You have one chance to make a first impression and in this business, networking is your key to success. I talk a lot about having teams of professionals who are ready to help you accomplish your goals. I also talk about making sure that your deal pipeline is full. None of this can happen without the proper people in place. Here are five ways anyone can do to network like they’re a veteran.

1) Look and act as if you were already a success.

The way you dress says a lot about you especially when people are sizing you up for the first time. The clothes you wear and the way you speak lets people know that you take your business seriously and that they should take you seriously as well. Would you do business with the guy who looked like he could make the deal happen or would you do business with the guy who looked like he needed as much help with his clothes as he did with his deals?

2) Go where the people are

Networking involves meeting people and it just makes sense to fish for people where the people are. Join organizations of people who are aiming to be as successful as you are. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club. You should even check if there’s a local real estate investment club in your area. Let’s not forget that there are people already in your sphere of influence such as family and friends, acquaintances, and people you’ll be making contact with as you start building your commercial investment business.

3) Be a people magnet

People are drawn to nice people. Basic attributes such as being polite and respectful can go a long way when trying to establish contacts. Your positive attitude will shine through when you’re in a conversation with others. Speak highly of others whenever possible. I can’t stress enough that if you’re serious about building your investment career, you should never make an enemy. It’s never worth it to lose a relationship. Even if a deal goes sour, find a way to back out gracefully and salvage the relationship for the long run.

4) Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up

Keep in touch with people. A quick two minute phone call can do wonders in keeping you at the forefront of people’s minds. Don’t hesitate to send out postcards or letters that lets people know what you’re doing in commercial real estate.

5) Be prepared to make the next connection

Always have a business card ready and never be afraid to ask for a referral. Business cards help people remember how to get in contact with you and it adds a professional touch to the connection that was just established. But being prepared goes beyond just handing out business cards. The person you just met knows people too or he will soon know someone else who may just be your next buyer, investor or team member.

Networking is critical to make your investment business a success. You’ll need people to fill your deal pipeline. You’ll need a dream team of investors, tax accountants, real estate lawyers, assistants and others to help you accomplish your real estate goals. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be networking like a veteran in no time.