We all like to believe that we’re experts in our fields.
I’ve been in property for almost five decades and this has given me expertise and knowledge I didn’t have when I first started out.
I’ve seen property cycles peak and cool and watched as property spruikers encouraged people to buy into volatile regional hot spots.
I’ve also had the pleasure of watching clients achieve financial freedom through a steady, consistent approach to property investment.
But there are three words that I’ve learned to say that most property investors, in my opinion, don’t say enough.
And it’s this: "I don’t know".
A bit like saying "sorry" or "no", people are often reluctant to use this phrase because they don’t want to sound stupid or weak.
But there are lots of great reasons to say these three words.
It can save you from making big mistakes and it also displays confidence in your abilities.
It takes a very secure person, after all, to admit they don’t know something.
These are some of the main reasons I often say "I don’t know".
1. I don’t know… so I will find out
Pretending to be an expert in all areas is not only foolish, but it’s also not believable.
Clients like experts who don’t pretend to be an expert in everything.
It’s OK to admit to not knowing something as long as you find out.
An "I don’t know" on its own is not good enough, but an "I don’t know" followed by a promise to find out is impressive.
Phrases you could use include:
⦁ I don’t know, but I know someone who is an expert in that field so I can find out.
⦁ I don’t know, but give me a few hours and I will get back to you.
⦁ I don’t know, but I will get my team to help you find the information.
2. I don’t know… so let’s steer clear
There are some fields of investment that are so hazy or new that you’re not able to do your due diligence.
They promise the world or seem too good to be true, and if there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that if a thing seems too good to be true it probably is.
That’s when I say "I don’t know about this, so let’s steer clear".
Your reputation, after all, is only as good as your track record.
Identifying problem investments to steer clear of is as important as seeing the opportunities.
There are some investments that don’t sit right with you.
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Maybe it’s a gut feeling.
Either way, you know that no matter how much research you do, you’re not going to feel comfortable with it.
That’s a feeling you should be guided by.
3. I don’t know… because I’m still learning
A big driver for all my clients is achieving financial freedom.
They want to set themselves up for life and make sure they put their money to the best use possible so it keeps growing.
That’s always been my goal, and I’m sure it’s yours, too.
But here’s another one of my goals: learning.
I am comfortable enough to never have to work again and yet I do because I am passionate about property investment and helping clients.
The property field is always changing, and there’s so much to learn — even for someone who has been in the industry as long as I have.
Learning is crucial to staying engaged with what you do.
And in order to keep learning, you need to admit that there are things you don’t know.
4. I don’t know… because it’s not worth knowing
Time management is a big part of becoming successful.
Knowing what to work on and where to apply your attention is half the effort.
I’ve seen people tie themselves in knots over projects or jobs that aren’t going to help them, or their business, in the long run.
So sometimes I simply don’t know something because it isn’t worth knowing.
There's nothing wrong with that.
After all, the human brain can only retain so much material so you want to make sure it’s the right material.
I hope I’ve encouraged you to say the words "I don’t know" more often.
In business, being a "yes" person who overpromises and under-delivers is not something to aspire to.
But admitting to not knowing something builds trust with clients and lets you focus on what really matters.