Have you ever heard the oft-repeated adage, "it's not what you know, it's who you know?" Well, there is a reason it's repeated so often-- it's so often TRUE! Whether you are a realtor, a real estate investor, somebody buying or selling a home, or in ANY profession, your success will often hinge on the relationships that you build along the way!
With that fact in mind, let's take a few minutes to talk about How to Build Your Real Estate Network. (Hint: the application of this info will become a crucial part of your business, I promise!) And even if you aren't in real estate, you'll be able to apply these tips to whatever it is you are doing.
Choose Your Path
To start, it helps to know exactly what it is you want to do! When you start getting out and meeting people (using the steps I'm go to lay out here in a minute) you want to be up front with what path you are on.
Meaning, if you are a budding real estate investor, own it! If you meet somebody at Starbucks and they ask you what you do, tell them!
It doesn't matter to them whether you have done 1 deal or 250 deals. What matters is that now they know what you are all about, in a professional sense. You never know who is a potential contact. And that brings me to my next point:
Print Business Cards
I know, I know, printing anything on paper in this day and age seems a tad archaic, but the truth is that business cards are still THE best way to share your contact information with somebody! I know that when somebody gives me a business card, I automatically put it into my wallet and mark down the information for later on.
Another added benefit to having business cards is that you get a chance to show off your "professional identity" without even having to explain it verbally. It only takes about a 20-second conversation to meet somebody, but no matter how brief the conversation, you can always slip someone a business card that has your name and the title "real estate investor" or "realtor" on it. When they go to hire a realtor or sell a home, chances are they will remember you and give you a call!
Attend Professional Events and Organizations
As the founder of the Appleton REIA, I get to see firsthand how important networking is on a weekly basis! The REIA gives real estate investing professionals the chance to meet (and often team up) with people with identical goals and interests, such as real estate investing, in this case.
Professional events and organizations such as the REIA are invaluable, because the people there are, for all intents and purposes, pre-screened. Meaning: you already know most of the people you meet there will be wanting to network with you just as much as you want to network with them. So keep those business cards ready and hand them out like crazy-- you never know who you might end up partnering up with.
Be Cool, But Not Freezing
Be "cool" to everybody you meet. You know the guy that stole your parking spot at the grocery store? Maybe just let it go instead of cursing him out in the parking lot-- you might bump into him at church, start laughing about the incident, and end up making a great contact! (Not that you would every curse anybody out, right?)
The same goes to everybody you run into! Be friendly, nice, and kind to everybody you meet, because everybody could be a potential contact.
That said, don't be "too cool for school"! When people have success, they sometimes start acting too big for their britches and miss out on potentially beneficial relationships because they think they are better than everyone. Don't be that person!
If you are having success yourself, chances are you had some help from people along the way, so pay it forward and always be open to offering help and advice to those who are trying to achieve success themselves!