. Make sure you complete every field so that new contacts can easily get in touch with you.

3. Make Your Business Card Stand Out.

The standard business card is not going anywhere, no matter how advanced communication technologies have become. There are ways to make sure that your business cards stand out from the others that attendees will receive.

Your business card should be an accurate reflection of you and your company. It should be professional and easy to read. Do the colors of this document match the branding of your other handouts? Does your logo reflect your business style and niche?

4. Research the Attendees.

Some advance preparation can go a long way to making an event more enjoyable and memorable – especially if it features prominent speakers. Consider the agents’ work in terms of smaller local areas, and think about which clients or niche they work with most often.

5. Break Out of Your Comfort Zone.

Network events are a great opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t normally come into contact with. If everyone just stood around waiting to be approached, it wouldn’t be much of a networking event. If you only talk to people you know, it won’t be very helpful. You need to keep your relationships strong by investing time and effort, but don’t become too comfortable where you are.

Make an effort to speak with someone you don’t usually talk to and be receptive to the new ideas they can share with you. The risks are low as you can always end the conversation politely and move on.

6. Don’t be Scared of the Big Players.

If you want to talk to a speaker who is surrounded by an excited and nervous crowd, the best time to do it is a few hours before they go on stage, or as early as possible. Assuming that you have done your research and with these confidence tips, you can easily host a conversation that will be memorable for both you and the other person.

This means: a balance between praise and curiosity, listening, speaking, and not devaluing your own skills in an effort to express your admiration for the other speaker. To maintain confidence when speaking to someone, think about why they would want to speak to you as much as you want to speak to them.

7. Make Sure Your Real Estate Website is Ready.

The goal of networking events is to make professional contacts and to foster relationships that will be beneficial to both parties in the long run. A poor website can be a hindrance to getting referrals from new contacts.

Once visitors arrive at your website, you should provide them with content and tools that show off your expertise and also help them learn new things. Your website can be designed in a way that makes it a powerful tool for attracting high-quality prospects easily.

8. Be a Good Listener.

Nobody enjoys the company of someone who is only interested in networking and who finds everything else boring. It’s important to remember that while other attendees can benefit from hearing about your real estate career, no one wants to be in a one-sided, high-pressure conversation. It is important to be attentive to what people are saying, both in and out of work-related settings, as this will help you to get the best version of people, which will in turn have positive effects on your career.

If you don’t listen properly, you will miss out on useful information that could be very helpful. If you listen carefully, you will be able to identify opportunities to get involved and be a great resource for your new contacts and new businesses.

9. Don’t Shy Away From Your Success.

Real estate networking events are one of the few situations in which it’s okay to talk about your career at length – as long as you do it in a way that won’t annoy people. Instead of coming on strong and selling yourself, try a softer approach. Let your work speak for itself and be humble about your accomplishments. Keep name and award-dropping within relevant topics and conversations.

10. Introduce Your New Connection to Other Connections.

A network is a system of connected parts. The goal is to have a great connection that leads to other awesome relationships and so on; gradually building a network of people who can help each other out.

If you know someone who is looking for a property that your new contact specializes in, don’t hesitate to give them that agent’s information. When you have the chance, they will do the same for you.

Don’t be afraid to state what you expect from referrals, as long as you do so in a calm and professional manner. Saying that you would love for your new acquaintance to share any relevant referrals with you is usually a clear enough hint.

11. Avoid Drinking, If Possible.

Alcohol may make you feel more relaxed, but it’s not a good idea to drink before a business event. There are many negative consequences to drinking alcohol at a networking event, such as forgetfulness, embarrassment, speaking out of turn, and aggression. It’s just not worth it.

12. Give More Than You Get.

Always enter social, networking environments ready to share. What resources, ideas, or information can you contribute to the organization? All referrals, whether they be for prospective clients or other professionals, can help realtors save time and prevent mistakes.

When you need a professional to help you with your real estate needs, you will already have several real estate agents who can refer you to a reliable contact.

13. Build Connections with Non-Agents.

Real estate is important because it provides shelter for people. If you’re looking to network with a wide variety of people in the real estate industry, large events such as the NAR Broker Summit or Inman Connect are a good place to start. Attendees of these events come from all different backgrounds, including marketers, bookkeepers, investors, and more. Even though they don’t sell homes, it’s still important to build professional relationships with experts in the real estate industry. Try to get to know and stay friendly with a lot of different real estate professionals who have the same values as you and who are liked and respected by others in the area.

An easy way to keep in touch is by optimizing your CRM and newsletters. Your CRM should have lists for non-client contacts, and you should periodically provide updated and reliable local information to those networking groups. You could promote local real estate professionals through your email list, and in exchange, you could ask for the same promotion.

14. Keep Your Goals in Mind.

What are your specific goals for attending this networking event? Are you unhappy with your current job in the real estate industry? Perhaps building new professional relationships could help improve your situation. v Is it to meet as many people as possible, learn new techniques, or seek out leaders who can serve as mentors?

You shouldn’t be afraid to talk about what you want in a casual way. If you are looking to partner up with someone at the event, start talking to people and see if you can find a match. You never know who might be looking for the same thing!

15. Find Your Networking Style.

You don’t have to be the most outgoing person in the room to have a successful and rewarding networking experience. What makes you successful as a real estate agent? It might be your compassion, attention to detail, or your ability to sense what your clients need before they say anything. The best way to stand out in any social situation is to be yourself and do what makes you feel the most confident.

If you are aware of your communication style and understand it, you will find ways to work with it instead of against it.

Do you struggle in group environments? If you want to make a good impression, try to be one of the first people to arrive at the event. This way, you won’t feel like all eyes are on you when you walk in. You will be the center of attention and conversations will start naturally.