I wrote a couple weeks back on the importance of networking for loan officers (here), and this week I wanted to explore some of the things we absolutely should not do when we’re networking, if we want our efforts to be successful. If you want your business to grow, and you want to achieve long-term success in the industry, learning how to network effectively is a must. Networking provides you with a platform, along with new opportunities to build relationships. We covered many of the Dos in the article I mentioned earlier, but here are some of the Don’ts:
Not Following Up
The goal of networking for mortgage professionals is to meet like-minded people in the industry who they can potentially align themselves with. The problem for many LOs is that they fail to keep developing these relationships after the initial meeting. Send a note of appreciation to new contacts thanking them for their time and letting them know that you look forward to getting better acquainted. That way, you’re immediately memorable and they’re left with a positive reminder of their interaction with you. You also have to fulfill all your promises to them from the beginning — if you can’t keep your word, then you’re not going to have a relationship.
Not Utilizing Social Media
Social media has tens of millions of users every day, and those social networks offer tremendous opportunities for exponential network building. It’s not enough to put up some profiles and hope for business to magically appear, you have to share valuable content, and most importantly in relation to networking, you need to engage with your audience. Ask questions, comment on others’ posts and respond to comments on yours. If you do it right, you can develop new relationships while building your reputation in the process.
Staying in Your Comfort Zone
There’s no point in networking if you only socialize with the people you already know. Sure, it’s important to catch up with friends and acquaintances, but if you don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone and meet new people, you’re limiting the efficiency of your networks.
Focusing on What’s in It for You
Networking is, essentially, the act of making contact and exchanging information with others to develop mutually beneficial relationships. The word mutual is important. Find out what the other person needs and is interested in. Don’t just think about what you can get out of the interaction, but also about what you can give.
Underestimating the Importance of Regular Attendance
If the group meets once each month, and you only attend every other meeting, the other members of the group may not see you for 8 weeks. That’s long enough to make your making your networking efforts ineffective. Commit to events that fit your schedule, then attend most (or every) meeting. That way you stay fresh in the minds of the other members.
Using a One-On-One meeting to Solicit Your Service to Another Member
The true purpose of your networking should be to learn about others’ businesses and to share a little info about yours. It takes time to build trust and establish a relationship. Forget about selling and you’ll likely see more business from it. Investing your time and energy and will pay off — you just need to be patient. It’s not about getting a sale or profiting from every encounter immediately, patience is key.
Assuming Any Interaction is a Waste of Time
Unless you live in a village of 300 people, you never know who knows who or how one connection can lead to many others over time. Having said that, you don’t need to get involved in an hour-long conversation with someone you see no reason to connect with — just don’t be too quick to dismiss them either. At a networking event, see every person as an opportunity to build a relationship. You’ll certainly value some over others, and that’s part of the process; but remain open to everyone and don’t judge any connection too quickly.
If you’d like to talk more about what not to do when networking, or if I can be of assistance in some other way, please get in touch. I’m always happy to block off some time to connect.
Also, if you’re considering a move, we have some terrific opportunities for loan officers, sales managers, and branch managers that I’d love to discuss with you.
VP – Retail Market Leader