How I Lost Over $1 Million in Sales—and Why I Don’t Feel Bad About It

by | BiggerPockets.com

Over the past four years, I have established my reputation. There are many ways I’ve done this, but there is one key component that I’ve always stuck by, which has enabled me to have an awesome reputation without anyone throwing dirt on my name. Before we get started, I want to tell you this: Real estate is a long-term game. Success does not happen overnight. It’s going to take you 5, 10, or 15 years to really get you to where you need to be. So stop thinking about real estate as a one-night stand. It has to be a marriage. As I said, it will take time to find true success in this game. Nothing happens overnight, and nothing comes easy. It just takes time.

Turning Down Business

On one particular real estate transaction not too long ago, I probably lost about $1 million in sales—and I feel absolutely amazing about it. This is because I turn down more business than I take on. This is something I’d strongly suggest you implement in your real estate endeavors right now. I don’t care how broke you are; I don’t care how badly you need the money. I was in your shoes, and sometimes I feel like I am to this day. But still, whenever I’ve compromised my four core beliefs and made the sale to someone who I didn’t believe possessed my four core beliefs, I lost a ton of money. And I don’t mean literal money; instead, I lost money in the way of time and resources. When you lose time, it is gone forever. So, if you are spending time dealing with someone who is disgruntled, who you don’t want to do business with, who you don’t see eye to eye with, who you don’t agree on that long-term picture with, it’s not going to work. You’re going to lose money, and you’re going to lose time.

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Related: How to Motivate Yourself and Others With an Internal Locus of Control

Establish Your Core Beliefs

First, you’ll need to establish your core beliefs. Let’s think about that for a second. My four core beliefs are loyalty, honesty, no greed, and respect. Everyone that I surround myself with has to possess those four core beliefs, including my employees and my investors. If you do not possess those four core beliefs, then I don’t want you in my life. So, I am very picky whom I allow into my inner circle in regard to employees and investors. What are your core beliefs? Think about it.

Keeping Your Business Fit

Now, whatever business you’re looking at doing, whether it’s buy, fix, and flip, or wholesaling, figure out what your core beliefs are and implement systems and procedures that follow your process. We have a certain procedure that we expect every investor to follow. If they are not willing to follow that procedure or if for whatever reason we feel that they do not possess our four core beliefs, we turn down the business. Yes, as hard as it is sometimes when you need that extra dime, don’t do it. In regard to turning down questionable business, someone once told me, “You’re not starving your business; you’re keeping it fit.” And I’ll never forget those words.

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Related: The Beginning Investor’s Guide to Creating Lasting Value in Real Estate

So, if you want to turn down millions and millions in sales, only work with people that you really want to work with. Only work with people that you can genuinely help get to where they need to be, and in return, that is going to help you get where you need to be. Don’t compromise your beliefs, and don’t make the sale. While doing that business could be instant gratification right now, it’s going to cost a lot more in the long run.

Do you regularly turn down business to uphold your beliefs?

Let me know your thoughts with a comment!

About Author

Engelo Rumora

Engelo Rumora “The Real Estate Dingo" is a successful property investor, motivational speaker and serial entrepreneur that quit school at the age of 14 and played professional soccer at 18. He is also a soon to be published author along with becoming a TV personality in his very own real estate house flipping show. To find out more go to engelorumora.com . Engelo Rumora has been involved in over 400 real estate deals and founded five businesses in Ohio. The most successful is Ohio Cashflow, a company that specializes in providing turnkey properties in several Ohio markets. The newest venture is List’n Sell Realty, a real estate brokerage based in Toledo, Ohio and soon to be known as the #1 discount broker in the country.

23 Comments

  1. Erik Whiting

    $1 million in sales lost? I think a better title for the article would be: “Click bait-and-switch: How to get folks to visit a site by throwing out big numbers and then changing the topic to basic business ethics 101.”

  2. Michael Steven Harris

    As for greed being bad remember the wolf of wall street there is no nobility in poverty. At least when I face my problems I show up in the back of a limo wearing a ten thousand dollar suit and a forty thousand gold watch. I’ve been usda extremely low income bracket there is merit to this speech

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks Michael,

      I don’t agree as I have seen many unhappy/wealthy folks that keep doing deal after deal for the purpose of adding another $20,000 profit to their already HUGE stack of $10m+.

      Once you’re at that level, I really don’t think that more is needed.

      The numbers should change from “more money” to “how many people can i help”

      Just my opinion.

      Thanks

      • Avi Garg

        Engelo .. isnt that exactly what you are trying to do by adding $$ to your profit by taking cash only investors so you can reduce the time to close? No matter how big the stack is everyone wants to increase it …

        All 4 traits you mentioned I expect the other party to be true to that not just say it …

        The people who thinks “how many people can I help” do not look at the numbers/profit .. they do it for the sake of helping … That’s my belief

        • Engelo Rumora

          Thanks for your comment Avi,

          We only take on 10% of business that comes in.

          Can we take on more? EASILY. We could increase sales by 30-40% with our eyes closed.

          That’s not the point tho, it truly is about making sure that you do business only if it compliments your model and core beliefs.

          I have a non-profit that gives houses away to those in need and we are giving another house away this year. We have pledged to give 100 over the next 10 years.

          You need to help yourself first before you can help anyone else.

          I’d much rather be the “bank” and help those in need than actually not have “any bank” and not be able to help those in need.

          Without having money, it’s hard to help anyone.

          Much success

    • If I saw someone show up to a meeting with me in a limo wearing a ten thousand dollar suit and a forty thousand dollar gold watch, I would say thanks, but no thanks. Their priorities are not the same as mine. I have always said that if I get my income above $50k (yes, just $50K), I would use the rest to do good. That means everything from helping my parents to setting up a college scholarship fund to offering generous, above-market employee salaries. How much does one person actually need to spend on themselves before it’s just pure narcissism?

      • Engelo Rumora

        Thanks Amie,

        I would disagree.

        I tend to spend on myself as the materialist “little wins” keep me going.

        The more I get the, the more I give away.

        I’ll still have whatever car, watch or holiday home that I desire.

        After all, I easily have been pulling 80+ hrs now for 5 years and most of my days and hrs are spent helping others.

        The materialist awards are sometimes necessary lol

        Much success

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks Brandon,

      We have been turning down business even when we had less than $1,000 in the operating account haha

      It’s about principal and not giving in to what you don’t believe in.

      An extra dollar will never hurt, but as I said in a comment above.

      It’s not about the $$$

      It must be bigger than just the $$$

      Much success mate

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