Business Management

10 Simple Actions to Substantially Build Your Network — Starting Today!

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Cultivating a network of professional contacts is arguably one of the best things you can do for your business — and for yourself. Working in real estate, my sphere of influence is what drives my business. Whether you are a wholesaler, flipper, or buy and hold landlord, the better you are at networking, the more your business will thrive.  

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Here are some tips I’ve put into practice to build my network. As with anything worth doing, it takes time, but you will begin to reap the benefits before you know it — I definitely did!         

10 Simple Actions to Substantially Build Your Network

Be Seen.

You know you’ve reached a turning point when you go somewhere, and people you don’t know recognize you from previous events you’ve attended. Just because you can “work from home” most of the time as an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you should stay at home. is a great place to start.  

Go to at least one event per week where you don’t know anyone.

I used to invite friends to events with me in order to use them as a crutch (i.e. have a default person to talk to). I’m already socially awkward enough without showing up somewhere where I don’t know a single soul.  

But I force myself to be uncomfortable sometimes, and when I do, I usually end up making new friends with someone else who is there alone (or I run into someone I know that I didn’t think would be there). It’s definitely not fun being uncomfortable, but you won’t be worse for the wear.  


Related: 11 Reasons Your Network Equals Your Net Worth (& 4 Ways to Expand Yours!)

When in doubt, reach out!

Ever heard of analysis paralysis? For many people, too much thought tends to lead to inaction. This is why when it relates to meeting new people, you should act first, and then think later. Don’t weigh the pros and cons. Don’t look at the opportunity costs of having a conversation.

Reach out, whether it’s to introduce yourself or ask someone what they do — and do the thinking later. Blatantly putting yourself out there can be terrifying at first (especially to those for whom networking seems unnatural), but trust me, it gets easier the more you practice.   

Introduce yourself to the person next to you.

I admit, I’m terrible at this one. Most of the time, I’m in my own world, thinking my own little thoughts. And you know what? Sometimes, that’s OK. You don’t have to be “on” 100 percent of the time. But if you’re at a networking or social event to meet people, it’s safe to assume that your neighbor probably is there for the same reasons. Start with a friendly, “Hey! I’m Tiffany,” and go from there. They’ll likely be grateful to you for starting the conversation.

Strike up a conversation at a coffee shop.

I once met someone very skilled at this. I originally went to the coffee shop to indulge in a mocha and escape the realities of life with a good book. OK, so it was Rick Ferri’s All About Asset Allocation — a little bit of a different “escape” than what works for most people, but it led to a conversation with the guy in the chair next to me.  

Related: The Beginner’s Guide to Highly Effective Real Estate Networking

Three hours later, we were still there talking about the intricacies of intelligent portfolio construction — nerd bliss, I tell you. I learned so much and met another contact I was able to add to my database.

Ask to buy a successful person coffee.

Not many people would say no to a free cup of coffee, though I’ve had a few people artfully decline. You know what I did? I went out and asked five more. Anyone who turns that amazing offer down is missing out big time, so don’t even sweat it. Regardless of how rapidly technology changes and robots start replacing jobs, there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that will replace an honest to goodness one-on-one conversation. So get out there!


Look for common ground.

In the process of getting to know someone, you should be asking questions and learning more about them. This will help you identify what you have in common and give you the opportunity to build rapport. Once you do identify this, bring it up!

People feel more comfortable around others who are like them, so even if you, for example, don’t know the first thing about organic chemistry, mention your brother who does. This is why it’s also valuable to cultivate an interest in various topics. You don’t have to be an expert by any means, but being able to converse intelligently about many different things is a great skill to keep sharp.    

Make an introduction (or three).

In order to get, you must first give. Offer to connect two people who may otherwise not know each other, and do it with the expectation of nothing in return. You’ll get the satisfaction of knowing you are helping your friends, and you will start to become known as the “connector.” This will enable you to attract people to you, rather than chase them (a big philosophy of mine). Pretty soon, people will come to you to ask for a referral!

Ask a contact for a specific introduction.

Most people are happy to connect two people they know, especially if they are already themselves well-connected — so don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction. However, make sure that you are also returning the favor in some way and not asking for a connection every week. For example, taking a super-connector friend out to lunch or coffee will be an investment in the relationship that pays dividends.

Say thank you!

Better yet, send a personal or handwritten thank you note. Expressing your appreciation when others go out of their way to help you is not just good business, it’s just good — period. Deep down, everybody likes to be acknowledged, so the very least you can do is thank them.

Investors: What actions do you take regularly to build your network?

Leave your comments below!

Tiffany Alexy is the Broker/Owner of Alexy Realty Group, a boutique real estate firm located in the Raleigh-Durham, NC metro area. She actively inves...
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    Brian Johnson Rental Property Investor from Oldsmar, FL
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    I really enjoyed this topic. I found it helpful and need to take one step forward in doing those things.
    Tiffany Alexy Real Estate Broker from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Thank you Brian! I’m glad I could help be the kick in the pants we all need sometimes 🙂
    Tom Paul Architect from Chardon, Ohio
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Tiffany thanks for the post. Nothing will replace actually getting in front of people and talking and getting to know them. I think it has become a lost art in some cases thanks in part to social media and all the technology that keeps us behind our phones, computers, etc. I love to be able to sit down with a good cup of coffee and talk with people. It is the best way to build networking relationships and new friendships.
    Tiffany Alexy Real Estate Broker from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Tom, thanks for reading and you are so right! It is definitely a lost art, but the silver lining in that is that if you learn how to do it well, you have a distinct competitive advantage. 🙂
    Andrew Syrios Residential Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, MO
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    I really like the idea of going to at least one event a week you don’t know anyone. Networking needs to be a goal that you have metrics for just like other things in your business. It’s so easy to neglect because it’s a task that has long term benefits, but rarely short term ones. So it’s important to “force” yourself to do it by having goals like that.
    Tiffany Alexy Real Estate Broker from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Andrew, definitely. It’s important to be uncomfortable sometimes… that’s when the true growth occurs!
    David Thompson Rental Property Investor from Austin, TX
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    TIffany, Thanks for putting this together. Although a list of 10, its simple and straightforward so one can act on it. I set a goal to go to one meetup a week around my town and mix them up. I keep a purposeful list of the contacts I meet, trying to really select one or two folks that I had meaningful connection with to invite them out for a coffee w/n one or two weeks after that first meeting. My purpose is on them….how can I learn more about what they do and who are great prospects to help grow their business so I have a platform to help them. It’s not a “me” focused discussion at all but eventually we get to what I do and how they may be able to help me down the road. I record just a few highlights of that interaction into an ongoing spreadsheet (their name, profession, email, phone, and date). I get more delight out of connecting others and referring business than I thought. I also think its very important to circle back w/the contacts that are most helpful and you really connect w/on a quarterly basis (to see how they are doing)…keep it fresh…..lastly, its good to also try and connect w/an existing relationship from the past (friend, former colleagues, etc) not in RE per say, but to keep growing older relationships deeper and let them know what you are doing. They are also recorded in my spreadsheet. With purposeful action (in no time at all) you have a large, growing database to connect folks to each other and grow your business.
    Tiffany Alexy Real Estate Broker from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    David, exactly! You are even taking it a step further and putting pen to paper, so that’s really admirable. I know some people who also have a CRM system. I’ve dabbled with a number of CRM systems but haven’t found one that fits exactly what I’m looking for yet. There are some that will send reminders to get in touch with people you haven’t been in touch with recently. I found that I was anticipating those anyway, and have a running mental checklist of who I need to reach back out to. But at some point soon, I know I’m going to have to keep records because it will help de-clutter the brain! You make some great points in your comment. Thank you for reading!
    Theo Hicks Rental Property Investor from Tampa, FL
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    I have had the most success meeting people on BiggerPockets!! Whenever a have a keyword alert for my city, I will DM anyone on the thread I have not met with and ask if they would be interested in grabbing a coffee. Every meeting I have had has been successful, with some being game changers!!
    Tiffany Alexy Real Estate Broker from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Agreed, of course BP has been a great resource as well!
    Thomas Oneill from Vincentown, New Jersey
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Hi Tiffany, Thanks for the post. I like it. Thomas
    Tiffany Alexy Real Estate Broker from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Thanks Thomas!
    Andell Straker from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Quite an enjoyable article. I’m in the process of building my network and this definitely help to increase one’s confidence.
    Tiffany Alexy Real Estate Broker from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Thank you Andell! Glad to hear the article is helpful 🙂
    Casey Murray Investor from San Diego, CA
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Networking at your local REIA should not be hard. Everyone is there for the same reason! Break the ice and the nervousness will be gone before you know it. Knowing your strengths and how to provide value to others is something to keep in mind before attending a networking event. Great article, Tiffany.
    Tiffany Alexy Real Estate Broker from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Thank you Casey, and you’re absolutely right!
    Jerry W. Investor from Thermopolis, Wyoming
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Very nice article. I rarely go to any event where I don’t know anyone, mostly because in my town everyone knows me. I suddenly realized I did exactly what you mentioned about 8 months ago in the lobby of the Town Hall of a neighboring town. I had bought a house and was getting water switched over. I began chatting with a another person waiting and mentioned I had bought a rental house and he mentioned his family had just inherited a rental property. I gave what advice I could and gave him my number and told him to feel free to call me anytime if I could help him with advice or connections. I eventually was asked to look at the property with him and explained my thoughts on various items. I was eventually asked what I might pay for it, and gave him my ranges. When he said a realtor suggested he could get $50K more I told him flat out to sell it fast, it was a good price. Eventually it was appraised for $15K less than what I said would be top of the market. End result I close on the property in 3 days and it is the nicest 4 plex I have ever been in. Units have 3 bedrooms, 1 and 3/4 baths, and attached garages. Did I mention the sellers are financing my down payment? It never hurts to strike up a conversation and tell folks what you do. Really nice article.
    Tiffany Alexy Real Estate Broker from Raleigh, North Carolina
    Replied almost 5 years ago
    Thank you Jerry! And wow what an awesome connection you made! It definitely pays to just start up a conversation sometimes. I write this as a reminder to myself as well. Thank you for sharing your success story!
    Kevin Fox
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Thanks for the Advice, Tiffany. Like you had suggested, I have actually been trying to make it a habit to attend at least one event a week, but have not been nearly as on top of it as I should be. Time to hunker down on that target and really start to follow through
    Julie Rogers from North Lauderdale, Florida
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Nice article, I enjoyed it. I really wish I could get out, or knew where to get out to.
    John-Patrick D. Bailey Insurance Agent from Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
    Replied 6 months ago
    Thank you so much for writing this article! I really appreciate the tips you shared.