Networking is an essential aspect of business development for busy investors. Building a strong professional real estate network can open doors to new opportunities, provide valuable contacts and resources, and help you stay informed about industry trends. Here are five tips to help you get started.
Tip #1: Authenticity
One key to effective networking is authenticity. People can usually tell when someone is networking just for the sake of it, and it can turn them off.
Have you ever walked away from a conversation thinking the other person just used you for information? You don’t want to be that person.
Instead, be genuine in your interactions with others and focus on building real relationships. This means being interested in the other person and listening more than you talk.
Remember the 75/25 Rule: Talk 75% about the other person, and 25% about yourself.
Ask questions beyond the basic, “So, what do you do?”
– What were the two biggest obstacles you faced when getting started?
– How did you hire your first employee? What did you learn through that process?
– What is your biggest pain point right now?
You get the idea. You’ll get bonus points if you can connect them with someone who can solve their problem.
Tip #2: Preparation
Another important aspect of networking is preparation. Before you attend a networking event or have a conversation with someone, do your research on the person or organization. This will make you more confident and interesting to talk with, and it will also help you identify common ground and potential areas of collaboration.
When I was in college, I would search for leaders of companies on LinkedIn and research websites so I could find common ground and ask interesting questions.
In one instance, I was at dinner with several candidates and one recruiter asked about the history of the company. I was the only one who could answer, and I ended up with an invitation to HQ to interview.
Tip #3: Follow Up
Once you’ve established a connection with someone, it’s important to follow up. This could be as simple as sending an email or LinkedIn message to say thank you, or it could involve scheduling a coffee or lunch to continue the conversation.
I also recommend handwriting and mailing a thank-you note. Nothing helps you stand out and connect with others more than the lost art of writing a thank-you note.
If you’re looking for a new role, to join a team, or find a new partner, sometimes the timing isn’t right. It might be too early, and the other person isn’t ready to decide.
Following up once a month or grabbing another lunch in a couple of months might be what’s needed to keep the conversation moving forward until the time is right.
Tip #4: Diversify
Finally, it’s important to keep your networks diverse. Don’t just focus on people that are like you or in the same industry.
I’d recommend connecting with a wide variety of people, from different backgrounds and with different perspectives.
Maybe you like cars or outdoor sports. Try joining a meetup group centered around those activities. Out of ten mountain biking enthusiasts, for example, I’m willing to bet at least one of them is trying to build wealth through real estate. They might make a great business partner.
Tip #5: Try Everything
Networking can be done in person and online, through events, professional associations, social media, and other platforms.
There are plenty of Facebook groups, coaching groups, real estate investing groups, and meetups you can join and participate in.
Try everything until you no longer need to. In other words, if your goal was to find two business partners and you accomplish that goal, you probably don’t need to be part of 15 different groups anymore, so scale it back.
Networking is a powerful tool for busy investors. By being authentic, prepared, following up, keeping networks diverse, and providing value to others, you can create a strong professional network that will open doors to new opportunities and help you achieve your goals. Remember that networking is not just about getting something, but also about giving (the 75/25 rule). I hope these tips will help you on your investing journey!