Growing Your Real Estate Referral Network
When you're getting started in real estate investing, you may have $200 or $20,000 dedicated to marketing. What’s more valuable, though, is your social network. And I don’t mean having oodles of “friends” on Facebook, although that may help. I’m speaking of having a network that can become an army of channels of which you have leads fed through to you.
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This doesn’t involve being “that guy” at a party that is begging for deals, but it does build upon having people know what you do. If you don’t run in many circles, or don’t have a large network to begin, here are several resources you can begin with to grow your social sphere.
1) Chamber of Commerce
Getting connected with other business leaders and owners can be a gold mine for your referral network. Having other business owners that are exposed to thousands of customers and connections is a tentacle into the community you may have only gained over years of time.
Typically Chamber of Commerce’s will have business lunches, and some may only allow one or two people from a particular business into each chapter. Call your local Chamber and see if there is space for a Real Estate Investor or your particular niche.
2) Church/Sports/Activity Leagues
Wednesday night bowling is just for kicks, right? We like to work with people we know and trust, and when you have common interests, it’s likely people will be happy to sing your praises. So, don’t be afraid to bring up that you’re getting into real estate investing, and tell your friends to keep you in mind.
Real Estate has been a popular subject for quite some time, and I’m sure curiosity will peak when you announce your entry into the investing world. Be happy to talk about it, but don’t beat a dead horse. You always want to be a welcome guest, not a pest. So keep friends as friends (not thinking of them as just “lead source Joe” and “referral Rachel”) and remain natural about your conversations.
If you have children that play (insert sport here), sitting in the stands or coaching is great bonding time. Know anyone in the group needing to sell? Overheard someone is tired of a lackluster return on their investments? Little Susie and Timmy might just be the best inadvertent networkers you know!
I’m sortof throwing this out there, because a more usual source is postal workers, city service personnel, etc. Not too far back in time though, bars WERE board rooms. Fast forward about a century, and we have “Cheers” mirroring the ideal watering hole, where everyone knows your name.
Bartenders, baristas, and hair stylists are the type we make tiny confessions to (or tell life stories to!) If they’re established and have regulars, they’ll know the gossip or hardships that are on their customers minds. Even if you don’t frequent a bar (or salons) doesn’t mean this isn’t a lead source for you. Simply, what type of service personnel do you see on a regular basis that is around the public all the time?
Whether or not you have an expensive and elaborate marketing plan or not, networking by word of mouth is a wonderful (and usually darn near free) place to start. Even after years of establishment, it's the type of business most entrepreneurs crave. Be consistent, be confident, and smile. Your net work is your net worth, so make an investment in yours.
What about you reader? How did you grow your referral network? Did it work?
Photo: jenny downing