Clients themselves are not enough to build your portfolio. As a loan originator, you also need to build your professional network.
“Even successful real estate investors can grow complacent,” says Shawn Miller, CEO of 5 Arch, a private mortgage company for residential real estate investors. “But you are only as good as your most recent deal. Networking is a great way to ensure future opportunities and continued success for your loan origination company.”
Here are two ways networking can help boost future profits:
1. Forge new relationships. Networking groups bring together like-minded people. You might meet potential investors strike up a friendship with like-minded professionals. Either way, getting out there and talking with business colleagues gives you a much-needed break from crunching numbers.
2. Establish your reputation. It is hard to grow your business when nobody outside of your immediate circle knows what you do. Before you blow your budget on a billboard by the highway, here is a simpler solution: “Bring along a stack of business cards and a firm handshake to your next networking event and start introducing yourself and your accomplishments to others,” says Miller.
Now that you can see the potential impact of networking to your bottom line, here is where to mix and mingle with folks in the field:
Auctions — There is usually only one reason to go to a house auction, and everyone is there for the same reason. Go often enough, however, and you will start to see the same people, so you will likely get an idea of who is serious about growing his or her real estate investment business and who needs someone on the inside of loan acquisitions.
Community groups — Your local Chamber of Commerce or economic development corporation is a great place to make professional connections. Community organizations such as these host mixers and other networking events, usually at a discount to members. Attend a few and start chatting, suggests Miller. “You may be surprised how many people are looking to buy or sell a home, or they know someone who does.”
Real estate investment clubs — These local organizations join both beginner and experienced real estate investors in a dynamic learning environment. Become a mortgage mentor to a newbie investor, or simply connect with others to see how they are taking their portfolios to the next level — and how you can help. If you are looking to grow your business outside of your immediate community, Bigger Pockets is an excellent online resource that will help you connect with real estate investors and loan originators all over the United States, Canada and Australia, says Miller.
Trade shows and conferences — Before social media, these were really the only ways that professionals from all over the world could meet in person, however briefly, in the same time zone. Today, they remain an excellent way for you to spread the word about your loan origination company. “Even in the digital age, conferences and trade shows are still excellent opportunities to connect, learn, and grow as an investor,” says Miller.
Social media — Of course, platforms like Twitter and Facebook have all but eliminated constraints when it comes to communication. Now, we can post and tweet from wherever we are, no matter the time of day. Take advantage of being “on” 24/7: Join a Facebook group dedicated to real estate investing, or search relevant hashtags on Twitter to find out who is tweeting about #RealEstateInvesting on the #WestCoast, for example.
Whether you connect with others online or in person, it is important to keep building your professional network to increase your opportunities — and ultimate success — in the loan origination business.