How to Become a Pro Investor – Relationship Building Is a Major Factor

How to become a pro investor

All credit for the excellent insights in this article goes to pro investor Ike Mutabanna of Zane Holdings.

We’ve all heard the expression, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ but in real estate, we should modify that a little and say, ‘it’s not just what you know, it’s also WHO you know.’

In this article, you will see that in addition to your ongoing education in real estate, profitable relationship building strategies are the key to making your real estate investment business work.

You will see how to build these relationships from the ground up so that they will greatly assist you in your future.

Ike Mutabanna manages partnerships and investor relations for Zane. He is a partner in 2,500+ apartment units in Texas, Florida, and other states.

Ike’s 4 guiding principles for building profitable relationships are as follows:-

4 Point Guide – Building Profitable Relationships

  1. The Personal Connection
  2. The Money Connection
  3. The Passion Connection
  4. The Aspiration Connection

Before we look in more detail at each one of these relationship-building principles let’s say a few words about the importance of being genuine.

You cannot start relationships based on expecting something in return. The key is to be content with being willing to help, guide and connect others without looking for some kind of transactional pay off.

What really forms a relationship?

It all starts with some sort of connection, but for the relationship to be the kind of relationship that will impact your life and your financial future in a positive way, the connection must happen on a deeper level.

Let’s look in more detail at the four ways that this can happen.

1- The Personal Connection

To build a personal connection with someone you have to learn about that individual, about their family and in general just find out what that person cares about.

As you do so, likely there will be an opportunity for you to introduce something into that individual’s life that can truly help them.

How will you get to know those details?

It can be as simple as having a cup of coffee together. Then, instead of pushing your own agenda or just trying to get something done, really listen to the other person.

How can you get them to open up without prying?

You will find that when you are willing to share something personal about your own life then this builds trust and opens the way for an interchange.

To give a simple example, Ike discovered that one of his connections had a fear of technology.

He spent a significant amount of time and went out of his way to walk her through the technology steps she was trying to figure out and a deeper connection was made.

To date, that grateful connection has been the source, both directly and indirectly through referrals, of close to a million dollars in investment capital.

2- The Money Connection

This is a deeper connection that is made when you help someone either:-

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Find a job
  • Grow their business
  • Find customers
  • Refer cost-saving vendors

To give an example, at a conference Ike met a businesswoman who was a former VP of a software company; she had recently been laid off.

Since Ike has a similar professional background he readily shared his LinkedIn contacts with her, before long she found a position through his network.

She is now one of his major investors.

3- The Passion Connection

No, this third principle is not referring to some kind of romantic liaison but to an activity that a person is deeply interested in and is passionate about.

It could be something as obscure as making model airplanes.

When we discover these things about people we should not ignore that.

For example, is now a company that is valued at 1 billion dollars.

It started with an idea for an online tool to create school yearbooks. The founder, Melanie Perkins needed a backer, nobody was willing.

She finally made a connection with a potential backer after discovering he had a passion for kite surfing. She even attended a kite surfing convention.

Eventually, she received the investment she needed from the kite surfing enthusiast investor and others he introduced her to at that same kite surfing convention.

This may be an extreme example but it well illustrates how a deeper connection can be made when we take a genuine interest in things that others are passionate about.

4- Aspiration Connection

This principle has to do with people’s hopes and dreams, things that are on the bucket list.

Can you help a person in some small way to move a little bit closer toward realizing their dream?

People are naturally shy about sharing their hopes and dreams but that might be the thing that builds a very deep connection.

For example, the former software VP mentioned earlier in this article has a dream to one day own a penthouse in one of the chic neighborhoods in Dallas, she wants to retire there.

It’s beyond her reach for now but she has that aspiration.

Ike was able to put her in touch with a friend who had recently made just such a purchase in Dallas and thanks to the information he shared, she’s moved a step closer to realizing that dream.


Life is about relationship building, business is about relationships and being a successful real estate investor depends on all kinds of relationships whether it be with investors, property managers or brokers.

Invest now in your relationships in accord with the principles outlined in this article and you will reap the rewards that you deserve.