Every successful investor has a passion for their business and can’t wait to talk to people about it. However, there has to be a system to your efforts in order to maximize positive response. So what is network marketing, anyway? Network marketing is establishing business relationships for purposes beyond the reason of the initial contact. These relationships can lead to more business either directly or indirectly through a referral. Networking is a very proactive form of marketing. It takes a daily commitment to establish and keep relationships alive. It’s not any different from your personal life. You must continually work on relationships in order to make them successful. The biggest mistake that investors make is focusing on themselves and their own needs first, but if you remember that HELPING SOMEONE ELSE IS THE SUREST PATH TO HELPING YOURSELF, you are bound to get lots of benefits from networking with various groups of people.
Networking is one of the most essential parts of a well-crafted marketing campaign. The reason networking can be such an effective avenue is because people you deal with can associate the business with a face and a personality. This is where your individual charisma makes all the difference in the world. People like to work with individuals they know and like. Therefore, let your best qualities shine and establish a level of trust. The primary way to accomplish this is by showing sincere interest in people – who they are, and what they do. The overall goal of networking is to promote the business and to educate the widest possible audience on services offered by your company. Broader exposure often leads to new opportunities, prospective clients and new ideas and there’s no better way to achieve this goal than through networking.
Networking opportunities are truly endless and only limited by your imagination and the willingness to interact with people around you. There is virtually no one you come in contact with that you shouldn’t make aware of what you do and what services you have to offer. One of the great aspects about real estate investing is that it naturally relates across all types of social, economic and professional backgrounds. Shelter is one of the core human needs, so you should have no trouble initiating a conversation about real estate and finding a common ground for a conversation. Whether it’s a prospective home buyer, seller, renter, real estate investor, or a private lender, you should let them all know what business you are in and how you may be of service to them. All these contacts are a valuable asset to your business, and if you take advantage of opportunities that present themselves from networking, they can also become a significant source of revenue for your business. You will find that in most instances you are offering a service which is sought after among the people in your close social circles.
The first place to start networking is your local Real Estate Investors Association. At your local REIA you will find dozens if not hundreds of like minded investors all with different experience levels. This is your market whether you are looking to buy or sell. We have wholesaled dozens of properties to people we met at our local REIA in Connecticut. Likewise, we have bought dozens of properties from people we have met at the monthly meetings.
Another good place to network is your local homebuilders association and apartment owners association. The homebuilders association is a different type of association whose membership usually consists of builders and suppliers. These relationships will be very valuable in case you get into land development or serious remodeling work. Local landlord associations can also be very valuable and a great source of wholesale buyers for your multi-unit properties.
There are also events specifically organized for purposes of networking. They are an excellent avenue of meeting other professionals that work in real estate and non real estate related fields. It’s a very efficient way of establishing new relationships, because everyone has the same agenda, which is to make most possible contacts that can benefit their business. It’s like going to a singles bar, where everyone is there to mingle. This eliminates any awkwardness about getting right down to business. You will meet many people who will be valuable assets to your marketing campaigns. At various networking events, We have met ad agency reps, media buyers, printers, and a lot of private lenders.
Don’t skip this portion of the course thinking it is not important and that you already know how to meet people and network effectively, but this isn’t an area you want to overlook. Becoming a charismatic person that people like and want to do business with is not easy for everyone. It’s something that takes effort and practice.
Building rapport quickly is something you must do when you are networking. First, find out as much about the other person as you can and let them do most of the initial talking. Next, ask them open ended questions to get them talking. People love to talk about themselves. It’s funny, but the more you listen, the more people will like and respect you. After finding out as much as possible about them, you will usually give them a little 2-3 minute talk about your business and how it can be of service to them. People always want to know how you can help them so let them know. If you take initiative and introduce them to someone they would like to know or you help them in some way they will forever be grateful to you. Whenever you take time to help a new investor, you’ll find that the generosity will be returned to be many times over in deals they will bring to you.
Another important thing to remember is to not try and network with the whole room. When you attend a networking event you should try to connect with only 3 or 4 new people and find a reason for following up with them. It’s the follow-up component that usually leads to opportunities for you as a real estate investor.
One of the best things you can do is read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. This is the best book you can read on influencing others through the power of effective communication.
Than Merrill, CEO of FortuneBuilders, INC and CT Homes, LLC is currently a full time real estate investor, speaker, and one of the most successful investors in the nation. He is also the star of A&E’s hit TV show "Flip this House." In the past few years his company has bought and sold over 350 properties across the nation. Than’s clients are some of the most successful investors around the country as a result of the cutting edge marketing and wholesaling systems he has developed. Than is a graduate of Yale University and he currently resides in New Haven, CT. After college, he played in the NFL with the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before moving on to real estate development.Than Merrill is a regular guest speaker at CT REIA. Go here for the current list of upcoming real estate investing seminars in Connecticut.
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