There’s no question that investors are the lifeblood of real estate syndicators. Successful syndicators have a group of “go-to” investors each time they have a deal to propose, but the competition for the real estate investors’ money is intense and growing. However, there are several best practices to employ to ensure that you are able to continually build relationships not only with new investors, but with the ones you’ve worked with in the past and hope to continue working with as new deals become available.
Syndicators have historically reached out to investors in their personal network whenever an investment opportunity comes up. But that process takes time and a lot of energy, and when added on to the myriad of other tasks involved in running a syndication business it can diminish the overall effectiveness of the personal relationships.
Best Practices #1:
Keep the Relationship Consistent
“Out of touch, out of mind” can be a huge detriment when It comes to investor relationships. You have to realize that other syndicators are reaching out to your investors all the time, so you have to be present all the time as well. Staying in touch even when you don’t have a deal to propose is just good business.
You can talk about personal stuff (their families, job, etc), or professional manners such as market trends, other deals that you’re involved in or just about any subject that you think they might find interesting. One way to keep connected is to use a CRM program like Contractually. You’ll be prompted to connect using a time-based metric, so you’ll never miss an opportunity to be visible. Another thing to remember: use various methods of connecting - text, emails or phone calls. Even better - connect in person over coffee or lunch - there’s nothing like a face-to-fact meeting to catch up or rekindle a business relationship. By using a variety of approaches, your audience won’t become complacent to a repeated method of contact.
Best Practices #2:
Utilize New Technology
As time is a limited commodity, streamlining the relationship process is a desirable concept. That’s where some of the newer technology solutions can help the syndicator. Technology is able to speed up and streamline the syndication process. Employing technology to help with the capital raising process from investors not only helps to quickly generate the capital required for syndication but frees up the syndicator’s time as well.
Available software and apps vary greatly, based on complexity, abilities and of course, price. One well-known company is IMS, or Investor Management Services. Other options include Juniper Square and Investor Deal Room. Most basic platforms assist in the marketing phase, enabling you to create an attention-grabbing deal page. This could include photos, location maps, investment numbers, comparable properties and more. They can also provide updated funding progress to let potential investors know how much money has been raised out of the total amount required.
Because most syndicators have a large number of investors in their personal network, the technology allows them to pinpoint specific investors for a specific deal. The software gives them the ability to classify investors by category, using filters like amount of money to invest, location, number of units, potential revenue, type of property, etc. This streamlines the notification process and saves a lot of time.
Once the information is disseminated, the software provides the ability. y to extend an invitation for the highly-targeted investors to participate in the deal. Some software even goes so far as to electronically accept signatures, and provide information on where to submit funds. Many syndicators prefer to handle this portion of the process face-to-face, in order to keep personal relationships going.
In addition to saving syndicators time and money, the technology does something that wasn’t intended: it helps build a reputation for the syndicator as someone who is in the forefront of utilizing technology to help run their business. It will also help to distinguish you from other syndicators who still do everything “old school.”
Best Practices #3:
Incorporate Social Media
Working in tandem with investor relations management technology, social media is an excellent way to keep information flowing to potential investors. While it is an alternative to more traditional communication channels, it can become a trusted source of communications for your investor base. Plus, it can work in conjunction with traditional communications like letters, emails and other channels.
In the past several years syndicators are using social media more and more to drive action on the part of investors. As you might imagine, it’s not simply putting up a Facebook page or ad to showcase a new investment opportunity. There is far more depth to using social media than sending tweets or posting on Facebook or Instagram.
You can use social media to promote and disseminate blogs, podcasts and set up message boards to continuously update information and progress on the current deal. Some syndicators use social media to provide the necessary disclosures required by various regulatory agencies. Still others use it to share their investors’ blogs, which helps to enhance the syndicators’ market presence in a particular niche.
When it comes to social media, show investors who you are and share things from your personal life: your family, your hobbies, etc. if you feel comfortable doing this – it will improve your investors relations, because it will investors know you better and feel more connected to you.
Best Practices #4:
Create An Amazing Website
Having a professional website may seem obvious; as the Internet is generally the first place potential investors go to vet a syndicator. Because of its importance, a website has to be one that looks impressive and contains the right information as well as the right amount of information. Think of websites as more of a “tease” rather than a reference library. This is not the time to have your friend’s high-school child design it for free because he or she wants the experience. It has to be graphically exciting, technologically adept and easy to navigate. Plus, keep in mind most viewers are now accessing websites on devices like tablets and smartphones, so be sure that the website is mobile-friendly.
Start with your mission statement and investment strategy, and add any press that you’ve received. Putting up all of your blogs and podcasts is smart move, as it helps present you as the thought leader when it comes to real estate syndication and investing. An overview of successful deals complete with photos of the properties is a good way to showcase abilities, and provide potential investors with the confidence in you that you need.
Best Practices #5:
Build a Strong Team
Successful syndicators realize that it’s nearly impossible to do everything on their own. Because of all the work and money involved in syndicating a property, teamwork is essential to build and maintain a successful syndication business.
Develop relationships with a real estate attorney, a marketing and social media expert, an accountant and an administrative assistant. Having close relationships with lenders will come in handy as well. Network with peers, get referrals and discuss your needs with other syndicators. Word of mouth and recommendations goes a long way in building a successful team.
Best practices are rapidly changing in the syndication field, as new people enter the arena and technology makes huge strides in investor acquisition and retention while building better relationships. The Internet is playing a key role in finding investors, so become familiar with how it works and the best ways to utilize it. Explore and try the new technology available to syndicators to streamline the vetting and acquisition process for potential investors. Make social media a part of your overall marketing effort, as more and more investors are spending time on various sites to get their information. Finally, build a team of experts that can help you grow and thrive. It’s an exciting time to be a syndicator, and using the best practices detailed above will make your job a lot easier and more enjoyable.
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About the Author
Ellie is the founder of Blue Lake Capital, a real estate company specializes is multifamily investing throughout the United States. At Blue Lake Capital, Ellie helps investors grow their wealth and achieve double-digit returns by investing alongside her in exclusive multifamily deals they usually don't have access to.
Ellie is the host of Unbelievable Real Estate Stories, a podcast that shares true stories from within the industry, and the critical lessons learned, from the most successful real estate investors, innovators, developers, and more from around the globe!
She started her career as a commercial real estate lawyer, leading real estate transactions for one of Israel’s leading development companies. Later, as a property manager for Israel’s largest energy company, she oversaw properties worth over $100MM. Additionally, Ellie is an experienced entrepreneur who helped build and scale companies by improving their business operations.
Ellie holds a Masters in Law from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.