If you’re like me you can never sit still. That’s one of the curses and blessings of being an entrepreneur. And often we’ll get ourselves involved in so many things at once that we occasionally drop the ball and make a mistake.
And this is exactly what happened to me two weeks ago. But as you’re about to see I’m hopefully going to make money off my mistake (and so can you).
Here’s what happened: I’m a very conservative real estate investor. In every deal I do I try to make it close to as risk-free as possible. And awhile back I came across a property that I just wasn’t sure would make a good deal for me. I wasn’t sure that the property would attract good enough tenants and I would be able to sell it on a lease option.
But, the seller was extremely motivated and would do almost anything to get the property off of his hands. So here’s what I told him. I was completely honest that the property didn’t completely fit my criteria and I wasn’t sure that I could get rid of it. I told him that I would take it over but if things didn’t work out at any time I would just turn it back over to him.
I felt this was a good risk worth taking since if the property sold I would make about $30,000, and if it didn’t I would only lose my time. The owner agreed with my proposal and we went ahead.
However, it didn’t end up working out and I had to turn the property back over to the owner. There had been some tenants in the property so I had to get it cleaned up and back in turn-key condition.
Now, every time I do a deal or meet with a seller, I always take care of it myself in person. As a typical entrepreneur I have control issues and want things to be perfect with my business. However, when it came to turn this property back over to the owner I was out of town and could not do it in person.
I did not like this fact at all, and instead had one of my assistants take care of the turnover and getting the property in order.
I don’t have to tell you what happened. After the turnover date I got a call from a very unhappy seller who said the property was not in top-notch condition and he wanted to put it back together in his own way. I apologized profusely to the owner and decided to send him a check for a few hundred dollars so he could get the property back in order. After I sent him the check he sent me the note below…
Somewhere in your background is a teacher who taught you “character.” Character is who you are when no one is looking. You have demonstrated this rare trait exhibited by so few businessmen these days; I am thoroughly grateful. This is more than fair – I think it is the right thing to do considering the circumstances. Most good lessons cost us something; in this case you will know to personally check on the important things of property turnover, the next time.”
Obviously, I was very flattered… and… guess what I’m going to do with the note above? I’m going to add it to my testimonial folder that I give to sellers when I meet with them. And when they have questions or objections I will tell them, “Mr. Seller we aren’t perfect but if we ever make a mistake we will quickly rectify it. In fact, here’s proof…”
There is no doubt in my mind that the above note will help me close more deals with the many skeptical homeowners I am dealing with these days. So when you screw up next time (and you will if you’re an active investor) turn it around to an opportunity to show people that your company has incredible customer service and that’s why you’re the #1 home buyer in your town and why all sellers should feel comfortable selling their house to you.