“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” — African Proverb
Isn’t this the truth? So many times I meet real estate investors who want to make a ton of money in a short timeframe. I meet a lot LESS real estate investors who are in this for the “long haul” and are interested in building relationships and expanding their network.
Hi, BP! Liz is back this week to talk about the most common mistakes real estate investors make when attending real estate networking meetings (and how to overcome them)! These real estate networking meetings can be a simple meet up group or a group that is backed by the national REIA (real estate investors association). I have attended all types of networking meetings over the last decade of being an investor. However, I have the most experience with our local REIA (SJREIA). My husband Matt and I actually just launched SJREIA Central in the Princeton, NJ area, so you can see the topic of networking is fresh in my mind!
Over the last 10 years, we have launched two different real estate investor networking meetings. In addition, I have started and led several networking groups for the consulting work that I have been involved in as well. So I have some experience in this area. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But after running groups like this, you start to see patterns and the same common mistakes made by people. I even make them sometimes!
I hope this list of the top ten networking mistakes real estate investors make will help you become a more effective networker!
The Top 10 Mistakes Real Estate Investors Make at Networking Events
1. They don’t attend real estate networking meetings.
This one might seem obvious; however, a lot of real estate investors simply do not attend networking meetings. They have a ton of excuses – they don’t have the time, they are not actively looking for deals, they don’t “need” to network or they don’t see the point of expanding their network. Regardless of the reason, it is an excuse. If you are an active real estate investor, networking is critical to your growth and success. Yes, social media networking is great, but it does not replace face to face networking meetings.
2. They don’t attend these meetings consistently.
Even if you do attend networking meetings, it is really important to attend these meetings regularly. The key word here is “regularly.” Time and time again, I meet people at these meetings who talk a “big game” at one meeting, and I never see them again at any future meetings! The more people see you and get to know you, the more they will trust you. As we all know, trust and respect are critical to building relationships, partnerships and team in business.
3. They don’t prepare specific intentions before the meeting.
Before I go into any networking meeting, I have a habit of setting up a few intentions of what I want to get out of the event. Maybe I want to meet a wholesaler, maybe I want to meet a contractor, maybe I want to meet a realtor, or maybe I want to meet one or two new investors.
The bottom line is to be really clear on your intentions before you walk into the networking meeting. The team you need in this business is endless. And it does not stop once you build up a real estate investing portfolio. We have certainly built up our network over the past 10 years and own over 100 units. However, we are currently expanding our market and focus, and I am in the process of finding more connections to expand our fix/flip business. So don’t forget, the networking never ends!
4. They talk to people they know already the entire night.
This is a huge pet peeve of mine! Why would you talk to someone you know when there is a room of people to meet? I know for some personality types, talking to strangers is harder and takes more work. I get it. However, if you decide to attend a networking meeting for real estate investors, then you need to take actions that are going to help grow your business. Of course, over time, the more you attend these meetings, the more people you will know. And yes, you should say hello and reconnect with your contacts at these meetings. Just be careful not to talk to them ONLY. I tend to set an intention each meeting to meet (and get to know) three new people.
5. They go into the meeting room, sit down, and don’t talk to anyone.
We recently launched a new real estate networking meeting in the Princeton, NJ area. The meeting began at 6 p.m., and by 6:30 p.m., we had about 30 people in attendance for our first meeting. Networking took place from 6- 7 p.m., and the presenters began at 7 p.m. I walked into the room where the presenters would be speaking around 6:30 p.m., and what I saw shocked me!
I saw about 15 people sitting in various seats by themselves and not talking to anyone! I can appreciate that some people go to these meetings just to hear the presenters, but to not talk to anyone while you are waiting for the presentation to begin makes no logical sense to me. Take advantage of the networking time, get to these meetings early, and connect with as many people as you can!
6. They don’t volunteer their time to help with the organization of the group.
If you really want to get involved and take your networking to the next level, a great way to do so is to get involved with the organizing of the meeting. Typically all of these meet up groups and certainly REIA groups are non-profit. Volunteers are always needed!
It has been a terrific experience organizing and leading real estate investor groups. Not only is it a great way to “give back” and help other investors, but it also been helpful to grow our business, network and brand. Remember the old saying: the more you give, the more you get!
7. They talk to various people, promise to follow up — and never do what they say.
I have heard it said, “You are your word.” And I certainly agree with this statement! I am fairly accepting of people. However, I have no patience for people who tell me they are going to follow up with me on something and then never do. Integrity is incredibly important in this business. If you can’t do what you say you are going to do, then you are not your word. And if you are not your “word,” people are not going to want to do business with you.
8. During conversations at these meetings, they talk a lot about themselves and never listen.
If you are trying to build rapport with a person, the easiest way to do this is to ask questions, listen, be responsive, and find out how you can help them achieve their goals. The worst thing you can do when connecting with others is to talk about yourself the whole time and not ask one question.
Again, the key is to make a positive impression on people during these networking meetings and build relationships. The best way to do this is to engage with people and really learn about them and their real estate interests and goals. During these conversations, look for ways to help the person. Maybe you can introduce them to the insurance company you work with. The key is to be looked at as a resource, not an annoyance!
9. They don’t send follow up “thank you” emails.
This is a very simple gesture that could go a long way. If you are looking to build relationships, then follow up is a necessity. I also would not wait two weeks to send a follow up email. You want to send a follow up email while it is fresh in your mind and their mind! I always try to follow up with people I meet within 24 hours. I don’t always do this, but that is my goal. Again, this shows people that you are a serious networker and interested in building a relationship.
10. They don’t create a way to follow up on a consistent basis.
This is probably the biggest mistake that people make. It is easy to meet people, have a nice conversation during a meeting, and even send a follow up “nice to meet you” email after the meeting. However, it is a little harder to create a sustainable and consistent way to stay in contact with them. Social media has helped with this, but you as the networker still need to create a process for consistent follow up. Something that I like to do with people who are new in my network is to invite them to upcoming networking meetings. The more I can help people as a resource, the more people will be a resource to me.
I hope this list of common mistakes served as a helpful reminder as you become more successful in your networking efforts.
Networking pros: What tips and suggestions have I missed?
I would love to hear your comments below. As always, happy investing!
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.