There’s really no substitute for good old fashioned face-to- face networking, especially in the real estate investment industry.
This is particularly true in our increasingly digital world, where Facebook likes and banner ad click-through rates have taken center stage for many people and companies. As Grant Cardone talks about in his book 10X, obscurity is a major problem today with the constant bombardment from social media and other sources.
So how do you get in front of the right people for your business to flourish? And how do you get in touch with experts in your field to share wisdom? Do you just email them and hope they respond or even see your email? Or invite them to your Facebook page?
I decided to go old-school, and started a meetup group earlier this year. It’s called the Asheville Multifamily Investor Club, and in the six months since I launched it, we’ve grown to about 90 members, with more coming aboard every month.
To me, this has been an excellent way to meet people interested in my industry – Multi-Family Investing. We have had Commercial Real Estate agents, Mortgage Brokers, Large Syndicators and Property managers at our meetings. I have met peers and discussed possible joint deals, and have even gained a few new clients. I have also met high-level experts who shared valuable insights with the group.
I think that last part is an underrated benefit to meetup groups. Because I organized a roomful of those interested and engaged in real estate, it is very easy to invite experts that you want to develop a business relationship with to speak at your monthly meeting. People you may not have access to otherwise will come because they get a benefit as well (because speaking to a roomful of interested prospects and peers will catch the attention of any professional in any industry).
We typically start a meeting by welcoming new members, then go around the room and allow everyone 90 seconds or so to give a brief introduction and state what they are engaged in or looking for. Next the group shares any specific deals they are looking for in terms of buy/sell/partner. Then it is time for our presentation from the speaker. After that, we network. It’s awesome.
Everyone benefits. We all get to network, maybe present a property we have for sale, or find one to invest in (perhaps partnering with others in the room). The expert speaking is introduced to people that are looking for what they offer; and the audience gets great insight and a chance to pick the brain of the speaker. And as the organizer I not only get to learn from our guests, but also build valuable contacts with people I might like to do business with in the future.
If you are new to commercial real estate or to an area, your own meetup group is a great way to connect with people who are at a higher level than you (and let’s face it – unless you are Sam Zell, there is always someone at a higher level.) You’ll gain local knowledge of the city you want to invest in, and get to know the people you need to know.
Here’s a good example: Last month, we were underwriting a deal and had some concerns with the ability to drive rents in this particular submarket. I reached out to a property management executive I met at my group. This person had property in the particular area and knew it well. I got critical information that led me to pass on the deal. And what did he get? He got someone
who will definitely use him when I have need in that area. Classic win/win.
Remember, we are in the relationship business, not the real estate business. The deals, money, partnerships, and opportunities will most likely come from relationships you have built over time. And in our industry, these relationships almost always start in-person.
I am very grateful for the both the speakers and the club members for making our group what it is today, and we are just getting started. I have met a lot of incredible people by hosting our group, and I’m sure you will also if you take that chance and start your own group.
To your successful investing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Zahller is the President of Park Capital Properties and resides in Asheville, NC. As a Multifamily Real Estate Investor and Syndicator, he founded Park Capital Properties in 2016 after 14 years involvement in real estate investment. He works with accredited investors and professionals who are interested in real estate investment, diversification, and financial freedom.
Bill has been flying since high school. His father was a Naval Aviator and Captain for TWA. Bill has been flying professionally for over 25 years, 23 of those at his current company. He has accumulated over 12,000 hours and 7 Jet type ratings. He has also held Instructor, IOE Instructor and NRFO pilot positions with a large fractional flight company. He is currently flying the Global 6000 in a long range mission capacity. This keeps it interesting – one week its Beijing or Sydney; the next Rio or Rome.
Bill is also the founder of the Asheville Multifamily Investor Club. Visit www.ParkCapitalProperties.com for more information.