The Business – PART 3
This final segment is about being smart about how you run your business. There are too many brokers consumed by the “what’s in it for me” attitude. This is, without a doubt, the fastest way to alienate investors that have the potential to be life-long partners. Below are the final four points of advice to keep in mind and add to your rule book:
- Until you become an investor (if you aren’t one already), you’ll never really understand how difficult it is to make a good return on your money. There is an old adage, “look after the pennies and the dollars will look out for themselves.” Often times, unexpected issues come up during or after a deal. Maybe a big unforeseen repair comes up on a property right after you close. Whatever the circumstances are, always be willing to roll up your sleeves and get involved to be a problem solver right along with them. Talk about a way to earn trust and respect! That would certainly help do it…Being a “team player” is vital for any long term business relationship. I strongly encourage all commercial agents to get involved in ownership. You can sit and watch the challenges from the sidelines all day long, but until you’ve walked a mile in an owner’s shoes, you’ll never really know what it feels like to pay for expenses along the way. Not only will being an owner yourself give you valuable experience to deal with clients, but it will also give you credibility with them. I have heard so many times brokers say, “I’ve made so-and-so so much money…” But the reality is, you weren’t the one taking the risk or writing the checks…So be respectful of other people’s capital and appreciate the complexity and level of responsibility of being the investor.
- Don’t show preferential treatment to yourself or any other investor. If you’re a good agent, you’re also probably a busy agent. That is respectable. And if you are busy, you might have more than one, or even more than two “big investor clients.” What will kill a relationship with any of them is if they find out that you took a deal to another investor before you brought it to them. How do you get around this issue? 100% transparency, that’s how. Meet with each of your investors individually, explain the challenge that you have with multiple investors wanting deals, and let them know that your relationship with them is important. Then, ask them how they prefer you to deal with it. Maybe you can create a more defined “buy box” for them, so that you agree you’re only obligated to bring them deals that fit certain criteria…Or maybe, they’ll simply understand the challenge, and let you know how grateful they are for any opportunity you give them. Either way, or in any case, dealing with the issue head on is extremely important. The agent I’m talking about in point #5 above, also started sending me the “not as good, good deals” over time. I noticed the quality of the deals got worse and worse, and the results and returns also got worse and worse. Then I found out, he had another investor that he was shuffling the “good ones” to, and I was getting the left overs. What a terrible, frustrating feeling that was to find out. If you do it right, every year of your career will be better than the last with a handful of clients if you treat them all fairly and right.
- Show gratitude for the business and the relationship. Let them know that you value their business, but above all, that you value the relationship, friendship, and confidence that they have in you. It is important to stay humble and sincere, and that will go a long way. Let them know that you don’t simply “expect” their loyalty, but that you are genuinely grateful for the opportunity to earn it. Let your investors know how much their business means to you, and you will see them be ever increasingly proud to give it to you.
- Know that not every “big investor” relationship is a match made in heaven. Over time, you will get to know that investor, develop a relationship with him or her, and sometimes unfortunately you will find out that their expectations and treatment of you is not the right fit for you. After all, it’s not always just about the money…Sometimes its about the way people treat you, respect you, and work with you. If you decide one relationship isn’t right, you’ll always find another if you follow the first 9 tips above.
You’ll find that working with fewer clients will make your business and your life immensely easier. More complexity is not necessarily more profitable. The relationships that you forge will last your entire career, no matter what the conditions are. By having deep lasting business relationships with larger investors, you will see opportunities for you to not only continue to close deals, but you’ll learn how to build wealth, and maybe even get presented opportunities to go along for the ride in a deal or two, and begin building your own wealth. After all, it would be somewhat sad for you to earn a living as an agent while the people around you earn a fortune investing.