People attend REIA meetings for lots of different reasons. Some are there because they attended some free seminar they heard about on the radio that told them they could make millions by investing in real estate and someone said they should attend a REIA meeting, whatever that is. And that’s great. REIA meetings are an excellent place to begin an investing career.
Others are there for the education. REIAs can be a great place to learn more about the techniques and skills it takes to be a successful investor. REIAs should provide quality education on various topics related to real estate investing.
There are those that come just to pitch their latest great property find that they want to sell. And, others attend for the networking. Networking is an excellent way to:
• keep up with trends in the local market and real estate industry in general,
• find out about good (and bad) contractors, Realtors, attorneys, CPAs, etc.,
• find out the haves and wants of others in the area, things you may need or be able to provide.
Hopefully your local REIA meetings provide good education and an opportunity for networking.
To get the most out of attending your local REIA meetings you want to be sure that you’re prepared. You want to know exactly what your goals are for being there. You want to know when you leave the meeting that you’ve accomplished what you went in there for in the first place. Simply, you want it to be a good use of your valuable time.
If you are there for the education then make sure you arrive on time, pay attention, and maybe take some notes. I know that seems kind of obvious to say, but coming from the guy in the front of the room, let me just say that not everybody does that. Some folks all but snore, in fact some do. (Maybe I shouldn’t tell that since it may reflect on my presentation skills 😊)
If you are there for the networking I’d like to offer a few tips that can help make attending your next meeting more enjoyable and productive.
Set a Goal
First, like most things I think it is important to have a goal. Know what it is you want to leave the meeting with that you did not have when you arrived.
Maybe it’s the name of a good Realtor that will pull some comps for you. Or, a list of good rehab contractors. Or, an attorney that knows how to close your next creatively financed deal. Or, more names to add to your buyers list.
Whatever your reason for attending the meeting, understand that as your goal for the evening. Otherwise, you may very well just get caught up in some interesting conversations and realize as your leaving that you still have added no one to your buyers list.
Second, ensure you are prepared for the networking aspects of the meeting. I recommend you have an elevator speech prepared. An elevator speech is a brief prepared statement about who you are, what you do, and why. It should be prepared and memorized, but not canned. You should know it well enough that you can repeat it easily, but never sound the same twice. It must flow naturally. That comes through preparation and practice.
It’s often used when introducing yourself to someone new. In response to the question: “What do you do”. You know the conversation. It goes something like this:
Stranger: “Hi, my name is George.”
You: “Hi, I’m Bob. Do you come to these meetings often.”
Stranger: “No, this is my first time. How about you?”
You: “I’m here just about every month.”
Stranger: “Oh, really. What do you do?”
BINGO! There’s your opportunity. Don’t let it get away. Now’s your chance to make this a very productive and valuable conversation.
Let’s suppose that your goal for the evening’s meeting is to find a new private money lender for a project you need funding for. You don’t want to just blurt out everything you do in your business and what an expert you are. You don’t want to rattle on for ten minutes about how many deals you’ve done and the last hoarder house you turned into a dream home…whatever. You’ll bore the poor stranger to death and not accomplish your goal.
Nor, do you want to just give short buzzword answers. “I flip sub tos and do lease opts.”
But, if you give this guy just a little bit of information in an intriguing way, he may just ask you more about it and thereby a comfortable conversation can continue. Doing things this way you become an excellent conversationalist.
People will want to chat with you more and you’ll get more out of the meeting by getting your story told more often. And after all that’s why you’re there. To create new relationships with people. Yes, there are other reasons for going to a REIA meeting but first and foremost it’s to build new relationships.
So, now let’s continue that conversation from a few minutes ago:
You: “I find cheap houses that I can fix up and sell or rent for a profit which I often share with other folks new to the business that partner with me and we both end up making pretty good money.”
Stranger: “Really, that sounds interesting. What do you mean partner with you? How does that work?”
You: “Well, sometimes its other experienced investors, but often it is somebody just getting started in investing that wants to learn about how to make money in this business. I find the deals, do all the work, they provide some funds for the deal, sometimes from their IRA, and we either sell or rent the house for a profit and we split the profits.”
Stranger: “That sounds great. Who do you partner with?”
You: “Normally friends and family. I don’t have time to go into detail now, but if you’d like to get together for coffee some time I be happy to tell you more about it.”
Of course, not every conversation goes exactly like that but you get the idea. The key point is you’re giving him just a little bit of information and in such a way that caused him to be inquisitive and ask for a little more. Now, that he has asked for more info, give a little more information and then eventually you offer to meet later to discuss details.
This way you’re not being pushy. You’re being friendly and answering his questions. Hopefully, if you’ve done things properly he’ll be more than happy to meet with you later. Again, people attend these meetings primarily for education and to build relationships. And you just hopefully told them about something they’re wanting to learn. How to get started making money in real estate.
If you are looking for ways to improve your elevator speech I recommend finding a local chapter of Toastmasters International. Toastmasters are focused on helping their members improve their casual and professional conversations. You can find information about Toastmasters via Google searches, or of course ask around at the next REIA meeting.
Wholesalers might approach the conversations a bit differently. As a wholesaler you too want to be sure to remember your goal for the evening which is quite likely to find new buyers to add to your buyers list.
As a wholesaler your job is to find properties that other people are wanting to buy. You’re trying to find properties for rehab flippers and landlords. These rehabbers and landlords come to REIA meetings to find people just like yourself who will find them their next deal. You can only do that successfully if you know exactly what they’re looking for. So, the only smart thing to do is to ask everybody you can what they’re looking for. If they’re rehabbers or landlords they will tell you. The things you want to know are:
• The geographic area in which they buy; cities, counties, zip codes, etc.,
• the size of houses they buy; typically expressed in either bedrooms and bathrooms and/or square foot of the house,
• the price range of houses they want to buy,
• what information the want to know about the house; your price, an estimate of the after repair value (ARV) and maybe a repair estimate,
• How they want to hear about the deal; usually email or phone.
Collect as much as information as they’re willing to give. If they’re serious about wanting to buy properties, they will gladly give you this information and probably more.
I know this sounds obvious, but trust me, most wholesalers never ask these questions. I guess they are expecting the rehabbers and flippers to just relay the info via some Jedi mind trick or something. But, these folks are not the best networkers all the time either.
They’re expecting wholesalers like you to bring them a deal. That’s why they’re at this meeting. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions. In fact, you’ll be highly respected for doing so.
Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) System
Be sure to collect this information in a manner that you can keep it and store it into your CRM system when you get back home or in the office. It does you no good to collect a stack of business cards and then file them away in an office desk or dresser drawer or wherever and then never see them again.
I’ve seen people attempt to write the information they gather on the back of business cards. For some people that may work, but, most often it is because they simply were not prepared enough to bring a note pad to record the data they need.
You will also find that a lot of the cards these days have a slick surface and cannot be written on very easily.
The best practice is to have a notebook where you can record the types of properties people are looking for and their contact information in a consistent format that you can easily enter into your CRM system when you get back to the office. After all having this information readily available when you have a property to sell was your goal for being at the meeting to begin with.
By having a specific set of goals for attending your local REIA meeting you’ll enjoy it much more and actually make it a profitable venture. Hopefully your local REIA meeting is one that provides good education to new and experienced investors and affords you the opportunity to do some valuable networking.
By having a goal for attending the meeting, being prepared properly and following through with a plan of attack you will you’ll get much more out of the meeting. It could very well be that new friend you meet that will fund your next project or buy your next wholesale deal.
Good luck at your next local REIA meeting and I hope to see you at one sometime soon.