Join the exceptional and become a Sotheby’s International Realty agent.
When luxury real estate agents need to foster their referral networks and forge new professional relationships, industry events are fundamental. But what about when you want to connect with prospective clients?
According to Anders Elbe, Real Estate Agent with Sweden Sotheby’s International Realty in Stockholm, there are a variety of luxury events that enable bridge-building with affluent individuals who could become buyers or sellers in the future.
“These events offer a personal connection and face-to-face interaction that digital networking can’t fully replicate,” he notes. “It allows for genuine relationship building, provides opportunities to showcase expertise, and creates memorable impressions that can lead to high-value, long-term client relationships.”
For Spencer Wall, Real Estate Associate at Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, a potential client is always just a degree of separation away. He sums it up succinctly: “As humans, we tend to like people like us; people who love luxury are friends with people who love luxury.”
So how can you make the most of non-real estate events to network with potential clients and even potential partners or professional contacts? Elbe and Wall share three essential tactics.
1. Leave as little up to chance as possible
As Elbe explains, you can’t just walk into an event and expect to encounter the right people. Rather, you need to put the proper pieces in place intentionally. “Identify and attend events that attract high-net-worth individuals,” he recommends. “Start by researching the event and attendees, and if possible, you can even look into connecting or collaborating with event organizers.”
Potential gatherings include upscale charity galas, art exhibitions and gallery receptions, fashion shows and afterparties, and other exclusive social get-togethers. “In person, you can make a lasting impression. A compliment or encouragement to someone is sometimes never forgotten,” says Wall.
“Try to maintain a consistent presence at these events to connect with potential clients and partners,” adds Elbe. By becoming a fixture in the luxury social scene, other attendees see you as a familiar face — and, eventually, a familiar friend.
2. Know when to speak and how to listen
Wall and Elbe agree that developing genuine relationships is key — and to do so successfully, you need to comfortably initiate an interaction and then let the prospect lead.
“Focus on introductions, ask questions, and then listen — and a real relationship will be a natural byproduct,” advises Wall. “Notice something about them to break the ice. ‘So where’s home for you?’ is one of the easiest questions for people to answer.”
Once a conversation starts, shine the spotlight on the other person. “Ask open-ended questions about their interests and passions,” says Elbe. “Find common ground beyond real estate, actively listen and take a genuine interest in their responses.”
As Elbe explains, once you know a prospect’s interests, you can potentially serve as a resource in those areas — and that’s where the final piece of advice comes in.
3. Be more than just a fleeting impression
Just as it’s crucial to be consistent in attending events, it’s likewise essential to be consistent when staying in touch with new contacts. “Follow up right away — even the same day or evening,” says Wall.
But remember to never come across as a salesperson. “Start with a personalized message expressing appreciation,” suggests Elbe. “Reference the event, add value that’s relevant to the interests, topics, or concerns they expressed, and perhaps suggest a casual meeting in the near future to continue the conversation.”
From there, nurture the lead. “You can follow up again when appropriate, usually basing your timing on how they respond to your initial, immediate message,” says Wall.
“Connect on social media and be professional,” continues Elbe. “Keep in touch with updates, and create or curate content targeted to their needs and wishes — always respecting boundaries and preferences. Patiently build trust over time by being responsive and respectful.”
Many real estate brokerages also maintain CRMs or other processes for tracking a pipeline of qualified leads, prospects and clients; such systems can be helpful in measuring and optimizing results.
Act with tact to set yourself up for success
“Consistent and patient efforts are key, and showcasing your expertise without a hard sales pitch can position you as a trusted professional in the luxury real estate industry,” says Elbe.
While referrals from colleagues and clients, both past and present, may be a luxury agent’s main source of new business, cultivating new relationships through a variety of events is exciting, fulfilling and rewarding for everyone.