There are many ways to tackle the real estate business. Between tax liens, wholesales, mobile homes, auctions and numerous other strategies, there is a niche out there for almost every investor. However, the most successful investors are universally able to make lasting connections that lead to deals. These connections go well beyond just making casual conversation at networking events or investment club meetings. It requires a genuine attempt to get to know what the other person wants out of their business and how you can help them achieve it. While most of these actions are simple, they aren’t done enough. Anyone can close a deal, but to build a real estate business you need to focus on relationships.
Everyone involved in a real estate transaction is judged on how they react to negative situations. Things will not always go smoothly. When they go off track, you can either complain and point fingers or look to solve the problem. You can laugh with a colleague at lunch, but what they will remember more is how you handle an unexpected issue. This will do more to strengthen a relationship than any dinner you buy or any newsletter you send. These are the moments that you will be judged on – whether it is fair or not. The first step in building relationships is handling the critical times in every deal.
If you poll people involved in a real estate transaction and ask them what their biggest pet peeve is they will almost all sat it is an inability to reach someone. With cell phones, text messaging and countless other mobile devices, there is no excuse for not getting back to someone in a timely fashion. This starts with answering the phone when it rings. There is no reason not to want to talk to someone directly involved in a deal. Even if they have bad news or are calling you looking for an update, it is part of the business to deal with these calls when they come in. Most of the conversations will not last longer than 90 seconds, and answering the phone will do more to enhance your credibility than almost anything else. If a contact has to wait longer than 24 hours for you to return a call, they will surely remember it and not want to work with you again if they can help it. Once you get branded as someone difficult to work with it is hard to shake that reputation.
When trying to work with a new realtor, hard money lender, or even fellow investor, you need to think about what you can do for them. By focusing on how a partnership can help grow their business, they will be much more inclined to work with you. If you are the focus of all of your conversations, you will come off as self-centered. It will be difficult to convince someone to work with you if you do not include them in the conversation. By doing something as subtle as substituting “we” for “I,” the conversation will be more conducive to a successful business meeting. There are probably people who can do what you can do in your area, but if you make them feel that you are in it together you will be considered more often.
It is easy to neglect the people we have existing relationships with. However, these are the people that you should maintain contact with. This means sending personal emails or making phone calls to see how they are doing. This could mean making an invite for a morning cup of coffee, or even a lunch. Whatever you do, you need to stay in direct contact with anyone and everyone you have done deals with. If you have just closed a transaction together, you should be sending out a handwritten letter, thanking them for their assistance on the deal and following up with a phone call. If you are not doing these things, you are missing out on a golden opportunity to enhance a relationship or develop a new one.
There are little things you can add to your conversation to leave a lasting impression: remembering peoples first names, what their investing niche may be and anything else noteworthy you may have conversed about previously will make you stand out from the crowd. If you can recall a sports team they may have liked or an event they were preparing for you will quickly gain their attention and respect. Not every conversation has to be about business. Many times it is the conversations about non-business related items that are the ones that people remember. If you take the approach that you are trying to gain a friend and help that person grow their business with yours, you will get much better results.
From a simplistic point of view, the more people you know, the easier it will be to find and close deals. Once you exhibit that you can handle the pressure and get the job done, you will start to see that more people will want to work with you. The key is not to forget where you got the lead from in the first place and how that contact was made. Relationships are important in any business, but most specifically in the real estate business.