In preparation for the upcoming SIOR Spring World Conference, I am reminded of the importance of building and maintaining true business relationships – friendships that go beyond the traditional notion of networking. Also, that this process does not happen overnight.
Seasoned real estate professionals understand the value in staying closely connected to the industry. SIOR proudly consists of over 3,000 incredibly talented members. These amazing individuals provide us a competitive advantage. However, relationships are not built through email or social media, they develop over time.
There is a distinct difference between networking and developing a trusted bond. One is about receiving something and the other is about serving. A true friend, a trusted ally will always be there to help and offer guidance.
SIOR presents us with a unique opportunity to learn, grow and build connections along the way. As we get set to meet in Las Vegas, provided are five (5) areas that have helped me over the years to shift away from networking to relationship building:
- Learn to Listen. We all have a special skillset, but if we endeavor to gain new and creative ideas, we must learn to listen to what those around us have to say.
- Try a Different Approach. Too often we fall into the trap of starting out a conversation by asking “what do you do?” Lead with something that is non-business related.
- Be True to You. Don’t make the mistake of trying to be someone you aren’t. Honesty and authenticity will always produce the very best results.
- Come Prepared. Be ready to intelligently talk about your market, company, and area of expertise. As John Wooden is often quoted, “Confidence comes from being prepared.”
- Invest the Time. The best way to get to know others is through working side by side with them. You must be willing to invest and get involved, sharing experiences that go beyond a few drinks at the bar. Take action and volunteer by joining a committee.
The very best opportunities come through long-term relationships, not the immediacy of networking. As unfair as it may seem to some, the job, the promotion, the referral will always go to a trusted confidant over a stranger.
SIOR is a large network. Yet, I am extremely grateful to have built an amazing group of friends and colleagues within it that have become much more than an “association.”
What are you doing to develop a stronger alliance within the SIOR organization? It's fine if the goal in networking is to achieve more money, but don’t let it be your sole purpose. You will miss the opportunity to gain so much more in the process.