The story of Melanie Perkins, CEO of Canva, illustrates the power of networking and why it matters so much. She is only 35 years old, has a net worth of $6.9 billion (USD), and is the third wealthiest woman in Australia.
How did she take the multi-billion dollar business from the point of “cool idea” to where it is now? One crucial element was the power of networking. In 2010, she attended a conference, did her networking, and met Silicon Valley investor Bill Tai. He invited her to San Francisco to pitch her dream idea and the rest, as they say, is history.
What vital lesson does this experience teach? That networking truly is a powerful and essential skill for any entrepreneur and that includes real estate investors like you.
In fact, the networking tips mentioned in this article can benefit you and your real estate business in two crucial ways:
- Connections – Networking is about getting your name and what you do out there with those you meet directly but also indirectly through them. Once you make a connection there is a good chance that if someone in their network is a match for your offer or need you will get a referral.
- Opportunities – Opportunities happen when you network. There is no guarantee that they will arise where and when you expect them to but the fact is the more you network the more opportunities will arise. The key is to be ready to act on them decisively when they come along.
Does the word networking sound a bit intimidating to you? Networking is an important marketing tactic but it doesn’t need to be scary. Networking is just about getting to know another person for your mutual benefit.
There’s no need to make networking too big a deal in your mind. Your everyday routine can be part of your networking. It’s about having the right mindset. When you realize that networking is an extension of who you are, you will find it much easier to be an effective networker at events and meetups.
The great thing about real estate investing is that it’s a topic that almost everyone is interested in. When you have the habit of freely starting conversations with people that you interact with each day, the discussion will naturally turn to your interest in real estate without you needing to force it.
The golden rules of effective networking
- Be relaxed and friendly: When you are nervous you don’t smile. It’s only natural to be a bit nervous in a networking situation but if you can learn to just relax, be natural, and be friendly you will be able to put others at ease with your warm smile. The key to this is to not put yourself under pressure to hit a home run with every conversation. Just get to know people and take an interest in them, the rest will happen naturally.
- Have a simple ice-breaking conversation starter in mind: The hardest part about networking is getting the conversation started, so have a simple conversation starter in mind. If you are attending a real estate meetup you could ask a simple question like, what made you choose to attend this particular meetup? Or if you are at an event you could just ask, how is the event going for you so far? Or, have you heard any of the speakers before?
Make clear notes after each significant networking interaction: No matter how great your conversation, the effort you made to establish and build rapport can be quickly lost. This could happen if the next time you see the person you can’t recall their name or any details of your conversation. This can all be solved by making some notes.
As the saying goes, the dullest pencil (digital or lead) is better than the sharpest memory. So by going back to your notes before you reach out again to your contact you will have all the information you need at your fingertips.
Follow up in a timely manner: It is important to take this follow-up action promptly. Ideally, you should follow up within 24 hours. By sending an email to your new contact you will reinforce the connection in their mind and build rapport.
This reinforcement of the connection will be stronger if you have something relevant to share. Did you take note of a small need that they shared? If so, you could follow up by offering to help with that specific need. This practical help might be something as simple as sending a useful link or recommending a great local restaurant.
Take a long-term approach: The last thing you want to do is come across as pushy so relax and let the relationship develop naturally. Make it your goal to just build rapport with people. If you make that your goal rather than seeing everyone as a walking dollar sign you will find that the business opportunities will come to you organically.
If you think of networking in terms of making deposits in a bank account which you will be able to make withdrawals from down the road, you are getting the right idea.
So where can you start networking?
A great place to start is at a real estate investing club in your area. Most major cities have real estate investing clubs where professionals talk strategy and make connections.
One way to find a good quality local real estate investment club is to go to the networking section on BiggerPockets and click on Meetups.
You can also try landlord association meetings, conferences, and industry events.
Your website can make or break your networking efforts
How will that affect your credibility if you don’t have one? If you have a website but it is not professional or does not clearly communicate what you do, what impression will this give to your new contact?
A professional website is necessary to boost your credibility with agents, buyers, hard money lenders and other real estate professionals. The way to stand out is to have a website that will reassure those connections you make through your networking that you are a serious real estate investor worth doing business with. Someone that will not waste their time.
The right website will enhance the great first impression you made and give them the reassurance they are looking for. If you plan on networking you first need to get your website up and running.
With almost two decades of experience, Done Deal Website provides high-quality websites for real estate investors. To set yourself up right away with a real estate investor website that will enhance your networking goals visit the demo.