1. Make sure you have a well-rounded network
Every investor should have a well-rounded network that includes the following types of professionals:
- Other investors
- Real estate agents
- Plumbers, electricians, painters, and other contractors
- Bookkeepers and other financial professionals
- Insurance agents
- Real estate attorneys
Are you missing any of these types of people in your network? You should focus on finding someone to fill the missing spot. Also keep in mind that it’s often good to work with two or three agents or contractors, not just one, because different people can help you out in different ways.
2. Have a “give” mentality, not a “take” mentality
The people you’re networking with aren’t just looking to serve you. They have needs that they want to fulfill, too. So figure out how you can help them out (and don’t keep score!). Practice friendliness, helpfulness, and gratitude. Part of that is just being a good person, but it can also help you in your investing journey.
3. Have a LinkedIn account (and use it)
LinkedIn was invented to make it easier for professionals to connect, and if you have a computer and an Internet connection, it couldn’t be easier to make a LinkedIn account and check it every so often. This is a fantastic way to find other real estate professionals in your area. LinkedIn is a free way to communicate with others, share information, and more.
4. Post on online forums
Online forums (like this one!) provide great opportunities for learning from other investors. Your network doesn’t just have to be local real estate professionals. You can benefit from sharing ideas with anyone, anywhere. If you post regularly, you can build meaningful relationships with other investors around the country.
5. Meet in person when possible, not just online or over the phone
While LinkedIn, online forums, email, and phone calls are all great, you need to make an effort to meet in person if you’re really going to strengthen those connections.
6. Join and attend local clubs/networking groups… or start one, if there isn’t one in your area
Most areas have a local club for landlords or real estate professionals. If you live in a larger city, it will be a breeze to find these groups and attend their meetings. If you can’t seem to find a local group, look into starting one. There are probably lots of other landlords in your area who wish there was a networking group, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding members.
7. Talk to real estate agents
Well established real estate agents should already have a large network themselves. They can give you a great start on finding a variety of real estate professionals in the area.
Set goals for connecting with others
8. Learn how to ask great questions and truly listen
This is a basic “people skill,” but it is crucial to building a good network. When you’re thinking of questions to ask people, don’t only focus on the business/real estate types of questions. If you’re going to truly connect, you want to build personal relationships, too.