Networking is one of the most important aspects of real estate investing. Think of this as the neural pathway for your business; the foundation for your relationships. Contrary to popular belief, business relationships and deals are often times made at the bar during happy hour. Building your networking skills is crucial for success and something all investors should strive to master. This not only will help you in your professional life but also in your personal life as these skills can be applied to many different areas.
At first, you might feel nervous to approach a complete stranger and begin a conversation. It may seem easier to stick around the people that you know at these events but this defeats the purpose of networking. Your goal should be to meet new people and make new connections. While this may sound like a daunting task, here are some tips that will help you overcome your fears of networking with strangers.
I always find it helpful to treat each event like a mission. You want to create a “plan” or a goal that you would like to have accomplished by the end of the event. This will help you to focus and not feel overwhelmed by all that is happening around you. I also find it helpful to have a small intro prepared for meeting new people. A quick elevator pitch about yourself proceeded by an open-ended question is perfect for starting a conversation with a stranger. Suppose you are new to a market and you would like to learn more about it. Your goal during the event should be to network with a professional from the area. That professional may be a realtor, a lender or perhaps even an experienced investor. The point is that by the end of the night you will have made a connection with a local professional just as you had planned before the event started.
As an investor attending a networking event, your goal shouldn’t be to talk to as many people as possible. Your goal should be to make a meaningful connection with an individual. That one meaningful relationship can be more helpful in meeting your long-term business goals than if you had a five-minute conversation with everyone in the room. That relationship could blossom into a healthy business partnership. The wonderful thing about real estate is that it is a referral based business and reputation is spread through word of mouth. The more meaningful connections you make the healthier your business will be.
It is important to go into these events with the mindset that you want to learn, you don’t want to be talking the entire time. A healthy dialogue is built on listening to what your counterpart has to say. Ideally, you want the person you are speaking with to be doing most of the talking while you are actively engaging and asking follow up questions. If you go into a networking event and apply these simple tips you are sure to see great results. Small conversations can turn into meaningful relationships, and meaningful relationships can turn into a healthy business partnership.
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