Don’t Stop Talking… About Yourself
In most areas of business, building your professional network is important. In the business of real estate, its crucial. Simply put, if you don’t work hard at building and cultivating your real estate network, you will fall short of your potential for real estate success.
Your goal should be to make sure that every individual with whom you come into contact knows who you are, what you do and what your real estate goals are.
The Omnipresence of Real Estate
The reason your success is so dependent on your ability to build you network is due to the inter-connected and omnipresent nature of the real estate business. Real estate is everywhere. Whether we are referring to single family homes, duplexes, apartment buildings, shopping plazas or even vacant land: No matter where you are on earth, no matter what direction you look, you will see real estate.
Virtually every industry has some relationship to real estate…and there are several industries that play a major role. For example, if you are an up and coming real estate investor, chances are that you are looking for access to private capital. What industries might include individuals with large sums of private capital? If you guessed “Every Industry”, you’re correct. No matter what field of business you consider, there are bound to be individuals at the top who have reaped a strong financial return for their work. There is a possibility that these individuals are seeking alternative investment vehicles for their earnings. Therefore, it is in your best interest to build your network in many industries beyond those traditionally considered to be “real estate”.
Real Estate is Cool
Even before the storm of “Flip this House” and “Fixer Upper” shows took over the cable airwaves, real estate was seen as a sexy business. The increase in media exposure and the access to free real estate technology makes the industry more popular than ever. It seems that everyone is either into real estate investing themselves, has thought and talked about doing it or knows someone in the game. This can be attributed to the fact that many aspects of real estate seem easy to understand. Because we all need to live somewhere, we all have at least some exposure to real estate throughout our lives. We have lived in the homes of our parents, rented houses, lived on college campuses, bought houses, etc. Everyone has touched the industry at some point. This often leads one to think they have a strong idea of how things work.
People who aren’t in the real estate business either want to be or want to be associated with people who are. Its a cool industry to be in. This will work to your favor. If you embrace the notion that you should constantly be talking about yourself, your friends, family and colleagues will lead you to limitless business opportunities. These people will get excited about your work and want to tell others. They’ll want to hear about projects you’ve done, profits you’ve made and what you have coming up on the radar. Unfortunately, these conversations can also lead to deep dive discussion during which your colleague explains how you should have done things differently. Its the same old adage: “Everyone’s an Expert”. You need to train yourself to ignore these annoyances and write them off as the price you pay for spreading the word.
Everyone you come into contact with should know about your real estate business and your future goals. These people are bound to tell others about you. Soon you will build a reputation for being the real estate expert of the group. Everyone you come into contact with will ask your opinion on houses that sold, apartment buildings for sale, undeveloped land, etc. Most of this is useless small talk. That is until your brother-in-law’s friend knows someone who has a grandmother with a vacant home. Bingo! You just got a lead! And all it cost was putting up with some real estate talk while you drank a beer at the Memorial Day BBQ.
Don’t Fake It at Networking Events
In any community and within any industry, there is no shortage of professional networking events. These are events designed to bring people together to discuss their work, exchange business cards and potential cultivate relationships that will lead to working together in the future. These events are great and they serve a purpose. However, don’t be naive to the fact that these events will do the work for you. That is, do not show up to networking events, pass out your card to every single person and expect to receive a flood of call the next day.
Networking is about conversations. Real conversations. Make a concerted effort to engage in meaningful conversations with those at the event. You may tempted to drown the other out while he or she is talking. Work hard to be a good listener. People love talking about themselves. Let them talk and ask intelligent questions. When its your turn to speak, your counterpart will be more inclined to engage with you.
Do not limit your networking events to only those centered around real estate. As mentioned above, every industry is connected to real estate. You never know where you might meet that next private investor or passive investor with apartment buildings for sale!
That's it. Help others and reap the benefits. Never pass up an opportunity to solve someone else’s problems. No matter how large or small, helping others will do wonders for your business.
Take the example of a motivated seller who calls you to sell their home. You do your analysis and quickly realize that you are not interested in the specific deal. Perhaps the numbers won’t work out or you are unfamiliar with the specific area. Regardless of your rationale for passing on the deal, you have a choice as to how you deal with the motivated seller. One option that is very common is to simply not call the seller back and ignore their phone calls and emails. This is the behavior that give our industry a bad reputation! Another option is to call the seller and politely explain why you are not interested in buying their house. The last and best option is to not only explain why you are not interested in their home, but to also suggest next steps on where they might find someone who is interested. You will be amazed at the response you get! Its a simple conversation that will take no more than 5 minutes. You can offer to connect the seller to other investors, recommend realtors or even discuss some potential improvements that would make the home more appealing on the open market. These are the little things that you can do to enhance your reputation and build your pipeline for future business. These sellers are bound to tell their friends and family about the pleasant experience they had with your company. Eventually, the word will spread and your name will be associated with honestly and integrity within your local market.
Increase your Odds of Success
The only way to gain the upper hand in the business of real estate investing is to make yourself known to the world. Its impossible for you to search for and find every potential opportunity for a home run deal. You need to extend your network so that those around you can do the work for you. Whether you are looking for private financing, motivated sellers or off market apartment listings, you need to do whatever you can to increase your odds of finding a solid deal.
Start today. Even if you haven’t done a single deal, take action right now and order 500 business cards. This will cost you no more than $20 at a site like Vistaprint. Even if you don’t have an official business yet, you should get a bunch of business cards. Once in hand, make it your goal to pass out every single one of your business cards by this time next year. Make it a game to see how fast you can get rid of your cards. Every card you place in the hand of another individual is an opportunity to augment your chances of success in real estate.