The Importance of Networking

networkingNetworking is one of the most basic building blocks to a real estate investor’s career.  This business is all about developing and fostering relationships with various types of people.  Whether this means helping each other do more deals, learning from others’ experiences, or creating partnerships, networking is key to creating a sustainable and credible business.

I started networking even before I was close to investing in my first rehab.  I learned through my corporate career that networking was an important way to brand myself and meet people who could help drive my career.  This is no different in the real estate investing business.  Actually, it’s much more applicable because unlike the corporate world where you work for one company for many years, investors work with various individuals on each deal so your success is much more dependent on others.

In the beginning, networking didn’t come naturally to me.  I was very anxious about going into a room with lots of people and starting up a conversation with someone I didn’t know.  Not to mention the thought of looking like a jackass standing by myself too nervous to approach anyone.  After all, who would want to talk to someone with no investing experience?  What would I talk about?  The thought of this made me sweat but I knew I had put myself out there if I was serious about getting into this business.  So for my first few events, I brought a friend which helped ease my nerves.  I now had someone to help work the room and get me involved in conversations.  After a while, as I started to see the same people and get to know them, I was comfortable going by myself.

I share this story because I know there are many people who feel like I did.  You let your emotions get in the way and don’t want to step out of your comfort zone.  But trust me, it’s not nearly as scary as you make it out to be.  Everyone is there to meet people and share their experiences.  And even if you are completely green to investing, remember that you’re there because you share the same passion that everyone else does.

I’m a big advocate of networking because the benefits in doing so far exceed any other task that you could do in your business.  Here are just some examples of how you can benefit from networking:

  • Knowledge – Learning from others will significantly decrease your learning curve and keep you from making bad business decisions.
  • Dealsourcing – Networking is a great way to learn about deals and the more people you know, the greater the likelihood that the deals will pass by your desk.  Most seasoned investors I know who network often get MOST of their deals from people they’ve connected with.
  • Building a Team – Networking is the best way to build your team of real estate agents, attorneys, wholesalers, etc.
  • Finding Partners – Whether you are looking for a partner to invest with or someone to fund your deals, you have a high likelihood of meeting legit people through networking.

 

Now, don’t think that if you go to one networking event, you’ll build a bunch of connections that will start to bring you deals.  Networking and relationship building take time to materialize.  You need to show people that you are committed, honest, reliable and someone that they would want to do business with.  Think of it as dating.  Would you ask them to marry you after one date?  I sure hope not.  It takes time to get to know someone before you want to take the relationship to the next step.  Also, contributing is a big part of networking.  People love to learn new things at these events and if you are someone who can recommend, suggest, or contribute a piece of information you will build yourself as an asset to the group.  Another important aspect is follow through.  If you tell someone you will call, then call.  Because if you don’t, you’ll quickly lose credibility.

In addition to the in-person networking events, there are other methods to share ideas and meet people. Here is a list of some of the ways that I meet and connect with people:

In-Person

Online

 

Think about where you feel most comfortable and start there.  But know that the more face-to-face interaction you have, the greater the benefits will be.

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  • Shaun Reilly

    Really great article Justin.
    It is really true that you really just need to get out there.
    Similar to what you said I went to a local REIA religiously for several years before I really did much in REI. I am NOT a naturally outgoing person in those settings, so I did not reach out as much as I should.
    That being said I got my face out there (so people at least knew they had seen me at all those meetings) and I did talk with some people and did form some very good relationships. When I was ready to pull the trigger on things I hit the ground running in no small part because over that time I built a strong network and pretty much had a team in place as soon as I needed it.
    Even if you aren’t ready to pull the trigger on a deal get out there and meet people, learn from the people that speak at the meetings, and get involved with online communities of investors to both learn and build your network.
    As they say the secret to instant success is years of hard work.

  • Erie Springer

    Hi Justin
    very good Article. I believe you’re absolutely right
    and you have used some good analogies

    You reinforce everything I’ve read and what I try to do

    Stick my hand out introduce myself and while not always easy
    I’m sure it can and will work .

    • Thanks Erie…Keep up the networking, it definitely pays off.

  • Paul Sorgi

    Justin great article. I was talking to a few people at the last couple events that I attended who were getting started. They had many of the same questions I had when I first walked in through the door and I enjoyed answering every question I new. What was even better was introducing them to people who had more knowledge than I. I have also included in every conversation I have with newbies is the most important thing they can do is Network! I don’t think it can be said enough thanks for reinforcing the action and skill that is so essential to success!

    Thank you for hosting the meeting last Wed.

    • That’s great Paul. Sharing your knowledge and helping others is the best way to build a good reputation.

      It was good seeing you at the event.