It goes without saying that when you meet up with professionals who are either active in your own industry or in any other industry for that matter, you should seek to network – you should seek to formulate a contact point through which some future collaboration could materialise. In the real estate industry pretty much all our business comes from networking, which is why I reckon some of the best lessons in networking can be learned from real estate.
Sales exist in different forms
The collaborations which you’d seek to establish don’t necessarily have to resemble the typical relationship between a buying client and a selling provider. You can gain value out of your relationship with a new contact in more ways than just exchanging cash for a product or service.
I exchanged contact details with a luxury car salesman, for example, and he requested to use one of the upmarket houses which were up for sale as the venue to host a luxury car showing for some of his prospective clients who otherwise only see the cars parked in the downtown showroom. In exchange for this he sponsored us with one of these luxury cars, so it’s a win-win, with no money exchanging hands.
The contacts you make at a networking session probably have a lot of requests to have to sift through, so whenever you make first contact you should make it count by giving some kind of value. Don’t come right out with a sales offer or a one-sided requested which would be to your benefit only. Give value in whatever way you can, such as giving them some information which could help them in some way or suggesting a solution to a problem they may have shared with you upon your first meeting and exchanging contact details, or a problem which you may have identified yourself.
Finding value to give
Think you have no value to offer? Look around you and take a closer look at the everyday things you do as part of your regular business operations. You’ll find that you have plenty of value to give, even if it won’t cost you anything at all. You didn’t get to where you are right now by just inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. There are some trials you put into practice, some errors made and some discoveries made as well. Use that experience.
In my specific case I really wanted to add some value to the business life of a contact I met at a networking session, who seemed to have it all, except he did complain about admin operations becoming a bit too burdensome during a time when we could have all done with a bit of tightening of the belts. I merely suggested that he makes use of the Check Stub Maker I’ve been using for a good couple of years now, which would probably allow him to free up some of the staff in HR to lend a hand somewhere else.
I’m pretty sure that’s a suggestion in the form of advice he really appreciates and it didn’t cost me a single penny to provide that value.