One Easy Change of Perspective Could Vastly Improve Your Real Estate Business

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“Money can’t be sought directly. Money, like happiness is an effect, and the result of a cause. The cause is service.” — Earl Nightingale

We real estate investors are essentially in the sales business. We sell our house acquisition services. We sell our leasing services. We sell our houses. We sell our credibility to lenders.

But there is a big problem here, especially for new investors. The problem is our perception of sales. What do you think of when you read the word “salesperson?” Positive vibes? Someone you’d love to be someday?

Probably not.

More likely you will think of a slick used car salesman. I mean, who really wants to be known as pushy, sneaky, and cheezy?

Of course, salespeople aren’t all bad. I happen to think selling the right product in the right way is an extremely honorable profession. As a full-time investor I sell something almost daily. If I don’t, I won’t survive or thrive financially.

So how will you succeed at investing if you hate sales or think investing takes advantage of people?

The following is the answer that has worked for me:

I’m not in sales.  I’m in service.

When we serve someone, we feel good. Our brains literally produce the natural versions of morphine or heroin!

Service is not about getting. It’s not about me, me, me. Service is about giving. It’s about making sure the other person is taken care of.

Pause for a moment and just notice the good feeling you get thinking about serving someone instead of taking from someone. A business orientation focused on daily service could literally make your entire life happier!

Related: Why Your Real Estate Business Should Mean More to You Than A Way to Simply Make Money

The Fair Exchange of Real Estate Investors

“It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The basic idea of service in business is a fair exchange. You give the customer something of value. In return the customer gives you something of value.

So when you see yourself and your real estate business as a service business, you will see every interaction with sellers, lenders, tenants, and buyers as an opportunity to do a fair exchange.

Let’s think about the core value we real estate investors really bring to others. If you’re going to be in the service business, this value proposition with sellers, lenders, tenants and buyers needs to be on the tip of your tongue.

Sellers

We offer a homeowner with a house problem (or a life problem) an easy way to liquidate or dispose of their house. In exchange, we receive a discount and/or favorable financing terms from the seller.

Lenders

We give a lender three things they rarely get together in the investment and finance world:

1. Safety of principal

2. A fair return on investment

3. An easy, hassle-free investment

In exchange, our lenders (in my case, usually private lenders) give us access to progressively larger amounts of capital and affordable interest rates.

Tenants

We provide safe, clean, well-kept housing in desirable locations for rent. In exchange, we get tenants who make regular, on-time payments of rent (ok, not always!), who take care of the home as if it were their own and who stay forever (wouldn’t that be lovely).

Related: The Keys to Branding Your Real Estate Business

Buyers

We provide a beautiful, remodeled home in a desirable location. In exchange we get a quick sale at top price with little or no haggling.

What Business Are You In?

I believe if you start with a more positive idea of your core business identity, you will do much better as a real estate investor. So think hard about what business you are really in.

Also think about your own daily investment in a fair exchange. The blogs and forums at Biggerpockets.com are filled with discussions about good acquisitions, raising capital, long-term rental income, and selling houses at retail for cash.

Like you, I love getting those results. But I propose we start focusing more on doing our part of the fair exchange with excellence. The positive results will come to us too, and in abundance.  But they will be a byproduct of our deliberate investments in service.

Do you view your business in real estate as service oriented?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section!

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About Author

Building more freedom & autonomy with real estate since 2003. Professional real estate investor and expert at creative deal-making. If not flipping houses or managing rentals, Chad may be found pushing a baby stroller, traveling on long, slow trips, or helping other investors succeed at coachcarson.com

10 Comments

  1. Nice perspective. I remember when I was doing cold calls, another perception shift that helped me was to think less of ‘selling someone’ and more about ‘finding the right person.’ Then it’s less about my ability to persuade, and more about doing the work it takes to find the right person – which is much more controllable.

    • Hey Dan,
      Nice point. I like that. You’re not persuading, just finding out if they are the right person.

      I know for me some of the most awful experiences in business have been trying to “sell” the wrong person who doesn’t want what you offer. All of marketing and sales is about attracting, filtering, and then offering your service to the ideal customer.

      Thanks for sharing.

  2. Chad, great article as usual. I really like your Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. It speaks to the whole idea of karma. Finding solutions to people’s problems usually ends in a win-win situation for both the investor and the “seller”. You just have to put it into perspective. Awesome.

    • Thanks Frankie. I pull out a little Emerson any chance I get:)

      That quote also speaks to me about business being more than just making money. It’s making money AND making a difference. You get money in the bank and food feelings in your soul. Nice combo.

      • Absolutely! I’m actually currently looking at creating a syndication deal in a distressed neighborhood in DC to try and do just that! I really hope we can make it work!

  3. Engelo Rumora

    Hi Chad,

    Great blog and thanks for sharing.

    Here are a few quotes below that will compliment your blog topic.

    “Selling isn’t telling, its listening”

    “If your not OUT selling, your being OUT sold” hehe

    I totally agree that there is no better feeling than giving and being of service to others. The purpose of what we do should be bigger than just ourselves.

    This type of mindset will enable one to endure through all the Euforia and Depression that comes with our industry.

    Thanks and have a great day.

    • Great quotes Engelo. Thanks for sharing.

      Yeah, listening is such a lost art. Just listening with sincerity and asking good questions can sometimes do the whole negotiation for you. Amazing.

      And I agree that connecting with the core of your service helps you through the ups and downs. Those bad times are going to come, so when you’re not making money or not making everyone around you happy, what will drive you then??

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