I spot a potential house on the MLS, but the tenant has first right of refusal and is therefore – unsurprisingly – making it difficult to show. I still feel leads aren’t coming in fast enough, so it’s time for some of the old meet-and-greet.

This has probably been the stickiest issue between my partners and me. I had expected to be introduced, passed around as the new kid, but one whose credentials were trustworthy, would you please help her? Instead I found the Rolodexes fairly closed. Aha, I thought, they’re waiting to see my demeanor before they introduce me. So I tunneled in, as bright and energetic and polite as I could be. And then I raised this as an issue again. One of my partners suggested that estate lawyers would be good leads, and I said, “which ones?” and he literally picked up the Yellow Pages. A chill ran down my spine at that, but I just wrote a memo asking them to set up a speaking venue for me, so maybe I could do a little seminar or something and meet people that way.

I had already tried to set something up for myself, calling a city council member and the development guy in the mayor’s office and the librarian and a couple of local newspapers and a couple of local pastors, and I just hadn’t gotten anywhere. No traction. I complained to my friend Jen about this, and like the sensible person she is, she suggested a networking event.

I firmly believe there’s a whole sub-world of professional networking groups out there, and I’d love to hear your experiences with them. I’ve only just started, so I went to a party thrown by AREW, the Association of Real Estate Women, which is a New York-city based organization with about 250 members.

Three little words: shrimp-o-rama. The party was held in a nightspot so nice the food was actually good. (Although, am I the only one who thinks it’s weird to hold a women’s event in a place with skimpily dressed cocktail waitresses? When businessmen go off to play golf, it’s not like the caddies are dressed in tight little outfits.)

Contact one: the girl I couldn’t understand. She said she does “IT relo” and after five minutes of shouting things like, “So you give brokers leads?” “No, they give me leads” we nodded at each other and parted ways.

Contact two: Score! An appraiser who’s working in, bless the saints, New Jersey. She doesn’t know who is selling the latest project she’s appraised, but maybe she can get me a builder contact – it can’t hurt to try. But what can I do for her? I’m just a writer! Did I mention, dear readers, that she was beautiful?

Contacts three and four: gossiping away with contact two about the continued strength of the Harlem market. Sample quote: “They’re spending $40 million to build a garage worth $11 million – but the retailers need the parking support.”

Contact five: A reporter I already know, who reports he’s unwound two of the three pre-construction syndicates he’s in in Miami “for a nice profit.”

Contact six: A title something-or-other (insurer? Attorney? I didn’t catch it) who has just joined the Greenwich Junior League. She confesses she’s not quite of the preppy mold. “At one meeting they told me I was too brash,” she says confidentially. “But it’s interesting to meet people who are all the same, y’know?”

Contact seven: A real estate supersaleswoman I already know and love. She speaks all the time – I met her at the Learning Annex – so I tell her I’m trying to set up a speaking gig and what sort of hit rate should I expect? “It’s not necessarily about direct leads,” she says. “I just spoke before some CPAs and I was nervous, so I did all numbers, but it was fantastic and this guy goes home and says ‘Honey, I just heard this speaker and she’s the perfect broker for us.’ And his wife says, ‘no honey, we just got this mailing and I’ve got the perfect broker.’ And it turns out the mailing was from me! It all fits.”

Contact eight: I’m leaving, really, but a bunch of guys are lingering near the doorway and I can’t help but ask one of them what he’s doing at a female networking event. “Meeting a bunch of very nice women,” is the answer, which I just love him for. Although he’s probably too young to marry off to my friend Karen (yes, I quiz him) I find out that he’s thinking of buying in New York and I walk him through the numbers of first-time financing. I won’t get paid for that, but karmically, it must be good for something.

***

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