The topic today is how to sell property management services by building a powerful local referral network. Our guest, Joe Stokley, can speak intelligently on this subject because he is a master networker. Joe runs Stokley Properties, a successful property management business in Walnut Creek, California.

Joe and his wife began as real estate investors, and Joe worked for a large real estate investment company until the recession in 2009. Their own rental properties were facing foreclosure, so they learned how to do loan modifications and worked with banks to restructure. After fixing their own personal portfolio, they decided to start a property management company as they felt their skills were needed in the market. The business started at home, and within seven years Stokley now manages 500 properties. The key indicator to their success? Joe was able to build a third of his business through local networking. Below, you’ll learn Joe’s advice for any property management owner that is looking to gain business by being involved with the community.

Committing Time and Expertise

The most important thing to understand is that you can’t expect to show up to a meeting and expect business to come to you. It’s important to really jump into it and get to know the people and the process. Take advantage of the forum, and let the membership get to know who you are. This will help your networking plan take off.

This is a community, and word gets around quick about who you are and what kind of work you provide. So take it seriously and get involved. People will get to know you, and that translates into business. If you want to bring half a million dollars in lifetime revenue, you’ve got to do it right.

Where to Look to Find Existing Networking Groups

You might find a Business Networking International (BNI) group that allows you to meet people from different industries. That’s where Joe started, but it felt limited for his needs. There was one Realtor and one lawyer who could help him bring in business, but he wanted more exposure. So, he got involved with the Contra Costa Association of Realtors, and an affiliated group within that organization called the Contra Costa Real Estate in Motion, or CCRIM. They met weekly and had 150 members, all of whom were Realtors or associated with the real estate business.

There are local organizations similar to the Contra Costa group across the country. Lots of areas have a Board of Realtors, and there are networking groups that grow from there. They are specific to your local community, and it’s a great way to build a Realtor network. You need to show up to the meetings and see what sprouts. The Board of Realtors in your community may have their own networking group that goes on property tours or meets regularly. They can refer you to an existing group that is thriving, and that’s where you’ll begin to build your network.

These are not the only groups we have seen property management companies have success in. Consider these groups, if they are available in your local area:

  • Rental Housing Associations
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Rotary Clubs

A website like is also a great outlet to help you discover networking groups within your local community.

Getting into a Leadership Position

As you network and share your particular area of expertise, there’s no reason why you can’t move into leadership positions, especially if you’re willing to put in the work. It’s as simple as sharing advice, and being proactive because when you do something for nothing, people will reciprocate. If you don’t do that, it’s easy to get discouraged and drop out.

Consider doing a sponsorship so you can give a presentation. When you sponsor a breakfast or something similar, you get an infomercial-type opportunity where you can give a presentation about the advantages of having a property management partner. That allows you to teach other people your trade. See yourself as an educator, and your audience will respond with questions. The Realtors Joe was speaking to wanted to sell houses, not deal with property management. As a trustworthy resource, he was beneficial to them.  

Moving from sponsorship to leadership is a pretty natural progression. Many of these groups have board elections, so you can run for office. Talk to people, be friendly, and be open to others. It’s helpful to ask questions and listen to people. Make sure you’re prepared, whether you’re giving a presentation or simply networking. Be ready and be practiced because it shows. This is serious and it deals with the professional lives of the people you’re meeting, so respect the organization.

The ROI on Joining Local Business Networks

At the networking group that Joe discussed, he paid $3,000 a year to be an annual sponsor. That investment plus the investment of 100 hours a year on meetings and events resulted in a lot of business. Joe said about a third of his business came from these networking events and the contacts he made through this organization. If you qualify that and break down the numbers, it’s pretty astonishing:

With one-third of business, or 150 properties coming from this network, and 6 years being spent there, the average is 25 properties per year that were acquired this way.

Joe’s annual contract value is $4,000 per property, per year.

Grab your calculator, and you’ll see Joe made $100,000 per year each year by spending 100 hours and $3,000 every year. And that’s just an annual value. In lifetime value, the number is closer to $800,000. It’s a recurring stream that comes from healthy networking relationships.  

Networking in your local community within local organizations is good for your reputation and an excellent way to earn money and grow your business.

This episode of The Property Management Show was brought to you by NARPM and the 2018 PM Grow Summit. Make sure you subscribe to The Property Management Show on iTunes and on YouTube. If you have any questions about growing your property management company, contact us at Fourandhalf – Internet Marketing for Property Management Companies.

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