If you’re a real estate investor interested in expanding your portfolio while leveraging the value of your present real estate investments, then you know the importance of raising funds from private lenders.
Knowing you need private lenders in order to finance your new venture, however, is a far cry from knowing exactly how to connect with potential lenders. Any lender worth his salt is most likely inundated with requests to connect on the various social media platforms.
And while chit chatting at restaurants and chamber of commerce events is a great way for lenders to get to know you better, getting past a lender’s gatekeepers can severely limit your pool of potential prospects.
So how can you connect with potential lenders in a way that showcases your extensive CRE experience – without appearing to brag, and without appearing spammy – while keeping the lines open for meaningful conversation, and future deals?
The answer is simpler than you imagine, and starts with the Internet’s largest venue for business networking: LinkedIn. And if you’re worried the process will take hours and hours – relax. Not only will you be able to complete this first step in an hour or two, but completing it successfully means you’ll automatically be top of mind for more investors than you’ve connected with this entire year.
Why LinkedIn Is the Best Place to Start Building Your Private Lender Network
LinkedIn is well-known as the best place online for building business relationships, both in your chosen field or profession, and out.
At present LinkedIn has more than 414 million members reaching across more than 200 countries and territories. LinkedIn members are active members, with the number of pageviews in the second quarter of 2015 holding at 35 billion.
LinkedIn allows you to establish your name in front of hundreds of thousands of other business people. It can help you build meaningful, long-lasting relationships – but only if you do it right.
Complete a Rich Profile
Your profile at LinkedIn is unlike most social media platforms, where a picture and a line or two about you is enough.
Your profile at LinkedIn is more than just an online resume. It showcases your experience, allowing your contacts to get to know you better, and to stay in touch more easily. Not only can a well-written profile help to establish you as an authority in commercial real estate, but it can also attract potential lenders searching for investors to work with.
Add a detailed job title
Although your job title describes your profession and job title, don’t limit your description to your day job, if you’re not yet an investor full-time. Be sure to include commercial real estate investor, and if you specialize in a niche, like multi-family properties or triple net leases, put that there as well.
Since the LinkedIn search engine pulls in job titles in addition to other information on your profile page, this allows you to be found when other LinkedIn members use People Search to find investors.
Keep the focus away from you in your summary
This may seem like unusual advice, since most people tend to write their job history in this portion of their LinkedIn profile.
However, your goal is for prospective contacts to read your summary and immediately know how you can help them. This allows them to easily see the value they gain by connecting with you.
The best way to do this is to start off sentences with “I help…” or “ I ensure…” Then state a specific skill or task you provide for others, followed by the benefit accrued from this task.
Thus a statement like, “I oversaw the development of 3 commissioned multi-family apartment buildings in the Denver area,” becomes, “I helped identify prime locations for building an apartment building in a high-demand area in Denver, which ensured tenant vacancy stayed lower than 2%.”
The difference is immediately noticeable.
Include your investment deals in the experience section
Just as you included the title investor in the job title section, it’s also important for you to not only include the job title investor in the experience section, but to list specific deals you’ve successfully carried out.
This serves two purposes: it greatly increases the chances that your name will come up in a People search for investors, and it also showcases your experience as an investor in a completely natural way.
You can also add media to each addition, which means you can add slide shows, PDF summaries of property reports, or videos about the properties you’ve invested in. Over 10 million items have already been added to LinkedIn profiles, so this is an excellent way of standing out from the crowd and creating a rich picture of who you are as an investor.
Add relevant skills and endorsements
Skills and endorsements is the section where you can highlight specific skills, as well as prove your expertise through endorsements.
If you’re not sure what skills to include, do a People search on LinkedIn using key terms such as “commercial investor” or “commercial real estate.” Examine the profiles of other investors and take note of the skills they list; then add the skills you possess to this section of your profile.
Don’t worry if you don’t have endorsements right away. An easy way to remedy this is to ensure that the button on the right of your profile (which says “notify your network”) is in the on position. When you edit your profile your first and second connections will be notified, and some of them will endorse you for the newly added skills you’ve added.
The changes suggested here may seem small initially, however they have a lasting impact. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing additional profile views, and connection requests as soon as the first 24 hours of updating your profile.