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Terrible at golf? Try these 5 unconventional networking ideas.

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biz-networking-320x213You may not have much of a golf swing, but you know that networking makes a big difference when it comes to building new business. Good news: you can leave the golf attire at home and hit “snooze” on that 4 a.m. alarm, because we’ve got five not-so-typical networking ideas for getting your name out there and establishing yourself as your area’s go-to commercial real estate broker.

1. Attend a local opening-and bring a plus-one.

When a new local business opens—whether it’s a retail store, art gallery, or restaurantthe owners often throw an opening event. Keep your eye on the local paper for news of openings, and when you find one that overlaps with the interests of a contact, shoot them an email and ask them to join you. It can be a great opportunity to learn more about their real estate needs (e.g. “I love how accessible this space is from the highway, without being too loud.”).

2. Create social media accounts, and use them right.

LinkedIn and Twitter can be fertile ground for networking when you don’t have time for (or just don’t enjoy) doing it in person. Begin new professional relationships and stand out as a CRE expert by following others in the business, posting relevant articles, and commenting on others’ posts. Better yet, ask an interesting question in the comments section; it could start a conversation that may turn into a lead. (And if you’d like even more exposure, we’re always looking for brokers to feature in our “Broker Insights” articles. To be a part of an upcoming story, send us a note!)

3. Meet designers and architects on their turf.

You may already be gearing up for a few big CRE conferences, but a quick Google search can also turn up industrial design or architectural events in your area. So why go? You can meet the people designing and building the very properties your next client is going to want to know about. Introduce yourself to the speakers to learn more about their projects, as well as current design and building trends. You’ll gain useful insights, and—who knows?—they might have a project they’re looking to sell space in, or know someone else who does.

4. Connect with tomorrow’s CEOs on campus.

Live near a college or university? Reach out to see if the school’s entrepreneurial club hosts guest speakers. It might sound a little intimidating, but remember that these are business students who want to learn the ins and outs of how to land a space for their future companies from a professional (that’s you!). Even if they don’t immediately need your services, they may be connected to other business professionals or mentors who might!

5. Sign up for a storytelling event.

Storytelling events, where everyday people tell a short, true story to a small audience, are popping up all over the country. Here’s how you can turn it into a networking advantage. Your potential clients want to know: What value will you bring to them? The most memorable way to communicate that value is through a story. Think of a successful deal that started out difficult, funny, or strange in some way, and tell a compelling story about how you used your talents to succeed. Even if there aren’t any potential clients in the audience, you’ll have a great, ready-to-go story to tell the next prospect you meet!