How to meet others in the industry while marketing your brand.
Meetups are one of the most beneficial ways to market your business and to meet like-minded individuals, and there are so many available. From interests like real estate investing to hiking, there are meetups for almost everyone in every city. Organizers post these networking events on meetup.com. To join, go to the site, enter your information, and choose your interests. Then, you will be sent invitations to new meetups that fall within your areas of interest. You should also scroll through the established meetups and sign up for those. Since meetups are about networking and learning, sign up for more than one because you might go to several each month based on their agendas.
So, Who Goes?
Meetups are announced by email, and most are held monthly in evening hours in rented meeting rooms, restaurant back rooms, coffee houses, or business offices. Sometimes a fee of $10.00 to $20.00 is charged to pay for the facility.
Attendees usually consist of private money lenders, contractors, fix & flippers, wholesalers, syndicators, real estate licensees, and established investors. Lately, I have noticed a lot of new investors each month due to the popularity of real estate investing this market cycle.
I attended a particular meetup and sat next to a certain gentleman several times. The man was cordial, but reserved. After some time, I engaged him in conversation. I learned that he owns a book-keeping business as an IRS Enrolled Agent, and owns over 200 rental houses in Texas that he acquired in 1982. He has never sold any! You never know who you will meet at a meetup!
The Meetup Mindset
Be intentional. Meetups are about networking and marketing oneself, so know why you’re going before you go. Some attendees have the mindset of, “I’ll drop by and see what’s happening tonight.” That’s fine for the networking aspect, but what about marketing oneself? More advanced investors even use meetups to build their brand. I know one investor who does exactly that and does up to five deals a month. Deals come to him daily due to his branding!
Preparation & Participation
Investors intending to grow their business need to bring business cards and flyers to distribute at meetups. Business cards should be simple and double-sided, with contact information on one side, and the business message on the other. Flyers should be 8 ½” x 11”, in color, with the same information. It is important to include a personal picture on both so that new contacts will remember you.
Arrive early and save a seat for yourself in the front row. Usually, there is a table in the back, so put your flyers and a pile of business cards there. If you can, distribute a flyer on each chair, also. You want to get the word out about your brand.
The reason you sit in the front is to better hear the speaker, but also for the “Haves and Wants” portion of the meetup. When your turn comes, stand and face the entire group from the front, state your business, including phone number, then encourage everyone to pick up your flyer from the back table.
It is important how you conduct yourself at a meetup. There are people who can enhance your business, and those who can harm your business. Primarily, ask questions, listen to the answers, and evaluate. Be reserved with your speech. Beware of people bearing propositions that call for YOUR money! (Why don’t THEY have money?) Don’t be fearful. Instead, be careful.
Speaking at Meetups
Advanced investors should consider speaking at meetups to increase their network and build their brand. Get to know the organizers of the various meetups and cultivate them. Most meetups need speakers at times, but organizers want quality of topics and presentation.
I speak on “Real Estate Negotiating,” and “Seller Financing,” which draw good audiences for the organizers. Once you’ve landed speaking gigs, you can start using them as references for additional speaking opportunities. I get three to five leads each time from speaking, which is superior to simply networking the event.
Benefits – Contacts and Opportunities
Want to find a “deal” to fix & flip? Invest in an apartment syndication? Buy a note at a discount? Buy a “turnkey” rental house for cashflow out-of-state? Partner with, or lend to, a rehabber? Invest in an assisted-living facility project? How about a resort development in Puerto Rico? Maybe a strip shopping center? Invest in a “Qualified Opportunity Zone” syndication? Add an “Accessory Dwelling Unit” (ADU) to your existing single-family house? Pick up some foreclosures? Oh, yes, buy into a mobile home park (MHP)? Perhaps a self-storage facility? I have encountered all of these, and you can, too. Learn at your local meetups while marketing yourself at the same time!