Networking serves as the backbone of many investors’ businesses, and there is a good chance it is equally as important to yours. As the word indicates, there is a lot of working involved with networking. Simply showing up to meetings and events without putting in the effort to meet people does you little to no good. You need to put your best foot forward and attack these meetings with the mindset that there are contacts to be made. When it comes to real estate networking, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of people looking to make connections just like you. If you put the time and effort into getting the most out of your networking, you will get the results you desire. Here are five ways to increase the rate of your networking success:
1. Show up: The simplest thing you can do is to show up. There will be plenty of days when going to a meeting is the last thing you want to do. Nobody is telling you that you have to go. You should, however, go because it is a way to grow your business. You can make a million excuses why you don’t need to go. You may be too tired, too busy or have too many other deals going on. Forget all of that. Most of these meetings will not last more than a few hours. A few hours every week or two is worth it find new contacts. You never know if the meeting you miss is the one that brings you a new contact that changes your business. Don’t take a chance: make the commitment to go to every networking meeting available in your area. Everything starts with simply showing up.
2. Anyone can be a contact: If you take the time to attend a meeting, make sure you get something out of it. Nobody is keeping track of attendance. You don’t get any extra credit for showing up. Everyone in the room is a potential contact, and it is up to you to initiate the conversation. Don’t discriminate from someone based on the way they look or what they are wearing. If they are at the same meeting or group as you, they must want to get something out of it too. Talk to as many different people as you can. The person sitting by themselves could be a new investor who has six deals they just need financing for. The person in the flip flops and visor could be an attorney who is looking for a new investor. Anyone in these meetings can be someone that can develop into a good contact. The only way is to talk to them and find out for yourself.
3. Ask questions/avoid small talk: It is not enough to simply make small talk with the people you meet. Small talk is a good way to get the conversation started, but you need to ask questions and find out about who you are talking to. In most real estate club meetings, there is generally an hour or so to mingle before the real meeting begins. This time is valuable, and has to be used wisely. Take this time to talk to as many people as you can. It is not how long you converse for, but what information you get out of it. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they do and what they are looking for out of the meeting. You may even get the same question asked to you, so be ready with an answer. By asking the right questions, you will know in a few minutes whether or not this is a viable contact.
4. Follow up: Following up is where you cement the contact you made from the previous meeting. You should make your next communication within the first 24 hours after the meeting. The longer you wait, the greater the chance that the conversation will not be fresh on their mind. Following up needs to be more than just sending a friend request on social media. You should reach out to them, being sure to thank them for their time and sending a specific time and date to follow up. In doing so, you give them less of a chance to say no. If they want to meet with you, all they need to do is show up at the time and place you gave them. It is in these meetings that you can further your relationship and see if there is a way to work together. Don’t want for someone to reach out to you. Follow up with them immediately.
5. Use the phone, not the internet: The most popular method of follow up is by sending an email. This can be a good way to initiate contact, but not as good as a phone call. If you are going to take the time to network in person, you should spend the time to pick up the phone. The only thing that is close to an actual meeting is talking on the phone. Odds are you will get more out of a five minute phone call than you will from exchanging a dozen emails. Calling someone makes them feel important, and it shows that you are willing to initiate contact. Sometimes the little things you do can make a big difference. Calling instead of emailing is one of those things.
Developing a strong networking base means you will spend less time and money finding deals. Every time you network, remember the second part of that word: work.