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Real estate professionals are friendly people. They have to be, considering that one of the most important parts of their job is interacting with others — whether that’s fellow agents, buyers, sellers or prospective clients.

That’s why most people in the real estate industry have a large sphere of influence and a solid base from which to garner prospective business. A sphere of influence is important, and real estate agents are always looking to expand theirs.

This can be done through a variety of different ways, most commonly by prospecting and networking. Although there’s a difference in prospecting and networking, both help grow your business and brand by meeting new people and getting your name out there.

And while we’ve covered prospecting in different posts here, we haven’t focused as much on networking — which, for real estate agents, isn’t so much about getting into a bigger office, but about expanding your sphere of influence and growing your potential prospect pool organically. Here are 11 tips to help you successfully master the skill of networking.

1. Be Yourself

Remember: You’re not necessarily looking to get a client out of these networking interactions. Talk about the weather, sports, music or family; let real estate market talk and/or business come up organically.

2. Act Professional

That said, be polite and courteous. If a new acquaintance does end up needing a realtor at some point, you don’t want them to have any negative thoughts regarding you.

3. Set a Goal

Going to a backyard barbecue or high school graduation party? Aim to meet and really connect with three, five or 10 complete strangers.

4. Start Small

If you’re a new agent or just starting out in a new location, maybe the big community get-together or the local high school’s annual homecoming football game isn’t the best way to make your mark. Instead, start with smaller gatherings until you get the lay of the land.

5. Take Notes

If you get a business card or phone number, jot down a few notes to help you remember the person and what type of conversations you had.

6. Listen

This goes without saying, but it’s rule No. 1 in any potential relationship.

7. Be Engaging

Ask questions. Find a connection through similar interests or experiences. Be memorable.

8. Join a Club or Team

It’s an easy — and fun! — way to meet new people.

9. Attend Events

Networking is all about getting out there. If you’re a seasoned veteran, going to community events is a good way to catch up and stay top of mind with old clients. If you’re a rookie, it’s a great and unintimidating way to get yourself out there.

10. Be Social

Media, that is. Here are “5 Ways Social Media Can Grow Your Real Estate Business.”

11. Follow Through

The whole reason you’re networking is to get your name out there and expand your sphere of influence. So add the people you meet on social media, shoot them a text to set up a coffee date, or continue your conversation the next time you see them. And, remember, all of this might not come easy. It is networking, after all — not net-playing!

Are you a real estate agent looking for tools that will help you save time? Learn how ShowingTime products and services help free up your time to focus on other tasks to grow your business.