I love this thought of playing "the long game." It is really my philosophy on life, business and relationships in general. If you do things the right way, add enough real value, treat people right, take ownership of your failures and mistakes, things are going to work out in the long run.
Whenever I am working with a new or existing client, I make it a point to communicate that I am interested in a long-term business and personal relationship. I don't see a new client as one quick deal or paycheck, as many brokers and agents do (or business people in general). I see my clients as people who I am committed to plugging in the necessary pieces towards creating success in their real estate investments - focused on their unique goals. When I commit to serving them as an advisor, negotiator, consultant and closer for my clients, I am thinking forward about 30+ years of results oriented achievements that will set my clients up to live the life they are aspiring to live. Any astute business person knows that existing customers are less expensive, require less time & effort to acquire than new customers. The intelligent business person also knows that creating genuine transactions in the best interest of the customer creates lasting loyalty and referrals are a natural result. Further, this smart approach creates the biggest growth opportunities for any business. When I come across a deal that does not fit my clients objectives, I will gladly advise them to pass. My mantra is "no deal is better than a bad deal." I want my clients coming back to me eager to reach for more after the success they have already had in deals that made the right kind of sense. With all of this in mind, it is astounding at the level of deception and short sighted business practices that I observe on a daily basis. To many, the one sale achieved through trickery or cutting corners creates today's financial gain and closes the door on any future opportunities that could be ten-fold. News flash - people eventually realize when they've been taken advantage of.
As a real estate investor, the long game mentality is absolutely essential for success. Investing in real estate is not at all a "get rich quick" scheme. Anyone who has achieved outstanding results in building a real estate portfolio will tell you it takes many years, countless failures, a thriving and dynamic network, credibility, investments additional to monetary in time/energy/talent/knowledge, and massive action. There are going to be times along the journey that your asset values decrease due to market conditions. There will be times where you have setbacks due to management, tenants, political conditions, and many other factors. However, I believe if you have the long game in mind, and realize big picture where these challenges are taking you, it makes it all worth it. The level of wealth you can achieve through real estate, and most importantly the impact you can have on the world, is nothing short of astounding. However, it does not happen overnight. Ask any person who's built a substantial and lasting business and they will tell you their "overnight success" story was about 20 years in the making before it took off.
If you are setting out to do something substantial through real estate or any other business, I implore you to take the long-game approach. The world is so transparent these days that if you take a different approach, you may succeed in the short run, but you will eventually be exposed. If you are looking to impact others, think about how you can add significant value to them first before you think of what a payoff to you could be. Be generous in your time, talents and attention. We all have special talents and callings in this life. Use yours genuinely and intentional to create excellent results and chances are the right things will happen to you and your family in the long run. Go the extra mile and do it the right way with the long game in mind.