There is a perceived shortage of new deals within the investing community, and it is leading to complaints among some investors. In reality, there are plenty of deals that are available to those that are willing to put in the work. Filing a pipeline requires a lot of work. It is important to understand the importance of said pipeline, and that it will not fill itself. You have to out-network, out-market or outwork your competition. It is typically the little things that successful investors do that make all the difference. These seemingly little things are right in front of us, usually without notice. If you are looking for new deals, here are some everyday things you can do to build your pipeline:
1. School Functions: If you are fortunate enough to have children, you know they consume most of your time. Between school plays, activities, fundraisers and meetings, there are plenty of social events. There is a way to get your name out there without being too overzealous. You don’t need to hand out a business card in your initial meeting, but don’t run from the opportunity. One of the first questions parents get around to asking regards the employment status of another individual. Even if you invest part-time, you need to let people know. You will have to deal with the usual questions about the real estate market, but most people know someone that may need to sell at some point. If you stay in the same school for years, the parents will see you at every function you are at. If they don’t know you are a real estate investor, you may be missing a golden opportunity.
2. Weddings: The older you get, the more weddings can seem like a burden. Instead of viewing this as a chance to have a few drinks and a meal, you can look for ways to grow your business. In much the same way that you don’t need to broadcast your investing business at school functions, wedding conversations eventually lead to work. If you haven’t seen a family member in years or are just meeting someone, take a moment to discuss what you do as an icebreaker. As an investor, you may not get a true sense of just how much appeal it has to non-investors. At the very least, this will be a conversation starter.
3. Social Activities: Again, if you have children, you are aware of the time they take up. They will have more social activities than you can count. Between dancing, T-Ball, soccer, gymnastics, basketball, football and many more, there is a different activity for every day. Watching your children instills a great sense of joy, but there is often plenty of downtime to take advantage of. If an employment or real estate conversation comes up with any of the other parents, you should be ready to chime in. What you may not realize is that you never know where you will find your next deal. Some of the strongest contacts you will make will come from the strangest sources. The realtor that sold your sister’s house could become your go-to short sale provider. The shortstop on your softball team could double as an accountant who gave you three deals last year. The examples are endless, but are very real. A parent on your child’s basketball team could be a wholesaler, and your largest lead source for years. You will never know if you don’t put your name out there.
4. Restaurants: Most everybody has a favorite bar or restaurant. Regardless if you frequent it once a month or a few times a week, people should remember who you are. Most good bartenders will ask questions when things are slow to get a conversation started. Instead of thinking that your bartender has no interest or knowledge of real estate investing, take the bait and start talking. Even if they don’t know the market, you never know who or what they know. They may live with someone who knows a disgruntled landlord who is thinking of selling. Restaurants, and bars in particular, are a great way for local people to stay connected. If you do discuss your investing business, make sure you give the bartender, waiter or owner your business card. This, and a good tip, can help find deals from sources you normally would not have.
The best part about these four methods is that they won’t cost you anything but time and a little effort. Leads you get in these areas will be from people that either know you or know somebody that does. These should not be sources that you build your business around, but ways to grow it. If you can close just four more deals a year; how much better would your business look? Most investors dismiss the power of word of mouth networking and feel that talking to local people is often a waste of time. Nothing can be further from the truth. These are the people that make up your local community. They can go a long way in cementing your reputation. There are deals out there for the taking if you go out and get them.