Networking for real estate investors can be a tough deal. While most of us enjoy new friendships and the excitement that comes from successful partnerships, the act of actually making connections and forming new professional relationships can be tricky and awkward.
Where to start? How do we make those relationships genuine?
It’s all nerve-wracking! But never fear: if you’ve ever been intimidated by networking as a real estate investor, we’ve got a handy list of dos and don’ts that will help you make the right connections you need to succeed.
10 Essential DOs and DON’Ts of Real Estate...Investment Networking
1. DO Listen more than you talk.
Remember this above anything else: networking is more about listening than talking. That doesn’t mean to stay silent, but it does mean that you should put more of your energy into listening. Pay attention to the people around you. Soak in the details of what they’re saying. Commit things to memory. You can make a big impression by remembering little things later on.
Plus, presenting yourself as a thoughtful listener is always preferable to coming off as the guy who talks too much about himself.
2. DON’T Hand your business card out to everyone in the room.
Business cards are not meant to be given to everyone. They’re reserved for the people you actually want to hear from, and for the people who’ve asked for them and have agreed on a mutual exchange. Passing around your business card unsolicited will guarantee it ends up in the trash.
3. DO Perfect your elevator pitch.
Can you clearly and concisely pitch yourself, your mission, and your business to a total stranger in a way that makes them want to get on board? If not, work on it. You should always have a solid elevator pitch in your back pocket, plus greater details you can delve into if asked.
4. DON’T Start cold-calling and sending email blasts to strangers.
Everyone hates the feeling of being spammed by junk email and solicitors. Don’t make someone feel like that. While this isn’t a face-to-face type of networking, you may feel the urge to make mass cold calls or send out emails (to people who haven’t signed up for them) in an effort to expand your network.
In most cases, this is a waste of time and it irritates the people you contact. If it’s not invited, don’t do it.
5. DO Respect other people’s time.
At a networking event, remember that you’re not the only person looking to make a connection. Other people want to talk to other people. Respect that, and let yourself keep things concise. If conversation comes to a natural end, let it end and move on. If someone doesn’t seem interested, move on. Your time will be better spent elsewhere anyway!
6. DON’T Be afraid to ask questions.
Many investors are fearful of asking questions at networking events in fear of seeming uninformed or ignorant. Honestly, it’s far better to ask questions and allow experts to talk and get excited about investing (they love it, trust us), than to pretend to have wisdom and expertise you don’t have. If you have questions, ask. Chances are, people are happy to talk with you.
7. DO Be confident in yourself.
If you’re shy or introverted, networking events are probably your worst nightmare. But don’t let that hold you back! Have confidence. Offer up a sturdy handshake and say hello with a smile. Have some confidence! Talk to more than one person! You’ll be glad you did, and have far more success if you present yourself with an air of healthy gravitas, even if you aren’t feeling confident.
8. DON’T Make it all about you.
That said, beware of having too much gravitas. Being too self-absorbed is the kiss of death as networking events. Instead, invest your interest in the other person first. Let there be a healthy give and take.
9. DO Follow up.
One of the biggest networking mistakes real estate investors make is failing to follow up. They hit it off, make great connections...and then they don’t go anywhere. Make sure to follow up. Make a phone call, send an e-mail. Keep that conversation going.
10. DON’T Just target major league players.
Not every useful contact has to be the biggest name in the room. Connect with investors like yourself! All skills, experience levels, and areas can prove to be valuable connections. It can be tempting to go for the Big Kahunas every time, but don’t overlook the “smaller” guys. They have just as much to offer.