Learn To Network The “Right” Way, Or Your Business Card Will End Up In The Trash!

by | BiggerPockets.com

When you first start out in this business (real estate investing) most of your deals and leads will come from your marketing activities such as bandit signs, direct mail, the Internet and door knocking. After a while, if you are networking properly, many of your deals will begin coming from referrals from other investors. The key word in the last sentence is networking properly!

The Unskilled Real Estate Networker
I attend all of the REIA meetings in my area and I see people who walk around in the beginning of the meeting and just pass out their business cards to everyone. They don’t even talk to you, they just make their way around the room passing out the cards. This is the most bone headed thing to do! Networking is about relationship building, not about how many people have your business card at the end of the meeting (and anyone who just walks around and gives their card to me without talking to me; well, I immediately trash their card.)

Effective Real Estate Networking
When you are networking it is not about you, it is about the other person. When you first meet someone at an event, ask them about themselves. Find out what type of investing they do. Do they specialize in lease options, subject-to, wholesaling, or short sales? How can you help this person out? After you have talked with them for a while, ask them for their business card (by the way, when you ask for their card, they usually ask back for yours.) Most importantly, be genuine when you are asking people questions and talking with them.

Also, try not to spend too much time with one person. We all like our comfort zones and I know a lot of you talk to the same people every month at your REIA meetings. This month decide that you will meet new people. It’s really simple. Just walk up to them and start asking questions about their real estate investing activities (we all like to talk about ourselves, so people will appreciate that you are asking them questions.)

Don’t forget to be unique. At all networking events that I attend, I wear a black suit and my red Converse shoes. Everyone knows that I am the “red shoe” guy. Often people will seek me out and say “so and so told me to see the guy in the red shoes because he could answer my subject-to questions.” Another investor that I know always wears a Hawaiian shirt at all events. Every time that I see this guy it looks like he just got off of the beach.

The Importance of Follow-Up
Lastly, and of crucial importance to your success as a real estate investor, is to follow up with people after a networking event. If you said you were going to email someone the name of your attorney, then make sure and get them the name of your attorney. Or, if they are looking for a rehab and you just came across a new property, shoot the information to them.

So what are three networking events that you can attend this month and what value can you provide to the people you meet?

About Author

Jason R. Hanson is the founder of National Real Estate Investor Month and the author of “How to Build a Real Estate Empire”. Jason specializes in purchasing properties “subject-to” and has purchased millions of dollars worth of property using none of his own cash or credit.


  1. KC Investments on

    Nicely done. It’s really no different than commentors who come on and tell you all about themselves with a link to their site. That’s not relationship building.

  2. This is the most basic thing to do in real estate is to network. That is business 101. I agree when you say that people just pass around their cards and walk away as if the person they give their card to is supposed to know everything about them.

    Networks create wealth in any industry especially real estate. I like what you talked about in following up with your contacts. There are so many referrals that agents could be getting if they actually did an effective job at following up and networking.

  3. Establishing a personal relationship is key to any networking. Great post. Those investors who don’t have the time to talk to others will probably not last in the business.

    Another way to go about networking is to ask for the other person’s contact info. Keep in touch via e-mail newsletters.

  4. Very interesting post, and I understand that based on the topic of the site it would be geared towards specific industries, however the principles hold true in any professional environment.

  5. Very insightful. These principles can not be repeated enough. The “best” people in any given business are not necessarily the smartest or the most knowledgeable; they are the ones who can relate to others. I’ve trained financial service professionals for more than 15 years and the hardest lesson to get through their heads is that they are not in the money business they are in the relationship business.

  6. I have also found it extremely import to at least pretend interested. Most people are just there to get money some how. You need to be interested in what others say. This should make you stick out in peoples minds more then the guy who is just interested in himself.

  7. I was at an event recently where a woman came up to a group of us that were talking. I didn’t know any of the people in the group and no one had exchanged cards. The woman said she was trying to collect as many business cards as she could in 5 minutes. The person to her left reached in to his suit pocket, ruffled through some cards, then handed her one. After she walked away, he told us he had given her a someone else’s card. It was a business card some random person had given him at the last event he attended.

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