I am asked all the time about what it takes to be great investing in real estate. My number one answer is always networking. My number two answer is always networking. And my number three answer is – you guessed it – networking.

Here is the really cool part. It is the same answer whether you are just getting started or have a grooved swing doing deals left and right. It is networking that will take you to the next level.
Next level, now that is probably the most overused phrase in the last few years regardless of the topic. It seems like everybody wants to go to the next level, but rarely do they define what the next level is precisely. Maybe you are completing 5 rehabs a year and want to get to one completed every month. Possibly you want to double your rental portfolio or increase the cash flow from your current units. Conceivably, you want to add wealth building to your overall life plan. It could be you are new to real estate investing and needs lots of help with education, knowledge, team building, finding property, etc. The important thing is you need to define what the next level is for you and your real estate investing. Then WRITE IT DOWN!

Next, think first about how networking can help you get there. Why networking? It is the fastest, most important way to accomplish whatever your needs are to get you where you want to be. Now, I didn’t say it was the only thing. I do believe it is the logical first step in virtually any scenario you can imagine.

Say you determine you need additional knowledge in a certain area. Use networking to engage others to understand how they learned about the topic, what class they may have taken, a mentor they used, a book they read, etc. See how networking would get you there faster and better than just signing up for some random class or worse, falling prey to one of the high pressure “airport seminars”.

Maybe you need a roofer or another trade skill. So, there is Google or Yelp or Craig’s List (Yikes!). Or, investors need roofers all the time especially for small jobs, so networking at real estate investor meetings would be a great way to get direct input on possible roofers with specific experience working for investors.

I realize there is an uncomfortable part to networking. That is no excuse. Just like anything else, once you start you will get better and better at it. Sure, you won’t be very good at networking to begin with, but experience is the greatest teacher. You just can’t let being intimidated or frozen by your fear of looking unsure about what you are talking about to stop you. Get over it and get on with it! Greater success is waiting.

A word of caution. If you don’t have a purpose for your networking, odds are you will fail when you try. It is much easier when you know exactly what you are trying to accomplish or what you are looking for to approach people about it. Why? Because you will be precise and concise and your words will flow naturally. So, don’t skip a step.

Follow these steps:

1. Write down your next level.

2. Determine specific needs to achieve your next level.

3. Decide which “formal or structured” networking environments you will attend, then go.

4. Expand your networking to other environments to open up new and expanded ways to solve your needs. Ideas include networking anywhere any time and attending non-industry networking events.

I fully believe that any increase in your networking will show results. A focus on networking with a purpose will certainly enhance your success and begin to change your life. Get really good at it and amazing things will happen. Make 2018 the year you add “networker” to your skills list.

by Alan Langston