Garrett Lynch, Director of Acquisitions here at Nighthawk, is one of the best people for working with brokers. He is systematic at staying in touch and also really good at finding new brokers and quickly building relationships them.
Over the last six to nine months, I've observed that a lot of the action has been off-market or on semi off-market deals. So I was wondering what he does to build relationships with brokers to accelerate this whole process. No one has two years to give a broker to get them an off-market deal. We want it now.
Garrett agrees – everyone want deals now, but you'll need to be patient.
“I wish it were that simple,” he says, “but first, you have to commit to the process of building these relationships with the brokers. You have to remember, you're up against other people in the market that have already done this successfully…”
I was sitting down with one of my brokers, and he said there was a company that literally flew him and his wife somewhere, gifted them with Gucci bags, put them on an all expenses paid vacation in the Bahamas for a weekend. Sometimes you're up against that.
But I never did that, and we still get deals.
What you can do initially is start the conversation and know what you're talking about. When you're calling them, have a specific type of property that you're looking for in mind. You don't want to be too specific, but know the market you're looking to break into.
We're very quick with everything we do and brokers like speed. They are incentivized based on speed. If you close fast, they get paid faster. So start to use those kinds of catch words in how you talk, “Hey, we move quickly, we can give you an answer fast. I know you don't know me that well, but I'd love to start to build a relationship with you. So if there's anything you know about that's not online right now, send them my way, I'd love for you to give me a shot to show you how we work.”
Saying something along those lines is a really good entry point with brokers, and then you can build from there.
A big thing I started doing was flying into town and meeting with as many as I could while I was in town. You want to get them to the place where you're just friends. You call each other and riff about stuff. You can have conversations that aren't even about real estate; you can talk about every owner in the market. Get to that friend level, then you're really in a good spot . That sets you apart.
And that's the key. We used to say to our students, “Don't hop on a plane. Don't spend any money until you have a deal under contract,” which is largely correct. However, we have noticed that people who violate this rule and hop on a plane before they have a contract, are building relationships with brokers faster and brokers are more likely to call them up because they want to be efficient.
The easiest way to get a meeting with a broker is to tour the properties they have listed.
When you do property visits, you tour the properties and you're looking at them and asking the tough questions, but you're also there to build a relationship with brokers. Even if you're not going to buy it, you get yourself in front of them and start building that relationship on site.
That's a good starting point. Make sure you get them an answer on that property right away, so they know where you stand. Responsiveness is key. This is where the action happens.
It doesn't take months to do these things. It just takes a little time. You want a deal now – you just have to be consistent and a little patient.