Originally published on Forbes.com.
In the early 2000s, real estate investing was a booming industry, and Toronto was a great place for that investment, seeing huge returns and a consistent cycle of gains and profits. It was at that time that my business partner and I starting to change how we thought about the game in a way that made sense for our clients and also everyone involved in the transactions (developers, brokers, equity firms, etc.). This couldn’t happen without some education and some hard conversations along the way.
The pre-construction real estate sector was new, if not newborn, so getting a business plan into play took massaging, learning and the building of trust, and how we currently do business is much different than when we started. Here are some lessons we learned that you can think about as you work to change the game.
Connection and understanding are important.
Managing to ensure that empathy is at the heart of your day-to-day business process, even in the face of different personalities and situations, is paramount. I remember one situation early on when we were speaking to a developer client about a bulk sale — before this was a common thing in the industry — and the conversation took many months, dinners and drinks before the proper amount of personal trust was built up. Ultimately, because we could connect and understand each other on a human level, our business partnership was able to happen.
Humans are rational. If you treat somebody with courtesy and respect — not overdoing it but with common decency — you’ll create a connection. It doesn’t have to be a lifelong friendship. Some people think that all business relationships need to be transcendent, but they don’t. However, they do need to be strong, based on professionalism and an understanding of one another’s needs in the relationship equation.
People need information delivered in different ways.
The psychology in this area is incredible, especially seeing how the brain reacts to certain ideas or stimuli. When we brought the idea of pre-construction bulk investing to our first group of clients, we told them how it worked and what the potential ROI was all in the same way and got very different reactions. Even though most, in the end, were receptive to the idea and have become long-term clients, knowing how to bring about new information, opportunities or ideas to different personalities is key, and so is understanding different methods based on how different people think.
This article won’t tell you how to act in every situation, but rather, you need to create situations where you can read the play and understand the person and their goals. Then, at that time, you can deliver your game-changing news or idea to them in the correct fashion that will cut through any noise and clutter in their professional life.
You will always encounter difficult situations.
This is especially true when breaking new ground or blazing a new trail. What you will face will either be a challenge in which growth seemed certain but is not occurring due to other factors or you’re managing personalities and new information. It is so rare to be in a position to be a game-changer, but you have to look for those opportunities and persist.
In our sector, real estate is such a tried-and-true business that a firm or idea changing the game for the better happens infrequently. But it happens and will continue to happen. While we believe we helped forge a new sector and that gives us a great sense of pride and responsibility, knowing that we stuck with the fundamentals of people and relationships gives us a greater feeling of community.
When encountering hurdles or mountains in front of you, always reflect on the relationships you have created. Understanding people and yourself through this leadership position will keep you honed in on your unrelenting vision.