I’m sure we’ve all been there and if you’re just beginning, this will probably be a hurdle you will want to overcome.
You want to build relationships with more experienced investors in your area. You would like to have a mentor, or at least someone to help you through the tough beginning.
Maybe you’ve imagined or experienced this scenario. You’re at your local REIA (Real Estate Investor Association) meeting and you are there to network. You’re extremely self-conscious right now and you don’t know exactly what to do. At least if you’re anything like I was. Your mind is all over the place.
How do you approach the seasoned investors? What do you say? Why would they ever want to talk with you?
These are the questions I had in the beginning. These questions kept me from networking in the beginning and surely slowed my growth as a real estate investor as a consequence.
In this article, I hope to help you understand that no matter where you are in your investing – you can, and should, be talking to more experienced investors.
Why You Should Have A Mentor
I’m a firm believer that you should have a mentor for any part of your life you want to improve. They will greatly reduce the learning curve by helping you through the trials and help you avoid mistakes they themselves made.
Even if you don’t call them your ‘mentor’, you should have a friend in the business that you want to be in. Someone that is willing to help direct you and keep you from wasting your time, or worse, making a huge mistake.
Here are some of the benefits of having a mentor:
- Allow you to see that this business is possible and that people are doing it where you live.
- Keep you motivated when times get tough and you get discouraged.
- Allow you to ride on their coattails (meet people in the business that you will need for your team).
- Some will be willing to put up the money and coach you through the deal for percentage of the profit (usually half).
- Help you to avoid mistakes that they’ve made or seen other people make.
- Help you maximize the possibility of negotiating a good deal.
- Allow you the confidence of going out there and taking action as you have someone to help you through whatever is thrown at you.
That last one is huge. The fear of making a mistake or not being about to deal with something that could possibly come up keeps a lot of people from ever even getting started.
Who You Should Try To Befriend
Anyone in your area that is doing what you want to do would be of benefit to you. The thing is, the amount of benefit will vary based on their experience. You may get a lot of value from a relationship with someone that also just started, but you will get much more from someone that has been in the business for a while.
Be careful who you spend your time with. The last thing you want to do is build up a group of friends that keep each other from succeeding. You might find someone that did 1 or 2 deals and then cannot find anymore. His opinion might be that the deals have dried up or that the competition ruined your chances of getting a good deal.
Find the positive people that have a real burning desire for wholesaling, flipping, buy and hold or whatever you want to invest in.
It’s tempting to talk to the other new people and feel like you are building a good network of local investors. The problem is when you just do that so that you can mark it off your ‘to do’ list. You’re not accomplishing what you should be. You’re mistaking activity for progress.
You need to focus on talking to and befriending the heavy-hitters in your area, the real movers and shakers. One of these guys (or gals) will help your progress vastly more than a handful of not-so-serious investors.
Who are the Heavy-Hitters?
The heavy-hitters are the ones that have marketing all over town. These are the ones that other investors are trying to talk to at the REIA meetings. These are the ones that are really hustling.
It doesn’t take much talking to other investors to find out who the top people in town are. They may not go to the REIA meetings, but I’m sure the people at the meetings will be able to tell you who they are.
How To Get Them To Want To Pay Attention To You
Be willing to give.
In order to receive, you have to be willing to give. Maybe more so in the beginning, you will be giving more than receiving.
You have to be able to bring value to the relationship. Please don’t expect to have them train you to become their competition for nothing. I think that’s how a lot of people view other people that want them to teach them the ropes.
Make it Enticing for Them.
What’s in it for them? Here are some things you can offer:
- Offer to check on their properties for them.
- Offer to run errands for them.
- Offer to bring them deals.
- Offer to check on rehabs and contractors.
- Offer to make calls for them.
- Offer to do anything for them that they’d rather not do.
Be creative. Better yet, ask them if they have some things that they’d rather not do that you could do for them.
Show Them you Have a Burning Desire to Succeed.
I know I pay attention when someone tells me they’ve done x, y and z and that they plan on doing a, b and c next. They are doing things. They are taking action. They don’t know everything yet, but it didn’t stop them from getting out there and making things happen.
You can tell they can’t get real estate investing off their mind. Their family is sick of hearing about it already. Their friends finally gave up on trying to convince them they couldn’t do it or that it is too risky. They don’t listen to the negativity of others.
They may have potential deals that they need help analyzing. They have learned the basics already.
These people will get the attention of the big dog investors in any area.
Be prepared before approaching who you want to get to know. Remember that people like to talk about themselves. You can ask open-ended questions about how long they’ve been investing and how they got started.
Try to have a potential deal or situation to discuss. I can’t help but want to help someone figure out real estate investing problems. This will show that you are taking action and have already learned the basics.
Ask them if they work with new investors. Ask them how it usually works. What do they expect out of it?
Try not to seem needy. Don’t go into it begging for them to help you. You have to show that you will make it no matter what, but prefer to have their help.
Offer to buy them lunch or breakfast. Try to schedule it right away if you can.
There you have it. I hope you’ve gathered that you should be networking with more experienced investors, who those people are, how to approach them and have them pay attention to you.
Remember, they are just people like your or me. They had to start somewhere just like everyone else. Make it so that they can’t ignore you and you will gain one of the biggest advantages you can. You will have a friend that can show you the way and make sure you succeed.
If you have more ideas of benefits people can provide to more experienced investors, please mention them in the comments below. Thank you.
Photo: Leo Grubler