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I have been in the property finance markets since 2000 and before that in a commercial earthmoving environment for eight years operating in the Sales & Service field. In all these years I have realised that, no matter what business genre you pursue, the way to succeed in your field is firstly through product knowledge and secondly through relationships (i.e. networking).
Product knowledge is a given and essential to operate as an expert in your chosen business field. Networking has many forms, both the traditional “face to face” networking as well as electronic via blogs and forums available on the internet. Being in a sales environment, I would expect and assume that most people are familiar with “face to face” networking, as there are hosts of events, functions, and training days that you can attend to gain knowledge as well as network with like-minded professionals. Electronic networking has many options, and the one that I will focus on in more detail is a professional networking site called LinkedIn.
On a personal front, a good colleague of mine needed urgent accommodation in Cape Town for their daughter who was starting at college and as a result they needed a rental unit. Not that familiar with Cape Town, I sorted my LinkedIn contacts by area and emailed this specific group of +/- 60 agents with my requirements. Within a few hours I had replies, referrals and possible rentals emailed back to me, with 25 replies by the next day. This all took place on Friday, and I was able to forward these emails to my colleague, who was able to view them that weekend while they were down in Cape Town. What a fantastic tool!
Another example was the 12 Hour Cansa Relay which we recently held in the East Rand, where I was able to promote and blog about this wonderful event. Through this fantastic tool, I was able to assist the committee to reach a new SA record in fund-raising for Cansa (just over one million rand).
Very useful features of LinkedIn are the many discussion groups one can join, which cover a variety of topics and interests. I recall one group was “chatting” about South Africa and the state of homes and accommodation during the FIFA World Cup. I was able to make a comment and link a client who had a B&B in PE, allowing them to make contact and secure accommodation through this discussion group.
LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool if used effectively. My advice would be to use it every day, even if you are just posting messages or updating your profile. Others will see your activity and connect. If you don’t want to start your own discussion group, join other groups and let your voice be heard.
I wish to personally invite you to join my network on LinkedIn or get in touch by sending me an Email.
Wishing you all a very prosperous future.
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