A large part of the real estate investing industry is about developing business relationships. You can be strong in other areas of the trade, but if your relationship skills are lacking your business will suffer. There is no faster way to sink your business than neglecting to foster healthy relationships. It is not enough to just hand out a business card and wait for someone to call you back. There are certain things you can say and do that will give you a decided advantage over your competition. By working on building relationships rather than building your business, you will set a foundation for years to come. Even though these steps are easy to do, not every investor does them. Here are five of the best ways to build or grow lasting business relationships:
1. Get out there: Sounds simple enough, right? The easiest thing you can do to build relationships is to put yourself in front of as many people as possible. This means making the sacrifice to join local networking groups and investment clubs. It means being ready to talk about your business at a moment’s notice. It means looking at everyone you talk to as someone you can grow your business with. Once you accept that this is what you need to do, it starts to become easier. Spend at least a few hours every week talking and meeting with local real estate agents, mortgage brokers, attorneys and accountants in your area. By gaining just one new local contact every week, you can begin to slowly build your business.
2. Follow up: You can network for hours on end, but if you don’t follow up you won’t get anything out of it. Many investors lament the fact that they aren’t getting the results they want because they don’t spend the time following up. Every time you meet or talk to someone, you need to reach out to them via email, text or phone call. On this reply, you should set a definite time and place to talk again. Doing this will accomplish two things: people will remember who you are and you will carry over momentum into the relationship. Most relationships are not built until after several meetings. By not following up, you are essentially throwing away any work you have done in your initial meeting. The manner in which you follow up has a direct impact on just how successful your real estate networking is.
3. Have a niche: As you work towards building relationships, you should think about what you bring to the table. Ask yourself one question: “why would someone want to work with me?” However you answer this question should be your focus in your follow up meeting. You may have touched on this when you initially met, but it needs to be driven home during your next meeting. Your strength could be anything from your access to capital to the team you have at your disposal. The more people you talk to, the more important it is to have a niche or something that sets you apart from your competition. If you do things the same as everyone else, you had better do them better than your competition. Personality is very important in building relationships, but you also need to bring something to the table as well.
4. Under promise and over deliver: Nothing ruins relationships quicker than not following through on what you say you will do. You don’t need to be an expert in every area of the business or be able to do every deal that comes your way, but it is far more important that you deliver on exactly what you say you are going to do. In doing so, you slowly gain trust. Trust is the backbone of any relationship. This will directly lead to more deals and positive word of mouth to even more people. Delivering on a promise reaches more people than just the one person you are dealing with. If you hold up your end of the bargain, they will tell someone else who may refer you to someone they work with. Conversely, if you handle a bad situation poorly and don’t return calls or stay in touch throughout the deal, you will get a reputation that may be difficult to change. You don’t need to do every deal, but the ones you work on you need to deliver on.
5. Don’t take a relationship for granted: Even if your deal together was a success, you should never assume that they will work with you again. You need to constantly reach out to your network and keep in touch. This could mean something as simple as a phone call or as lengthy as a lunch meeting. You have already done the heavy lifting to build a relationship, and now you just need to cultivate it. Don’t make the mistake in taking a relationship for granted.
Building relationships is critical for both the short and long term health of your business. In the short term, they can give you deals to work on. In the long term, they will be the pillars in which your business will grow. The best part is that building relationships is something that anyone can do, despite their education or resources. It comes down to how bad you want it, and if you are willing to go the extra mile.