Growing your referral base is key to your success as an investor. The wider your base, the more likely you will find new deals. If you feel you have exhausted your existing options, consider these six networking channels.
Most towns have networking opportunities for individuals and small businesses. Look into local chambers of commerce, for example, to socialize with others in your immediate area. Don’t focus just on real estate, either. Build connections with contractors, plumbers, and anyone else with whom you may cross paths in the future. Approach these meetings as opportunities to make personal connections. You want to be remembered as someone those contacts want to work with in the future, even if there is no immediate opportunity.
Clubs more specifically tailored to real estate may be more infrequent, but certainly no less valuable. Fellow investors, real estate agents, and hard money lenders come together to share experiences and look for partnership opportunities. Because they are directly connected to your business, they can be a great networking resource for future deals.
Building recognition about you and your business requires continued effort, but the return on your investment can be huge. Consider starting a newsletter specific to your business and distributing it to everyone you know. Use email to stay in touch with individuals who may be more likely to want to partner with you. Tell people what you are working on. You may be surprised at who wants to get in on the action.
Today, social media is not only everywhere, but it is mandatory to grow your referral base. The most effective means to reach people, social media encompasses everything from Facebook and LinkedIn to personal blogs. With social media, consistency is key. Post frequently, and do not create social media accounts you do not intend to use. Follow others in your world, comment on their posts, and respond to people who comment on your posts. Additionally, targeted advertising will reach specific groups interested in what you are doing. Neighborhood-specific social media networks like Nextdoor are great networking opportunities as well. Here, you can communicate your message and you can search and respond to posts from residents who need your services.
Virtual channels are great, but don’t get so caught up in social media that you forget to make contact the old fashioned way—by knocking on doors. Stop into local professional offices. Introduce yourself, provide a brochure or marketing piece, and let them put a face with a name. Staff members always appreciate small treats, like coffee and bagels or an afternoon snack. Keep your meeting brief, in case they do not have the time for lengthy conversation at that moment. Your goal is to increase your profile down the road, rather than instantly making a deal.
Another option that’s been around for awhile is the listing sites like Trulia, For Sale By Owner sites, and even Craigslist. Respond to posts or make your own for the sake of creating interactions and making contacts. This may not be a primary avenue, but it still has the potential to pay off in the end.
The key is to get yourself out in the public. The channel you choose is perhaps less important than the effort itself. Do not rely on just one option. Develop an approach that works for you by incorporating several into your weekly routine. Or look for other avenues. Write an article in a local magazine, sponsor a youth sports team, or place an ad in neighborhood newsletters. The options are many, and the potential return is great.