The Beginner’s Guide to Highly Effective Real Estate Networking


The term “networking” can be defined in many ways, but I believe Dr. Wayne Baker’s definition gets to the core of the word best: “The ability to relate well with others is a sign of a person’s mastery of the art of networking.”

As strange as it may seem to some, many people become frightened by the thought of meeting someone new and introducing their plans or concepts. Others see it is an opportunity to have a platform, but those who truly understand the importance of networking understand that simply building relationships should be the purpose when networking.

I bring this to your attention because it is always said when you are starting out in real estate, you need to network; go to your local real estate meetings, or tell everyone that you are changing your career, and you are now interested in being a multi-million dollar Real Estate Investor.

This is good and well, but many people still get it completely wrong when trying to network. This can be especially true of those who do not possess a certain natural affinity for connecting with others.

Related: How to Break the Ice at a Networking Event

Let’s explore some of the pitfalls you might run into during a networking event.

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5 Actions to Avoid During a Networking Event

1. Having a “Me First” Attitude

The “me first” approach is the fastest way to turn anyone off.

An introduction such as, “Hi, I am Jim, and I am looking for a partner to JV deals with” is cold and insensitive, and you have just destroyed many potential relationships because this person will tell everyone that they know that you have your hand out. It is great to build a relationship; I know this is difficult during the first introduction, but probe to find something they are interested in, and try and create some sort of correlation.

You already know one thing that you both have in common real estate.

A better way to start out might be, “Hi, I am Jim and you are….? This is great being able to meet other investors. I am here trying to learn about duplex investing. What are you looking to learn? Section 8 housing? Wow, fantastic, well I hope you will be able to find what you are looking for, and if I happen to speak to someone who is investing in that arena, I will definitely mention your name. Can you do the same?”

You have to be a magnet for likeminded individuals; you are meeting people, providing assistance, and looking for others to reciprocate. This approach is much cleaner. You are still finding a way to navigate your way through the event until you are able to meet your need while helping others in return.

2. Being a Conversation Dominator 

Please do not be the “jerk” of the room that everyone is talking about. This is primarily for the type-A personalities; try and exercise some humility.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “People do not care how much you know… until they know how much you care.”  

Have you ever run into someone, only to do all the talking? Yeah, not good. Learn to listen; some people believe that in order to be heard, they must be continuously speaking. Stop talking about yourself or your potential deal or the deal you closed last week, and listen attentively. You may find a resource that you may need in the future.

3. Coming in Unprepared

Many people go to networking events not knowing what they are looking to give and get from the event.

Preparation is key; you want to evaluate if attending this event was the best use of your time. Please do not go to an event just because you happened to notice it was going on.

Is your goal to meet contractors, agents, lenders etc.? Also, know what you are looking to give, how can you help someone and what resources are you willing to give. You may have the name of a great escrow officer are you willing to share, for example.

4. Displaying a Closed Demeanor 

The great Pittsburgh Steeler, quarterback Terry Bradshaw, once said, “You have to practice being happy.”

This puzzled me for some time; how do you practice being happy? Either you are or you are not.

Now, I do understand what he was referring to in this statement. Subconsciously, people evaluate your demeanor before approaching you. You may be a great guy or gal, but if you have a closed demeanor you will miss out on tons of opportunities.

What do I mean by closed demeanor? Standing with your arms crossed, not smiling. You have to be approachable and look happy — even if the world around you is failing.

5. Letting Contacts Go Stale 

How many times have you left an event with 8 or 9 cards in your hand, only to get back to your office and place them in a drawer?

Raise your hand if you are guilty. Believe me, both of my hands are raised.

Now imagine if you call 2 of those contacts a week,  just to show genuine concern about the projects they are working on, to discuss their mission statement, or to discuss what they are trying to accomplish. This is very difficult, but doable, and not all people are transparent enough to let you in.

Related: Networking: The Secret of Successful Real Estate Investing

This is not just for gaining  a mentor or potential partner; it will also assist you in your communication skills and learning how to cold call. This may not be for everyone, but only people who are willing to make themselves uncomfortable are those who will succeed.


“Networking” is a great buzzword, but not many people are truly good at it. I am challenging myself to be more open to meeting new people and learning new tools. During your next real estate meeting — or any gathering — try not to do what you have always done, and see if you get a different result.

I am currently challenging myself to call one BiggerPockets Investor a week who is working in my area or the arena I would like to move into to discuss their strategy.

Are you up for the challenge? What strategies have worked for you when it comes to networking?

Let’s talk in the comments section below!

About Author

Marcus Maloney

Marcus Maloney G+ is the Executive Officer of 3rd Generation Management & Holding LLC, which is a family owned and operated real estate investment firm. The firm's goal is to provide affordable solutions in real estate while providing exceptional opportunities for community redevelopment for the residents of Phoenix, Arizona. You can follow Marcus on Twitter


    • Gabriell,

      Its always good to challenge yourself and move out of your comfort zone, you never know your capabilities unless you do something that you are not accustom to. I was always the quite person and that would never produce any results, once I begin to challenge myself to let people in, I was rewarded with contacts and resources that is propelling me into another level in my business.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  1. Lorcan MacGrath on

    Hey Marcus

    Thank you. This is a great and thought provoking article. Also, for me it is good timing as I have just recently joined BP and am currently in the learning (sponge) stage. I have not attended a local meeting yet but will soon, so your thoughts and suggestions are very much appreciated.


    • Lorcan,

      I’m glad I could be helpful, I know that starting something new can be frightening but it is not as bad as we make it out to be in our mind. Remember people are excited about their success and if you ask the right questions you will not be able to get them to stop talking. Also they will see your interest and will be willing to coach you along the way.

      You have to follow up and be consistent like I mentioned do not let your contacts go stale; BE PERSISTENT!!!!

      “Enjoying the Journey”.

    • Johnathan,

      Thank you, its not easy for most people to be a social butterfly and I try and steer people in the right direction. We know that in Real Estate it is definitely an numbers game and that includes the number of resources that can assist you.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  2. Very good advice

    I was not very comfortable going to these events when I started out. Have gotten over a lot of it over the years, but still not always my favorite thing.

    I do see lots of newer people making some of these mistakes. Newbies tend to have bigger problems with the last 3 points.
    #3: Blow my mind how many people I have seen recently at events with no cards or anything else to give out with contact info. How am I supposed to remember who you are and how will I ever get in touch with you even if I do?
    #4: You don’t have to be dynamic and bubbly the whole time but if getting anything more than a one word answer out of you is like pulling teeth I’m not going to keep that conversation going for long.
    #5: Since you didn’t have a card to give me (see #3) follow up on the one I gave you. I’d say over 95% of the people I have talked to in the last 4-5 months that didn’t give me their contact info ever followed up with me. Amazingly I’d also say only about a little over 50% of the ones that did and I followed up with responded back to me. Seriously why are you bothering???

  3. Marcus,

    I’ll admit to being a “talker”, though I do ask a lot of questions when I network. Any tips to help me recognize when I’m talking too much, and not listening enough?


    • Marcus Maloney


      Always have some basic questions you would like to ask someone, this will give them the opportunity to engage in the conversation. Open ended questions are always key. One strategy that I always use is ask a question related to what you all are discussing to gain feedback from the other party. For instance if you are discussing marketing, and you feel yourself ranting, stop and ask them what marketing tools are they using our what kind of results are they producing.

      You never want to be the talker and never the listener. You will miss many chances to learn.

      “Enjoying the Journey”

  4. Another great post Marcus. I will definitely be out of my comfort zone when I go to the reia meeting Thurs. 1. I’m not good with people I don’t know. 2. I’m new to RE. 3. I’m not sure what I have to offer other than possibly Bird Dogging and I’m 100% sure how to go about that lol and 4. Refer to 1.

    “Just starting the journey”

  5. Amanda Naus

    Thank you, Marcus! I have been inhaling all the good stuff here on BP, and I’ve found that a lot of what I’m inhaling comes from you.

    I am somewhat of a social butterfly usually, because I love to meet people, find out who they are and what excites them. Several years ago when I attended my first networking event, though – I was terrified. Same with the second one, as well. And then it occurred to me – my approach was all wrong. When I changed my thought process to one of going to an event to meet new and interesting people, it changed how I behaved and I did in fact start to meet new and interesting people. I also ended up with some great contacts and gained a few steady clients.

    The business I owned at that time ended up disintegrating due to divorce and a health crisis, but I’m back on my feet now and ready to embark on this, my newest adventure.

    Thank you so much for all that you’ve written to help out those of us who are here to absorb. If I’m lucky, you know just how much it’s appreciated.

  6. Frank Matanane

    Marcus, this was a great read. Great Advice and Tips that I will certainly employ. Meeting new people doesn’t come easy for me especially in a world that I don’t have a ton of knowledge about. I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone with this and its definitely paying dividends but your tips will help me produce even better results.

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