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8 July 2008

Networking Vs. Relationship Building

One thing that I do every day is to make sure I am working on building relationships. Real estate is a people-intensive business and could easily be argued that we are actually the business of fostering‘relationships’, as opposed to managing‘transactions.’ As a result, the most critical activity for real estate sales associates, managers and owners alike, is to strengthen their relationships. This applies to both business and personal contacts and needs to be worked on a daily basis. Whether prospecting for buyers, sellers, hiring a top producer, or zeroing in on an M&A opportunity, effective relationship-building is the key to continued success.

Before going any further, it is important to draw a distinction between good relationship building and what is commonly referred to as ‘networking.’I would submit that networking,as it is now practiced,is a passé concept. The implications surrounding some networking techniques almost defeat the purposes for which they were designed. Terms such as ‘speed networking’ and other similarly impersonal ideas almost offend the senses. Stop and ask yourself… how can anyone build a relationship while moving at warp-speed? I always remind myself that the most important thing one person can give to another is their time and thoughtful attention. This is where quality relationships are born.

Social Networking

 

 The interesting thing about our present business environment is the variety of tools, new and old, available to real estate professionals for relationship-building purposes. The danger is that it is easy to get lost in the ‘how’ of communicating and forget about the all-important ‘content’ of the communication. So whether using long established techniques such as contacting a sphere of influence, or electronic tools such as “LinkedIn“, my goal is singular; to communicate something that will cause a relationship to deepen.

How is this accomplished? The answer is surprisingly simple. Effective relationship building involves communicating information that another person genuinely wants to know about. We need to step away from our own agendas and become more interested in other people’s needs.  If we do this, the issue of unread e-mails or unreturned phone calls will greatly diminish over time.

 

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