One piece of advice that is frequently offered to those wishing to invest in real estate is to join a local real estate investment club. Okay, now what? While taking that first step to actually attend a club meeting is great, it is only the beginning. To make it a worthwhile endeavor requires some effort on your part.
First off, be sure that you are joining a real club, not a thinly disguised sales pitch. Companies and individuals looking to sell products and services to real estate investors may start a club in order to attract prospects. The clubs may be started by real estate agents, mortgage brokers, seminar peddlers, and others looking to sell you their wares. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find these clubs valuable, just be aware of what their agenda is and go in with your eyes wide open.
Typical club meetings may have one or more sponsors. In order to help cover the cost of a meeting, the clubs will allow someone to pitch a product or service in exchange for a sponsorship fee. These sponsorship pitches are not much different than television commercials. If you have a need for the product or service, great. Just be aware that it is a paid spot and it does not necessarily mean that the club is endorsing the product.
There will usually be several speakers at the meetings as well. A good club will provide a segment that is purely educational. The topics will be related to real estate or running a real estate business. You should be able to learn a lot from these segments and will, hopefully, be worth more than whatever the membership fee may be.
Other speakers may be a combination of education and sales pitch. You will often hear from gurus pitching seminars and boot camps. You should learn something from these speakers but their primary purpose is to get you to attend their training programs or buy their books and tapes. Other speakers may be pitching an investment opportunity. They may be traveling the country and presenting at real estate clubs in order to attract buyers. Be aware that the club frequently gets a referral fee from those pitching seminars, boot camps and investment opportunities. I am generally skeptical of the opportunities being pitched, if it is as good as they say why do they need to travel the country selling it?
Where The Action Is
The real value to a club is what takes place before and after the meeting – networking. In a recent article (The Power of Networking) I explored the benefits of building relationships. This is the main advantage of joining a club, the ability to get to know other investors and learn from them. This is where you can make connections that can change the course of your business.
I see many club newcomers who arrive just as the meeting starts and leave the minute it ends, they don’t realize what they are missing. You should arrive early and stay late. Be sure to have business cards and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. If you meet someone that you find interesting, arrange to get together with them outside of the meeting. You may be surprised to find how many people would be willing to do this. I usually arrange to meet with someone for an early dinner before the meeting and have developed several powerful relationships as a result.
Lastly, get involved. It takes a lot to run a club, an offer to help at the meetings will usually be greatly appreciated. Perhaps you can help with sign in or act as a greeter when people arrive. What you gain is visibility, the more people who know who you are the better. Be sure to seek out the successful investors and make an effort to get to know them, most will be happy to share their knowledge and offer their insights. If you make an effort you will receive an enormous benefit. It gives “going clubbing” a whole new meaning!
You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.