Last month I attended a great fundraising event that a friend of mine organized. Of course, I wanted to support my friend as well as the good cause. But also, I know that networking opportunities present themselves just about everywhere. This event was no exception.

So there I was enjoying some good conversation and tasty food when I couldn’t help but overhear, what seemed to me, a confrontation among the small group of people standing nearby. In the end, it wasn’t really a confrontation, as in an argument. No… It was a confrontation, as in networking gone terribly wrong.

From what I could tell, this is what happened: a couple of women were standing nearby chatting. When suddenly a third woman approached, abruptly interrupting their conversation. In a loud, commanding voice I heard, “Hilary, did you listen to my voice mail? I was hoping I would have heard back from you by now.” The two women who had been talking amongst themselves seemed to stand there silent for a few seconds before one of them responded, promising the return call was on her to-do list. That was that—the confrontation was over and the original two were left to continue their conversation.

Do you think Hilary will call this person back? I don’t. Why? Because I know I wouldn’t want to do business with her after witnessing that incident.

Networking is about connecting. If you want to end up with new business, new connections, and new deals after attending networking events, you need to fully understand the right and wrong way to make strong, lasting business connections. You need to network to connect.

The worst mistake you could possibly make is assuming that you are the highest priority, and your highest priority is also the highest priority of the person you’re trying to do business with. This networking strategy will leave you with little more than a lot of useless business cards.

Of course, networking is extremely important in the real estate business. In fact, networking is pivotal for starting and building working relationships.

But when you get right down to it, networking can seem almost too self-serving—one person tries to make as many contacts as possible just so those contacts can do something for him or her.

Of course, this is why we network—we all have business needs to fulfill. But it is important to remember that other people are networking too, and we need to be aware of others’ needs too.

We need to connect with the people we meet. When we connect with them, we should develop at least some understanding of what they are all about. Rather than thinking solely about what others can do for me, think about what we can do for each other and for each others' businesses. This helps form the connection.

I stick to this rule of thumb every time, and guess what-- deals follow.

Making a true two-way connection might require a little more work than simply shoving your business card at a potential client. But the extra money you can make and the new opportunities you can open up for your business are well worth the effort.

To make real, lasting connections that lead to potential deals, just put yourself out there, be genuine and live your business’ mission. You will see-- people will come to you for deals and business.

Check out these tips to create lasting and profitable connections through networking.

1. Cultivate your connection: You need to project an image of approachability, understanding and knowledge. Be genuine and be yourself. Express interest in everyone you meet; remember names; and listen attentively as people speak with you. Try to understand their needs and determine how you could assist each other. Building trust is a vital component of relationship building (i.e., connecting!).

2. Make small talk: Having the ability to talk to anyone about anything is a valuable skill. It is also crucial for making lasting, profitable connections. If you can initiate a conversation, you are more likely to meet people who will turn out to be lasting, profitable contacts. Small talk can sometimes be difficult to muster up, so try to always have a few small talk ideas at the ready to use in any kind of situation (examples: Where are you from? or How did you get started?).

3. Be an active listener: Networking to connect is not just about selling yourself or your business. It is also about listening to the other person and showing him or her that you are truly interested. Allow others to open up and talk freely. Give them your undivided attention even if it is just for a few minutes. Show interest in what is being said by nodding or agreeing. Try to use positive body language—face the person you are speaking with, and make eye contact.

4. Be a giver: When you focus on helping others, you too will receive. Do you like people who just seem to take take take, but never give? I don’t. When you are generous, people will notice and respect you. And, most people would rather do business with people they respect, trust, and like. I know I do. Being a giver is not that hard. Try some simple things like acting as a host at events you attend. Do this is by connecting others. Either introduce two people to each other (very easy) or provide a testimonial about a person you admire to the entire group (easy). These acts allow you to focus on others while also building solid equity among your peers. Be a giver and everyone wins.

5. Stay positive: Try to have a happy, congenial demeanor upon walking in the door. People tend to flock toward those who appear energetic, positive, and outgoing. Remember-- people enjoy doing business with people they like, so be a person who others like. Also, leave your problems at the door. Whatever you do, don’t talk about your problems. People have enough problems of their own. Focus on the positive and strive to make people forget their own troubles while in your presence.

6. Don't sell: Remember what I said earlier about listening? Connecting is not about trying to push your agenda. It is about building relationships with people. Once you've made a connection, those people will likely be happy to tell others about you and what you do. Word of mouth and the word of others are so much more valuable than you talking about your own accomplishments. Take every chance you possibly can to let others know what you do and who you are. Try it and see—it’s definitely more powerful than giving a new contact your standard elevator speech or sales pitch.

7. Get creative with your follow up: Most people send an email to follow-up with new connections. It’s definitely the easiest and quickest way to follow up. But why not stand out after the event by hand-writing a thank you card or note. Whichever method you choose, make sure to mention something from your conversation.

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Author's Bio: 

Dave Lindahl offers a different point of view on real estate investing by showing you, through education and coaching, how to start making money from right where you are, and taught directly by him. Go to to discover how to unleash your real estate profits. Contact Dave at Creative Success Alliance.

800-649-0133 or 781-878-7114. 100 Weymouth Street, Bldg D, Rockland, MA, 02370.