On June 13, Albert Laboz taught Exceed Network and its members the art of the deal. In his Boardroom Series event, The Art Of The Deal: How To Win Friends And Influence People, Mr. Laboz, Principal at United American Land, discussed how to create relationships that guarantee success, how to do business with friends, as well as how to build strong, lasting relationships with business associates and friends alike. Mr. Laboz jumped right in by stating that his business, real estate, is simply a matter of selling. “The real estate business is selling. Selling yourself and selling the brand. What do you have to offer as opposed to the next person?” He explained that all deals start and end with people and that the more genuine and kind you are, the further you will go. “You never know who might factor into a deal. Life is long. The people you meet today, they will be in different positions, different stations in life where they are able to help you” said Laboz. He elucidated this point with a story in which friend of his, the president of the American Cancer Society, wanted to sell the society’s building. Because of this friendship, not only did he get the last look at the building in the bidding process but he was able to craft a deal that worked best for both parties. “By knowing him, by being comfortable with each other, we were able to draw up a new contract rather than the typical contract. Each party was able to benefit in ways that normally don’t present themselves because we were friends” said Laboz. Throughout the event, Laboz used examples from his and other real estate careers to illuminate the importance of interpersonal connections. “Brokers care about one thing and that’s closing deals” he said. “They want to know that they are working with someone who won’t give them a headache, who will be easy to work with. That comes from reputation. When I buy a building and it’s controlled by a broker, I never send an offer without knowing the broker. I always go to their office, meet face to face. This not only allows for a more personal connection but also lets you share stories and potentially find out what other interested buyers may not know.” In one deal, a broker was representing the Greek government. “A screwy deal” as Laboz put it. The government didn’t want to be tied up in litigation. They wanted a contract that guaranteed another ten percent if he sued them, a rarity in the real estate world. “It scared a lot of people away, the personal guarantee.” But after speaking with the broker at length, after befriending him, Laboz had no problem signing the guarantee because his intentions were pure and he knew the broker on a personal level. According to Laboz, others sent checks but none with the guarantee that he felt comfortable signing. He ended up buying the building. The most interesting and trying deal that Laboz shared came in the form of a small chinese lady who was representing an overseas seller. The building was on Canal and Broadway. “For five years I chased this woman, trying to buy this building. When she finally wanted to sell, I was thrilled.” As is standard procedure, Laboz and his lawyer asked to see the lease documents for the building. She refused. Not only that, but she didn’t want a contract and wanted to go straight to closing. “I had never dealt with something like that in my life. But I was calm and patient. I worked with her when nobody else would.” In the end they worked out a deal that made everyone happy. “There’s an old saying” said Laboz, “that it’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice. Everyone I deal with, from secretaries to title closers, I am nice. Because in the end, a reputation takes a long time to build and only a moment to destroy.” Laboz then told a bit about his beginnings. After law school, he sold walkmen and watches to stores on Fifth avenue. “I learned how to sell my products, my brand, myself. I was working with my brother at the time and my father was in real estate so we figured we would get into it too.” Laboz and his brother then used the money they made from their electronics sales along with their newly acquired sales abilities to start purchasing buildings. That was over thirty years ago. Toward the end of the discussion, Laboz held up a copy of Dale Carnegie’s famous book How To Win Friends And Influence People. He assured the audience that it was full of “homespun, simple, brilliant advice that applies to any and all business relationships, not just real estate.” Laboz then opened the floor to questions. The first audience member asked what Mr. Laboz sees as the most common mistake young people make when breaking into a business. “I want to be CEO” responded Laboz. “Most young people don’t want to do the dirty work. But you have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. I was a stock boy as a kid. I worked my way through law school, into sales and eventually into real estate. You learn at every level.” After a few more questions, an audience member asked what Mr. Laboz’s biggest mistake was. Mr. Laboz grew quiet and finally said “Let me get back to you. We have made loads of them.” This got a laugh from the audience but he finished with a salient point. “It’s true. We all make mistakes but if you have a good reputation, surround yourself with smart people and have good intentions, you will be successful.” For more business tips and and Boardroom Series events, call us at 1 (888) EXCEED-2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.