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Business Networking Tips from an Expert | By: Beth Slade

Excerpts from “Business Networking Tips and Tricks from An Expert” by Sally Aquire

Networking can be a great way to improve your real estate investing business. Gain leads, find reliable tradespeople, learn about new products and services that can make your real estate business go from now to “Wow”!

For this post, I have taken tips from Katharine Hansen, author of “A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way Into the Hidden Market,” gives her advice on how you can use networking to your advantage at work.

Q: Who are the best people to network with – should you stick to people who are in the same industry as yourself, or broaden your horizons further?

Most real estate investors have “regular” full time jobs so they aren’t around other people in the real estate business on a daily basis. Joining a real estate investment group such as MREI brings you in contact with those people and businesses that can fill in the gaps: what’s new on the legal front, how do you negotiate successfully, who has leads or who is buying what…

Q: What are the best ways to go about in-person networking?

“Be sure to tell every contact you come across – in a concise way – exactly what you want to do and what you can offer. (Some would call this communication an ‘elevator ‘). Then, ask every contact two questions: a) What advice can you give me? and b) Who should I be talking to?”

Q: Can you still be a good networker if you’re not naturally confident and sociable?

“Of course. Nearly 50 percent of the US population describes itself as shy, according to Wendy Gelberg, author of The Successful Introvert. A good way for the shy and introverted to network is with a buddy. Buddies can give each other moral support while holding each other accountable.”

Q: Would you recommend networking through social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn?

“Social media should definitely be a component in anyone’s networking mix. I recommend participation in the Big 3: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, along with one’s own Web site using his or her name as domain name (like mine, http://katharinehansenphd.com), and 1-2 niche social media venues, such as venues related to one’s field. The big caveat with social media is that it should not be at the expense of face-to-face networking. Social media should take only a small portion of the [real estate investor’s] time because face-to-face networking will be much more effective.”

Q: Do business cards still have a role to play in networking?

“Some people will prefer tracking contact information on a mobile device or other technology, but for many, a good, old-fashioned business card is a tangible way to keep track of contacts and give your information to others.”

Q: Once you’ve gained contacts, how should you go about using them to your advantage when you need to?

“Think about providing mutual benefit, thinking not only of what your contacts can do for you, but what you can do for them. Also keep your contacts up to date on your progress, and thank them for even the smallest bit of help they give you.”

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