Sell. Build. Repeat.

I’ve started a few businesses in my life across many different industries and more than one in real estate – there happen to be a lot of ways to make money in real estate. Much like dating, over the long-term you may observe that you gravitate – consciously or not – towards a certain ‘type.’ There exist some common traits or patterns in most of the people you date. I’ve found this is true for me in business.

The Built-In Sale

For me it’s the built-in sale – the customer that needs what I have every month. Truthfully, we could have a record-breaking month in a trend of record breaking months, but unless I have the confidence found in subscription-based clients, I’m terrified.

I have friends that run mortgage companies and car dealerships, property flipping and big-ticket insurance sales. All great businesses and all successful people. But to me, they’re deal businesses and would keep me up at night. I’ve never run a business in which I eat my young every month and start over, and I probably never will. I count in lifetime value.

Lifetime Value Requires Long-Term Thinking

I know a restaurant owner that teaches her staff to understand the lifetime value of their customers. A man comes in regularly; he brings his wife on a weekend about once a month. Weekdays, he’ll eat lunch about twice a week and have lunch meetings there about half of that time.

That’s about 114 visits per year: 12 with two people, about 51 with just himself, and about 51 with, say 2.5 people. 190 plates per year. That’s about $4,410 per year. She teaches her staff to see a $4,410 client walking in the door, not a tip on a $23 lunch. Can you relate that to your business?

Keep People Coming Back

That’s one of the great things about this business of managing real estate transactions. Most of our business comes from clients that we see often and get to know well. They’re people involved in real estate transactions like mortgage lenders, realtors, developers and attorneys. We seriously work hard to go over-the-top and give people a thrilling experience. It’s more meaningful to us – and valuable to us – when those people can keep coming back for more over and over.

I don’t like making sales and I don’t really count sales made. I count clients gained and the trust of those people. I can’t control the market conditions that create peaks and valleys in sales numbers. No one can. But in the long run, great people that are thrilled will produce great value.

What’s Your Type?

In the end, you’ve got to ask yourself what your type is. Are you hungry for the next new sale or looking for a stable relationship?

You don’t need to throw everything out and start fresh every time. You also don’t need to hold onto a single client for dear life. They both have their pros and cons, but the idea of lifetime value is an important one to consider no matter what business you’re in.

It might be progress to move on to the next deal, but the real value in a transaction might not reveal itself until that relationship starts blooming. Let your hard work build strong connections, and you’ll be amazed at where that mutual history and potential network will take you.