“It isn't just what you know, and it isn't just who you know. It's actually who you know, who knows you, and what you do for a living.” Bob Burg
Networking is such an important part of your business. You must let everyone know what you are doing. Everyone can be a “bird dog” for you – And you for them. Throughout the 30 years of owning several businesses, I can honestly say this type of marketing has been the most effective and the most fun!
A great book to read if you are uncomfortable with the idea of attending events to network yourself and your business is “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. It's a great book that helps you to understand why you need to network with others as well as knowing what to say when you meet with new contacts.
Of course my belief in the benefits of networking is reflected as I founded a networking group called Women's Success Group, (a nonprofit networking group since 1998) and now starting an Investors Network in my own town.
For the sake of this quick how-to article, I am going to focus ans share all of my marketing strategies exclusively to those involved in real estate investing.
Networking Your Real Estate Investing Business
I would like to start with suggestions for some places to Network your real estate investing business.
- Search Real Estate Investor Clubs in Your Area
- Check meetings and trainings for local Real Estate Associations
- Check meetings and trainings at local Title Companies
- Check on handyman, builders and contractor associations in your area
- Ask everyone you talk to for referrals for networking events that have worked for them.
- Of course chamber events and networking clubs that meet at breakfast and lunch are a general source to get to know the general public.
I know the biggest fear and reason many people don't attend networking events is they don't know how to approach or what to say to others when first meeting them. So here is an idea – for every person you come in contact with at any type of networking meeting, your conversation might go something like this:
—–> “Hi there, my name's __________. What's your name?”
—–> “[Say their name] – What is it that you do?”
—–> “How long have you been doing this?” (Don't be surprised most investors are part timers)
If they ask what you do for a living or about yourself, be prepared!
1) Hand them your card.
2) Summarize your business in 30 seconds or less.
Real Estate Business 30 Second Commercial
This is where spending time writing down how you want to market you and your business is important. You want to be concise and clear in describing what you do and what types of referrals would be most helpful. Try to incorporate something that differentiates you from the rest. Here is an example of a 30 Second Commercial:
“Hi my name is _________________. I consider myself the real estate investor with a heart. My passion is to work with home owners in jeopardy of losing their homes to foreclosure. If the home owner wants to keep living in their property I give them direction on how to do that or if they just want out – maybe they lost their job and can't afford to keep it any longer, then I offer to buy their property. My goal is to create a win-win-win. Win for the home owner/seller, win for me the buyer/ investor and win for the bank when I take the house off their hands. If you know anyone that can use my help I pay a $1000 referral fee to you when I buy their property.”
Here is my personal 30 second commercial to everyone:
“I enjoy buying and selling real estate having closed on over 500 properties in the past 5 years. Some people call me the Flipping Queen because as you know, flipping is another term for contracting to buy and then selling real estate quickly for a profit. Or as I say Flipping it. I look to invest in residential real estate at a discount through Pre-Foreclosures, Short Sales, REO's, Bankruptcies, Probate, as these are the usual reasons a seller is motivated to sell a property at a discount. After I am in contract to buy, I will often “flip” or turn the contract or property to an end buyer at a discount too. Are you interested in buying and/or selling discounted residential real estate?”
Real Estate Investing Networking Questions
Now What? Listen – Listen -Listen to their response or their own commercial. The important thing is that you are interested in what they do for a living. Don't talk about yourself or again until asked. Ask them questions about their occupation and how you can be of support to them in their line of work. If this person is a potential power team member for you, ask if you could contact them in the future. (You would be able to follow your list of questions for power team members and take notes when you called them back)
However, if this person is an investor, you might want to ask some of these questions:
- “Do you buy, fix and sell or do you buy and hold?”
- “How many properties do you own and/or have you sold?”
- “What part of town do you invest in?”
- “Really, why that area?”
- “What do properties cost in that area?”
- “Do you pay cash for them or what banks do you use that are investor friendly?”
- “What title company do you enjoy using the most?”
- “Do you know any of the other people here?”
- “Who are the big investors in this area?”
- “If you ever come across some good deals and you don't want them let me know.”
- “By the way, do you have any property you want to sell?”
- “We sometimes have properties for sale as well, if you're looking to increase your inventory.”
- “Well, Mr. /Ms. Investor based on what you told me and where you prefer to buy; if anything comes along I'll make sure to call you first.”
What To Do “After” a Networking Event
Make sure to collect everyone's card, email address, fax, cell, and correct spelling of first and last name. Write a note or 2 on the back of their business card helping you remember the next steps you will want to take with this contact in the future. Just a “nice meeting you” card in the mail or email is often a memorable gesture encouraging future communication regarding each other's business needs.
Networking should be a part of everyone's marketing plan. Attend, join, participate – whatever you want to call it – your local REIA or REI clubs and real estate networking events. The important thing is to get in front of people!