We have all heard it before: real estate is a people business — it always has been and always will be. The relationships one is able to establish over the course of their real estate career are invaluable, and oftentimes the difference between success and failure. It’s worth noting, however, that valuable relationships aren’t simply going to form themselves; they need to be nurtured and cared for enable to bare fruit. And as far as I am concerned, nothing has the potential to develop meaningful relationships more so than real estate networking. If for nothing else, real estate networking is the practice of surrounding yourself with individuals that bring something valuable to the table; something that can help your business realize its true potential.
Real estate networking is a lot like any other skill in an investor’s arsenal: it needs to be honed and refined. With that in mind, there may be no better time of the year to see to it that your real estate networking skills are up to par than right now; right just as the calendar turns to 2017. In fact, I recommend those of you trying to improve your real estate networking results to set a few resolutions. That way, you can work towards tangible goals in order to better your networking results.
1. Play The Numbers Game
Not unlike most industries that rely on lead generation, investing in real estate is a numbers game; the more people you align yourself with on a professional level, the more likely you will be to find that valuable contact. That said, it’s in your best interest to introduce yourself to as many people as possible. This New Year’s, make an effort to meet at least one new contact a week. That’s not to say you can’t try to meet more people, but one new contact a week will add up over the course of a year. Provided you are able to meet your resolution, that’s 52 new contacts you could end up with by the end of next year.
I want to encourage investors to put themselves out there — perhaps stepping out of their comfort zone — in order to make new contacts. It’s worth noting, however, that any attempt to network must be done sincerely. Only a genuine attempt to get to know someone will lead to a beneficial relationship. I recommend offering your services before ever trying to get something in return. Find out what it is your potential contact needs, and find out how you can deliver it to them. Trust me, people are much more likely to reciprocate their appreciation in the event they are made a priority.
With that in mind, don’t assume someone isn’t a contact. Treat everyone as if they will be the course of your next big deal. After all, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. You never know where your next deal will come from, so don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Play the numbers game and network with everyone you can. Try to attend a local REIA or Real Esate Club meeting in the upcoming weeks.
2. Master The Art Of The Follow-Up
Real estate networking is in no way a one-and-done endeavor. And by that I am referring to the amount of times it takes to officially make a contact. If for nothing else, no networking campaign will be successful if you never see the other individual again. You need to make an effort to follow-up on your efforts. Provided you have established a connection with someone, the next thing you will want to do is follow-up on your initial meeting. The follow-up is pivotal in real estate networking, which begs the question: What’s the best way to follow-up?
I highly recommend gleaning a bit of personal information from your first contact, as it will give you something to break the ice with the next time you intend to talk to them, which should be sooner rather than later. Perhaps they have a favorite football team or hobby you could mention the next time you talk. In doing so, you will set a precedent; one that makes the other person feel important. You would be surprised at how much respect a good memory can earn you.
Having said that, I want to encourage investors intent on networking to follow-up as soon as they can. Following the initial meeting with an individual, make an effort to follow-up on your previous conversation. That doesn’t mean you need to send an email before you get back to your car, but it does mean that you will want to show them you appreciate their time while they still remember you.
I want you to try to follow-up with potential contacts no later than two days into the future. The sooner you can get back to them, the more likely they are to remember you and the conversation you already shared.
3. Attend Conferences & Industry Events
Remember, real estate conferences and industry events are more than opportunities to expand your knowledge of a particular niche; they are entirely capable of increasing your own network. More often than not, these events will set aside time for everyone to do some networking of their own. However, that’s not always the case; sometimes you might need to be the catalyst. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and shake a few hands. There is no better environment for real estate investors to network in than an event that caters to a similar audience. You have to assume everyone there is for a similar reason, and that can only place the odds of making a successful connection in your favor.
I want to encourage aspiring real estate investors to attend as many events as they can in the coming year. Indulge your curiosity by learning new strategies and market information, but don’t neglect the one thing most people in attendance will try to do: network. Set aside some time at each event to talk with someone you have never met before, and be prepared to answer a lot of questions. The last thing you want to do is come across as incompetent. While you don’t need to have a script, it’s in your best interest to have answers to common questions ready to go. Don’t make the mistake of talking yourself into a corner and losing a potential contact.
Real estate networking, like any other tool in an investor’s arsenal, needs to be honed. It’s true what they say: if you don’t use it, you lose it. Don’t make the mistake of putting your networking efforts on the back burner in 2017. Instead, make next year the year in which your networking pays huge dividends. If you want to kickstart your real estate networking efforts in 2017, try tackling these resolutions.