Let’s talk about networking. This will be a mix of local and digital networking tips, but all are actionable and useful.
Most people I talk to are eager to ramp up their real estate investing business, but they just don’t know enough people to help them. Worse, they aren’t making a big enough effort to fix it. They usually know this to be the case.
So, here’s a short list of tips to point you in the right direction.
How to Be a Better Networker
1. Socially acceptable internet stalking
You know you should go to your local REIA or meetup, but when you’re new, it can be daunting. Trust me that I’ve gone to plenty as a new person, and I know that it can be awkward, frustrating, and unproductive.
It’s awful to go alone, and it almost universally leads to the most uncomfortable beginners there connecting with the other uncomfortable beginners. This is not what you want.
Here is the easy fix: find people on BiggerPockets who are going to your next local REIA and make a quick online intro. A few emails later, you have at least one to two people’s hand to shake when you get there. This removes so much of that early discomfort. Plus, you never know who they might introduce you to!
If you want to invest out of state, you should still spend a lot of time at your local investor groups, because the principles of investing are the same regardless of region. What you learn from locals can be applied anywhere.
I don’t invest in Las Vegas, but I’ve helped plenty of locals here invest out of state. The same can happen to you if you go meet the right people.
Networking is an artificial talent like any other. It’s not a natural, biological trait, but it can be learned by anyone. It’s not necessary to become a master to benefit from it.
For those who are more on the shy side, you especially should use the internet to break the ice with strangers. You can do so without risking as much discomfort or rejection. The internet is the great equalizer of extroverts and introverts to find success in networking.
2. E = E – 30%
The effort you put into cold emails is the effort you get back minus around 30 percent. Full transparency: I made up the 30 percent figure. But it’s a reference to explain that no one is going to care more about your success than you—just like you don’t care about anyone else’s success more than them.
If you put a really low-effort email out to someone, you should always expect them to reply with even less effort. Here’s a low-effort example:
“Hey Alex, I saw your content and I wanted to invest in your area. Can you give me the name of your contractor, property manager, and lender, please? Also, can you explain delayed finance to me? Thanks.”
Now, I’m a pretty charitable guy, and I will give all that information out to people for free—no problem. I do it all the time, but what’s my incentive here?
My team makes money when I send them business, and I do like that. But from this approach, I can’t tell if you are a very serious investor or just a leech.
Are they looking to build a long-term relationship? They seemingly put in little to no effort. This person clearly didn’t look through enough of my content to find that I post most of this stuff online already. So I will give no effort in return. You need to consider this when you reach out to people.
Are you considering what that person might need in return? Or what their goals are? When you take a bit of time to look at least some of this stuff up, the receiving party will be much more willing to help you.
Those who post on the BiggerPockets Forums love to say that networking works off a trade of value, but I disagree. And this is not the first time I’ve written about my position on it. If networking was a trade of value, then beginners with few resources and little experience would have no chance to make connections.
This isn’t the case by any means. The evidence is obvious: BiggerPockets itself is littered with folks who provide information to help to beginners all the time with no expectation of a return.
What do they want instead of trade of value? Simply, they want to invest in the next rockstar, and rockstars put in effort.
Remember: E = E – 30%. So when you’re putting in MASSIVE effort, people will notice and they will happily invest in you. They’ll do so because they know their efforts will be utilized well.
The next time you want help from someone, you should absolutely ask them for it. But you should also look at yourself first and ask what effort you’ve put in beforehand.
3. Manage your closing ratio
I talk to people about how to improve their networking all the time. Most people know they have to step up, but they can’t get past a certain mental hurdle. Instead of throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks, approach it like a sales quota. Start with closing ratio and work backward. If you could get 10 superstar real estate investors who are just ahead of you in your close network, you would be a success in no time.
Let’s assume you have to send out 50 emails for every one real connection. Well, you’re only 500 emails away from your goal right? Some people will say that sounds over-simplified. But how about you send the 500 (genuine, high-effort) emails, and tell me if it works?
Do this as opposed to assuming that it won’t work. I only provide this advice because it’s worked so well for me. I know it’ll work for you, too.
4. Practice every day
This is my favorite advice: do all of these things a little bit every day, and you’ll become faster and more comfortable than you’d ever imagined.
BiggerPockets is the best real estate resource on the internet. People use it mostly for education—which is good—but they under-utilize it for networking. Use BiggerPockets to search for people in your area (and the area you want to invest in if it’s out of state) who are doing what you want to do. Send them a high-effort email, and watch your network expand quickly.
What’s holding you back from networking? How can I help you overcome these hurdles?
Let me know in a comment below!