There are many ways to get involved in your local real estate market. One of the more popular ways to network and expand your business as well as knowledge is through attending meetups. A few months after starting my investing journey and digging into books and podcasts to learn some basic lingo and topics for a few months, I attended my first meetup. I enjoyed the event (one of the largest monthly events in Houston). There were hundreds of people and some great topics discussed. The premise of the event is to network with other investors and vendors and then listen to a speaker about a particular topic. From that event, I began to attend a few other meetups – each with their own little twist. Before I knew it, I was seeing the same speakers and listening to the same topics.
Those repeated topics, while very valid and helpful, were becoming a little less interesting to me. As I progressed in my real estate investing journey, what I needed was to move deals that fell outside of our scope and pickup new deals that fit our business model. The structure of the other events had tons of attendees which was great. But finding exact matches looking for what I needed was a crap shoot – rapid fire blind-dating would be the best comparison.
So, my business partner (Shenice) and I decided to create a meetup that we felt would fulfill not only our needs, but also the needs of other active investors in our area. Keeping it very simple, here are the things we considered and/or did to get our meetup kicked off.
1. WHO - Know your target audience
Our target audience is wholesalers with deals, investors looking for deals and lenders looking to put money to work. Each of those groups needs each other to succeed and our platform is focused on serving those needs in a very strategic and efficient manner. For you, start by asking where your biggest pain point is. Perhaps it is finding trustworthy and skilled contractors. I am certain that if you ask around or have been investing for any amount of time, some pain points will come to mind from you or your target audience. With that in mind, a basic format for your meetup can begin to take shape.
2. WHAT - Understand what your target audience needs
We approached the creation of the meetup with resolution to one of our problems in mind – finding deals to keep the pipeline full. When we looked around at peers in our target markets who were hosting Meetups, one key element was missing – focused deal pitching and discussion.
Instead of this traditional meetup approach where someone gets up and talks/teaches for an hour or sells a service, we took a different route.
The basic structure of our meetup is as follows:
1st - networking for an hour – snack and have a beverage or two
2nd – introductions by each attendee (name, scope of work, target market)
3rd - listening to focused and targeted deals in our submarket in 90 second pitch windows (wholesaler pitching to investors)
4th - circle-back networking of those interested in any of the pitched deals.
3. WHERE – Identify the target market you are pursuing relationships in
We are focused in some specific submarkets south of Houston, Texas. I am aware of only two other events hosted in our region of the city monthly. So, for us, it is a great opportunity to serve the area. While we will consider other zip codes based on the property, the south east part of Houston is where we operate. So, we invite wholesalers and investors from those areas and get great saturation of the area through this tool. We do make the event as easy to access as possible by hosting right at a major artery of the city’s beltway highway system which makes travel to and from easy.
4. WHEN – what is reasonable based on schedules and other commitments
It is important to understand what other events take place consistently in your market. For us and our target audience, it would be counter productive to host a meetup on the same day of the month as other established or popular meetups. We chose to host on the last Thursday of each month. There are no existing events that we know of that impact us hosting on this day. And for me, as I still work, Fridays are easier days to recover on after a long evening of networking than any other day of the week.
The final step to hosting a meetup is to request and be open to feedback from attendees. After all, the objective of the event it to make effective use of the collective audience’s time. Make sure that you are regularly touching base with attendees to make sure they feel like they are getting adequate value from their time spent with you. It is far better to listen to feedback and make an educated decision (to modify or not) based on feedback rather than simply hope everyone continues to return. By circling back and get feedback on what attendees liked and what they would like to see differently so that your event becomes as useful for the group as possible.
Getting involved in your target market by hosting a meetup can be a powerful tool to build your brand and network. Following these five steps will simply make the process a little less bumpy as you get things kicked off. Do you have any tips on hosting a meetup that you have found helpful. Please comment below.
Justin Grimes has been an active real estate investor since 2007 participating at various levels in asset classes from single-family rehab and mortgage note creation to multi-family, self storage and mobile home parks.
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SALES LEAD GEN.