You can not expect to find success in real estate, unless you master relationship building.
Many people think that the key to real estate investing is finding the right property in the right location. However, in reality, there is far more to it than that. All investors need a dependable team of insurance agents, lawyers, lenders and/or brokers. The quickest method to meet the right people is to attend networking events. All the attendees share the same core goals, and are keen to speak to other like minded investors. The following advice will help you to make the most out of each event you attend.
Be selective about the events you go to. Some events, while informative, might not be the best use of your time – with respect to financing real estate. Always opt for real estate events that center on your specific niche. If you can’t find any, try setting up your own event.
Have a basic sales pitch rehearsed to use in casual conversation. Even better, rehearse several pitches that you can use at different events. Frequently, people will ask you what you do, so you need something to say that summarizes your business, like: “I locate distressed commercial properties, then partner on them or finance them with my investor network. Then, we refinance, stabilize and cash flow them for about a decade”.
Aim to make valuable contacts, instead of just talking to as many people as possible. A couple of quality contacts will do far more for your business ambitions than twenty poor contacts. Be politely ruthless, and do not shy away from finishing a discussion and moving on. Networking events should be used to connect with people who can help you, so do not waste time with those who can’t. Essentially, if you meet someone who shares the same types of ambitions as you, and who conducts their business in a similar way, spend time with them. Be courteous and move on whenever you meet people who are involved in completely different ventures.
Adopt a value adding mindset, because no one will be inclined to do business with you if you have nothing to offer.
Learn some useful skills that you can talk to people about at networking events. For instance, if you lack experience in buying real estate but are computer savvy, you could offer to teach people about online marketing so they can acquire more sales leads on the web. Having said that, it is important not to come across like a cheap salesperson, so engage with people tactfully. Focus on how you can make selling real estate easier for them, without any suggestion of self promotion. Ultimately, you want to form long lasting relationships with the right people, so don’t turn them off by being too forthright. Otherwise, you could miss out on years of mutual financial rewards.
Take an organised approach to receiving business cards. You don’t want to end up with a wallet full of them, and be unable to recall who you wanted to get in touch with. Keep the cards from your best contacts in a different place to the other cards. Better still, write notes on the cards so you can follow up on them quickly and easily.
While you network, be highly attentive to other people. Everyone enjoys talking about themselves, so be their sounding board.
This might be a challenge, particularly if there are other distractions at the event (like alcohol). Nonetheless, listen carefully to everything they say and ask questions that encourage them to talk more. This will elevate you in their eyes and you will gain a greater insight into them.
If you will be attending a public event with listed participants, do some research into them. This way, you can zone in on the people who will be most helpful to you. Also, if you demonstrate that you have taken the time to learn more about them, they should be impressed when you speak to them and more receptive to forming a good relationship. By the same token, be aware that people might research you online before the event, so try to remove anything that you would prefer to keep private — like those embarrassing stag photos of you on Facebook from five years ago.
Try to help people with similar business goals to meet each other. This might not be possible when you first start going to networking events, however as your network of contacts grows, you can link people up to one another. This positions you as a ‘facilitator’, which means that people will probably repay the favor to you at a later date.
Have numerous questions and subjects planned in advance.
This can be useful to avoid awkward silences, and start conversations with people smoothly. Also, relationship building is an ongoing process, so make the effort to speak to the same people regularly. People will come to trust and respect you more through time, simply because you are more familiar to them. Use the opportunity that networking events give you to speak to people multiple times, and soon they will become your valued work colleagues.
Remember to take your business cards with you, as well as a pen and paper. Dress in a smart/casual way, with your name tag clearly displayed. Build rapport with people by making small talk. Mention subjects that you both have an interest in, but which are unrelated to the event itself. Talk about your recent holiday, the latest football news or your children. People will see you as a more rounded person that they can relate to, so don’t underestimate the importance of doing this.
Try to attend a reasonable number of events. A single event will not benefit you sufficiently. Ideally, you should attend a few events each month. This number can increase, once you have more experience of rehabbing properties.
Finally, make sure that you follow up with all the relevant people from each event. Arrange to meet them face to face, and speak to them over the telephone. These meetings and conversations can result in profitable long lasting relationships. Based on the specific individual and their role, you may wish to find an excuse to contact them on a monthly or bi monthly basis.