Issue 11 Protect Your Reputation and Operate with Confidence

Your reputation is perhaps the most important asset you have. It is amazing how many people misunderstand this or get it reversed. They believe that reputation is important only when you are just beginning and when you clearly need the cooperation of others. Then, when you are successful and financially independent, you can be arrogant and difficult to work with. They seem to believe that power comes from success and money. In my experience, those with the most success and money are usually the most cooperative and responsible. Of course, there are always exceptions. There are a few successful investors who are egocentric and difficult to work with. Perhaps they have created an erroneous stereotype for the financially wealthy.

Your reputation for honesty, responsibility, and cooperation is foun-dational for your success. Since this reputation was earned over time, it is unlikely that it will change suddenly. The habits you built and demonstrated along the way will be sustained for the long haul. Begin with the end in mind: Treat your reputation as the precious asset it is. Develop it wisely and protect it fiercely. Follow the Five Rules of Engagement (see the chart on page 169), and become a person others want to be around, support, and cooperate with. That reputation will bring you many opportunities and cost you none.

Beyond that, your reputation may reduce the problems you have to deal with. First, people will be there for you when you need them. They will help you find solutions. Second, a good reputation may prevent problems from arising. I experienced this once with dramatic results. A prob lem had arisen as the result of a transaction. The buyer involved in the deal called me. He said that he had been so upset with what had happened in his real estate purchase that he planned to sue me. When he talked with several attorneys about it, each one told him that I always did the right thing. Turns out, these attorneys were all in my Network and knew me very well. As a result, the buyer decided to call me rather than sue me. We resolved the problem, and he was very pleased with the way it was handled. When it was all over, what stuck for me was that other people's opinions of me (my reputation) had prevented a lawsuit against me. The same can happen for you, too.

In your role as an investor, your reputation will come from the way you make offers and do deals. Always do this with respect for the other person and an understanding of his or her needs. One of the most important is honest and straightforward communication. Since your acquisitions will have to meet both your Criteria and your Terms, you usually will be making below-market offers and negotiating for everything you can. It will be important for the seller not to take any of this personally or have the sense that you are trying to steal the property. Let the seller know, and be sure your real estate agent lets them know, that you are trying to help them get their property sold—you are an investor, and you can buy the property only if it is a good investment. If the numbers don't work for the seller, that's okay. You are only looking to do win-win deals. It has to work for the seller and for you as an investor.

You are looking for

"deals, not steals." You want to be the one who helps the

"The job of a real estate investor is not to buy or sell real estate, but to solve people's real estate problems."

Bill Cook seller solve his or her need to miionaire Reai Estate fovesstor be out from under the prop-Adairsville, GA

erty. The only way you can do this as an investor is to have the numbers work; you must get the right terms. You need to operate with confidence, knowing that you are providing solutions to other people's problems while staying true to your path as a real estate investor. When it works for both sides, it's a true "win-win." When it doesn't, it's a "move on-move on," and that's okay too.

The Real Estate Profits

The Real Estate Profits

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