The Art Of Networking

As you may know I like to make the beta reading of my book open sourced so the community that will be using them can actually gain the information and request changes or additional information to be added as the book is being written.

This post is One Chapter of my coming book, “GET THE DEAL”. Which the idea has it’s origins from the live training with the same name that I have taught to thousands of real estate investors all across the country and have had time to refine the information to answer the questions most asked at those trainings. Without further ado I want to encourage you to read this chapter and leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Chapter Fourteen

The Art Of Networking

“Your network is your net worth.”

– Porter Gale

A Note On Networking At Real Estate Investor Associations/Groups/Meetups. I first stumbled upon the concept of Real Estate Investor Groups on BP and soon discovered that there were none around me in my home town of Fall River, MA. My first group was just an informal monthly event I created and promoted on Meetup and Facebook. It wasn’t until a few years later that I was exposed to the value provided by the Larger National Association Of Real Estate Investors.

I am now a proud member of the Boston REIA and the Rhode Island REIA and have spoken at both events on numerous occasions. Primarily I am asked to speak about How to find deals and How to raise capital. The secret to both is amazing networking and consistent follow-up.

Let me tell you. The first time I walked into an organized real estate investor group I was overwhelmed and I assumed that everyone in the room was a rich and successful real estate investor. There were over 40 people in the room, all wearing suits and their real estate finest. Which was all the confirmation I needed to tell me they were successful!

It took me all the courage I had to stay in the room and find a seat right away. I was afraid to ask any questions because I didn’t want to reveal to anyone how little I actually knew about real estate. I was afraid that if they found out I only owned 2 properties at the time they might laugh me out of the room or worse, they might forcibly remove me because I owned them in a depressed city of Fall River, MA.

I can still clearly remember the nervousness I was experiencing the whole time. Even while I was taking feverish notes and avoiding direct eye contact with anyone. Making sure to provide a firm handshake and quickly excuse myself. When someone did come over and introduce themselves my greatest fears were confirmed by their confidence and solid handshake, I was insignificant compared to these, “VERY successful real estate investors”.

Wow… give me a second to step away from that memory for a moment… I can still remember so vividly the feeling of anxiety that was building up in me as I am writing this section of the book… Now I look back mostly embarrassed that this was the image my mind created.

Sadly it took me over a year before I could muster up the courage to make it back into one of these rooms again. If only I had understood how it all really worked and if I didn’t have all of those insecurities around wealth and status I would have been back much sooner. Look, everyone talks a big game at these events. I have found the most successful people never talk about themselves or what they have and the least successful people will brag about deals they still haven’t done yet. Do yourself the biggest favor and make sure you are going to as many of these events as you can find in your drivable area. Show up, dress nice, smile and be friendly. Ask the magic question: what brought you here tonight? It’s a guaranteed ice breaker and works no matter who you are talking to.

Even though that moment is more than 7 years behind me and I now confidently walk into the same events as a successful investor and occasionally the main speaker I will never forget that experience. For some people these networking events are no big deal and for others, it can be the most intimidating thing you will do all month. I know how you feel on both sides of it and I want to encourage you to strive to make sure to meet everyone’s gaze and give them an assuring nod that they belong in the room with us. They may need it more than you and it will give you a boost of confidence knowing you are helping another person feel comfortable.

That said, I have made 90% of my wealth from these networking events and I have found them to be so important that I want to dedicate an entire section to understanding how they came about as well as how you can find the right ones and maximize your membership!

Find an REIA near You

There are many ways to find REIAs near you. You can search online for a list of clubs in your area or start your search on the National REIA’s website. Go to nationalreia.org to access the REIA lookup tool to find clubs affiliated with the National REIA. You can browse an interactive map or search for a specific location.

Real Estate Investor Associations

Real estate investor associations are popular across the country and around the globe. There are many benefits for investors to meet together both locally and nationally. The exchange of ideas between these clubs helps create solutions to common problems by sharing with other professionals.

Real estate investors gather together to learn from each other and to take advantage of the benefits of group investing. Pooling their resources gives real estate investors access to larger investments and spreads the risk between members. These associates are great places to meet other investors as well as a host of other professionals that investors may need at some point, including real estate agents, mortgage brokers, contractors, lawyers, accountants, and more. Networking at these events gives these professionals access to valuable leads and investors.

Along with these excellent networking opportunities, most clubs host meetings, events, workshops, and other programs to both entice investors as well as professionals. Remember to check if your local club is education-focused or if they have a different agenda.

Members of REIAs also benefit from group discounts from major vendors. The National REIA gives members discounts at Home Depot and Office Depot as well as many other relevant companies. This includes property management companies, financial services, and professional tax advisors such as Anderson Advisors. Other financial benefits include access to lenders, increased buying power, and national negotiations.

The National REIA and other groups also lobby on behalf of real estate investors with the aim of benefiting the entire industry. Check your local real estate investors association or club for upcoming events and networking opportunities in your real estate market. You’ll find information and education on rental properties and meet with other local investors who can help you on your path to successful real estate investing.

Alchemist Pro Tips for Real Estate Investors Networking Events

Once you find 1 or more great real estate investor associations or meetup groups near you it is time to tackle them like a true professional! Let’s dive into the sure fire strategies that have worked for me and will work for you when you apply every one of them.

1. Attend Real Estate Networking Meetings.

This one might seem obvious; however, a lot of real estate investors simply do not attend networking meetings. They have a ton of excuses – they don’t have the time, they are not actively looking for deals, they don’t “need” to network or they don’t see the point of expanding their network. Regardless of the reason, it is an excuse. If you are an active real estate investor, networking is critical to your growth and success. Yes, social media networking is great, but it does not replace face to face networking meetings.

2. Attend These Meetings Consistently.

Even if you do attend networking meetings, it is really important to attend these meetings regularly. The key word here is “regularly.” Time and time again, I meet people at these meetings who talk a “big game” at one meeting, and I never see them again at any future meetings! The more people see you and get to know you, the more they will trust you. As we all know, trust and respect are critical to building relationships, partnerships and team in business.

3. Prepare Specific Intentions Before The Meeting.

Before I go into any networking meeting, I have a habit of setting up a few intentions of what I want to get out of the event. Maybe I want to meet a wholesaler, maybe I want to meet a contractor, maybe I want to meet a realtor, or maybe I want to meet one or two new investors.

The bottom line is to be really clear on your intentions before you walk into the networking meeting. The team you need in this business is endless. And it does not stop once you build up a real estate investing portfolio. We have certainly built up our network over the past 10 years and own over 100 units. However, we are currently expanding our market and focus, and I am in the process of finding more connections to expand our fix/flip business. So don’t forget, the networking never ends!

4. Do NOT Talk To People You Know Already For More Than A Few Minutes.

This is a huge pet peeve of mine! Why would you talk to someone you know when there is a room of people to meet? I know for some personality types, talking to strangers is harder and takes more work. I get it. However, if you decide to attend a networking meeting for real estate investors, then you need to take actions that are going to help grow your business. Of course, over time, the more you attend these meetings, the more people you will know. And yes, you should say hello and reconnect with your contacts at these meetings. Just be careful not to talk to them ONLY. I tend to set an intention each meeting to meet (and get to know) three new people.

5. Talk To EVERYONE.

At the beginning of the year I hosted a real estate networking meeting in the Boston, MA area. The meeting began at 7 p.m., and by 7:30 p.m., we had about 30 people in attendance. Networking took place from 7- 7:30 p.m., and the presenter began at 7:30 p.m. I walked into the room where the presenter would be speaking around 7:30 p.m., and what I saw shocked me!

I saw about 15 people sitting in various seats by themselves and not talking to anyone! I can appreciate that some people go to these meetings just to hear the presenters, but to not talk to anyone while you are waiting for the presentation to begin makes no logical sense to me. Take advantage of the networking time, get to these meetings early, and connect with as many people as you can! A coach once told me, “Show Up early and Leave Late”. If you follow this process you will have a better chance to meet and add value to the people who run the events. These are usually the “big players” in your area and the sort of people you want to know.

6. Volunteer Your Time To Help With The Organization Of The Group.

If you really want to get involved and take your networking to the next level, a great way to do so is to get involved with the organizing of the meeting. Typically all of these meet up groups and certainly REIA groups are non-profit. Volunteers are always needed!

It has been a terrific experience organizing and leading real estate investor groups. Not only is it a great way to “give back” and help other investors, but it also been helpful to grow our business, network and brand. Remember the old saying: the more you give, the more you get!

7. Follow-Up With EVERYONE

I have heard it said, “You are your word.” And I certainly agree with this statement! I am fairly accepting of people. However, I have no patience for people who tell me they are going to follow up with me on something and then never do. Integrity is incredibly important in this business. If you can’t do what you say you are going to do, then you are not your word. And if you are not your “word,” people are not going to want to do business with you.

8. During Conversations At These Meetings, Listen.

If you are trying to build rapport with a person, the easiest way to do this is to ask questions, listen, be responsive, and find out how you can help them achieve their goals. The worst thing you can do when connecting with others is to talk about yourself the whole time and not ask one question.

Again, the key is to make a positive impression on people during these networking meetings and build relationships. The best way to do this is to engage with people and really learn about them and their real estate interests and goals. During these conversations, look for ways to help the person. Maybe you can introduce them to the insurance company you work with. The key is to be looked at as a resource, not an annoyance!

9. Send Follow Up “Thank You” Emails.

This is a very simple gesture that could go a long way. If you are looking to build relationships, then follow up is a necessity. I also would not wait two weeks to send a follow up email. You want to send a follow up email while it is fresh in your mind and their mind! I always try to follow up with people I meet within 24 hours. I don’t always do this, but that is my goal. Again, this shows people that you are a serious networker and interested in building a relationship.

10. Create A Way To Follow Up On A Consistent Basis.

This is probably the biggest mistake that people make. It is easy to meet people, have a nice conversation during a meeting, and even send a follow up “nice to meet you” email after the meeting. However, it is a little harder to create a sustainable and consistent way to stay in contact with them. Social media has helped with this, but you as the networker still need to create a process for consistent follow up. Something that I like to do with people who are new in my network is to invite them to upcoming networking meetings. The more I can help people as a resource, the more people will be a resource to me.

Alchemist Insights

Your goal when you walk into any networking event has to focused on the one thing that is going to move your business forward. Grant Cardone is known for asking this phrase, “Who Has My Money”. The next time you walk into a networking event make sure that sentence is running through your head. The other side of “who has my money” is “who has my time” which is another way of saying, “who can I partner with or hire to take some work off my plate”.

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