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The Real Estate Philosopher


The “Formula” for “Success” in the Real Estate World – This is Exactly What to Do – Truly!

Feb 28, 2019

Why is it that when I ping the top guy/gal at a real estate company at 11 P.M. on a Saturday night – because I had an idea – she/he responds by 11:15 P.M.?
 
Why is it that many of the top people in the real estate world still cold-call people when they don’t have to do that any more?
 
Why do some people succeed in building incredible franchises and others just don’t?
 
What makes it happen – and what makes it fail to happen?
 
Of course no one really “knows” but I think I have some insight that I will share as The Real Estate Philosopher®.
 
Part of this insight is based on my informal empirical observation of successful people – and people who fail – over many years.
 
And another part of this insight comes from a very interesting book I read recently called The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success, written by Albert-László Barabási, in which he tries, as scientifically as possible, to evaluate what makes people “successful.”  As a side note, I heartily recommend this book as one you might want to give to your kids or cousins or people in their late teens and early twenties.  I wish I had read it then…
 
Anyway, here is what I have come up with…
 
People who succeed instinctively know that their “network” is the key to success or failure.  To be clear, I am not talking about what we all know as typical “networking.”   My point here is related but at heart different than that.  It is that successful people sense that the more other people are aware of what they are up to, the more likely it is that good things will happen.
 
To delve a little deeper, when you think about it, you can’t really predict what will happen in any particular situation.  You start out each year and probably write down some goals.  Then at the end of the year you probably forget to even compare the goals to what actually happened, and if you were to make the comparison you will likely find that whatever you planned for didn’t happen; however, other things happened – hopefully better than the ones you planned for.  Life – and the real estate world – is too unpredictable.
 
So when you think about it, success or failure in the real estate world comes down to a game of statistics.  You don’t know what will happen in any particular situation, but you do know that if you do a lot of things – and you do them well – good things are likely to happen.  I make this point in my book, If You Want to Get Rich, Build a Power Niche, which will come out in April 2019.
 
Successful people figure this statistical theorem out – either intellectually or instinctively – and then act on it.
 
They realize that simple things like:

  • Being super responsive

  • Making 1000% sure that their reputations are fantastic

  • Letting people know what they are doing

  • Being ‘different” so others remember them

Will all help them in growing their network and increasing the – statistical – chances that they will ultimately be successful.
 
In the Formula book I referenced above, Barabási has his first law of success:
 
           “Performance drives success, but when performance can’t be measured, networks drive success”
 
For example, consider your business.  You possibly have a team that is fantastic in every category that you could be evaluated in.  But if there is not a formal measuring scale, how could you “prove” this to a third party?  Even your competitor who is dumb as a post and completely incompetent will likely be saying that it is super-good, right?  If so, all that will matter to a prospective third party is who says they are better better (so to speak).
 
Since you can’t really prove you are “better” to a third party, then if you follow Barabási’s first law, you need to figure out how to effectively use your network to drive success.
 
My saying is similar to Barabási’s and it is:
 
                “It’s the network stupid!”
 
To finish up this article, here is a quick list of things I think someone should do to drive successful long-term performance in the real estate world.  This applies to both organizations and individuals, by the way:

  • Make sure your reputation is super – this is something you hopefully already have done, as if not it is kind of tough to change – actually this is very tough to change as we all know.

  • Get your network started – i.e. the people you know should be aggregated into a single list.

  • Let these people know what you are doing – and especially what you do really well.

  • Be a friendly teammate to others – even your competition – people tend to move around networks – today’s broker is tomorrow’s private equity real estate player with $10B AUM.

  • Be super responsive – don’t blow people off.

  • If you say you are going to do something, do it.

  • Be out and about constantly – in person, by email, however you like to do it -- although I have a sense so-called “social media” is less effective.

  • Be different from everyone else so you don’t get forgotten.

And things – good things – will happen to you.  You will not be able to predict them, but they will happen.  And as you keep doing this they will happen more and more.
 
Good luck! 
 
Bruce M. Stachenfeld a/k/a The Real Estate Philosopher®
 
PS:  The core mission of D&S is to “help our clients grow their businesses.”  The foregoing article is along those lines.  If your business is struggling – or doing okay – or doing great – the odds are that we can make it even better.  Feel free to give us a shout.  We don’t charge for that sort of thing.

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As the Chairman of Duval & Stachenfeld – a law firm in mid-town NYC known as The Pure Play in Real Estate Law – I am inviting you to join The Real Estate Philosopher™. This will consist of my thoughts and also thoughts of friends and colleagues.

It will not be published in any traditional media – it will go only to friends of our firm. The purpose here is very simple – to put forth thoughts in the real estate world that are different, provocative, and challenging of accepted wisdom. Hopefully, nothing said here will be mainstream thinking.

You may be wondering how I am qualified to write on these topics since I am “just” a lawyer. However, I have an unusual place in the real estate world. As the Chairman of The Pure Play in Real Estate Law (one of the largest real estate law practices in NYC), I interact with an incredible number of real estate players. This ranges from small real estate shops with nothing but a gleam in their eyes, to some of the largest real estate institutions in the world, and everything in between. This gives me a unique and global perspective and allows me to act as an amateur philosopher in the real estate world. This has always been my hobby and it is what I love doing.

Regards,

Bruce Stachenfeld
a.k.a The Real Estate Philosopher™

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