The lifeline of any sales-oriented professional is directly correlated to the strength of their networking plan. The ability to receive deals without spending thousands of dollars on marketing can free up cash for you to allocate to other areas. The retention rate, on leads you gain from a contact referral, will always be greater than the leads you gain from any mailing or email campaign. How you build those contacts, however, is through rigorous networking efforts. These efforts have to resemble the hard work you put into your rehabs and subsequent deals. If you build your network base up strong enough, you will never have to pay for a lead ever again.
You should spend at least one full day a week exclusively dedicated to your networking plan. Many investors make the mistake of thinking that networking is just sending a few realtor emails or showing up for a local meeting. Your goal is to build a relationship in which people you talk to want to work with you. To do this, you have to come up with a plan and stick to it. Showing up at a realtor’s office to say hello is nice, but setting up a lunch in advance means more.
Categorize your potential network into groups consisting of lenders, builders, realtors, attorneys and fellow investors. Seek out the top performers in each industry and set your sights on them. This does not mean that you should ever ignore someone new to the business, but don’t focus on anyone that will waste your time either. If you set your sights high, and are persistent enough, your networking plan will reveal results.
Setting a meeting is not enough. Once you have a meeting scheduled, you have to strike the delicate balance between showing your personality and sticking to business. It has been proven that your personality is the aspect of a meeting that is remembered. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You should have answers ready for the obvious questions, but you don’t want to sound rehearsed. If you don’t know something, respond by saying you will find out and get back to them. If you start rambling an answer they know isn’t true, you will lose any chance you have of ever working with them.
It is critical that you follow up after the meeting. A quick email when you get back to your office or a text a few hours later is often greatly appreciated. Don’t be afraid to ask them directly if they have any deals that you could work on. If they say no, then so be it. If you don’t ask you may never know. You will be surprised how many times they will give you a difficult deal just to see how you handle it. This is your foot in the door. If you can’t do it, tell them straight up as soon as you know. They will respect you for this and should consider you in the future.
Growing your network can make or break your business. If you are spending too much time on marketing, you are missing the big picture. Closing deals is important, but if you want sustainability, you need to constantly focus on growing your network.