November 26, 2017

JF1181: How To Build Great Relationships #SkillSetSunday With Jason Treu


Clients will come to Jason to make themselves better leaders, coaches, or whatever it is they feel they are “stuck” in. Jason says that the root of the actual problem oftentimes stems from experience when the client was younger. Most of the work he does, is working from the inside out, not the other way around. Jason tells us exactly how we can build great relationships with people even if we are feeling “stuck”. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!

Best Ever Tweet: 


Jason Treu Background:

  • Top executive coach
  • Through his coaching, his clients have met industry titans such as Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Richard Branson
  • Works with executives and successful entrepreneurs on leadership and performance issues
  • Author of the Social Wealth
  • Based in Dallas, Texas
  • Say hi to him at


Made Possible Because of Our Best Ever Sponsors:

Fund That Flip provides short-term fix and flip loans to experienced investors. If you’re looking for a reliable funding partner, their online platform makes the entire process super easy, and they can get you funded in as few as 7 days.

They’ve also partnered with best-selling author, J Scott to provide Bestever listeners a free chapter from his new book on negotiating real estate. If you’d like to improve your bestever negotiating skills, visit to download your free negotiating guide today.


Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.

I hope you’re having a best ever Sunday, and because today is Sunday, we’ve got a special segment called Skillset Sunday where we’re going to help you with a specific skill that will help you in your real estate endeavors. Today, the skill is how to build great relationships with people. To talk to us about that, we’ve got Jason Treu, top executive coach. How are you doing, Jason?

Jason Treu: I’m doing fantastic, thanks for having me back on the show again.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, my pleasure. A little bit about Jason – he works with executives and successful entrepreneurs on leadership and performance issues. He’s the author of Social Wealth. He’s based in Dallas, Texas. With that being said, Jason, just to give the Best Ever listeners a refresher, can you give them a little bit more about your background and your current focus?

Jason Treu: Sure. I started like every entrepreneur, a really windy road. I went to law school and didn’t really wanna be a lawyer after I graduated from school. I went out to Silicon Valley and got to work with a lot of great executives, back in the gold rush, like Mark Cuban, Steve Jobs, just a bunch of great venture capitalists and other people. Then I decided to move back closer to my mom after some friends of my parents had passed away, and I was like “I could be near my mom for one point, at least for a couple years.”

I just came here, and then I just started my business by helping other people. I sort of just fell into it and then did it as a side hustle, and then turned it into a full-time gig.

Joe Fairless: Okay. So what’s the primary reason – and then we’ll get into how to build great relationships with people… And perhaps this is it – what’s the primary reason people hire you?

Jason Treu: Well, they’re stuck, and they’re stuck in internal issues. They come to me because maybe they wanna be a better leader, they wanna perform better, they wanna help their team, they wanna be a better coach, a better manager… But the reality is that that’s a small piece of the puzzle. The issue stems from things such as they can’t step up because mommy and daddy told them to shut up when they were small. They told them big boys don’t cry, and they have a problem sharing emotions and being vulnerable and getting close to people, and that makes it hard for them to actually be a leader and cultivate a great team.

Most of the things, it’s really an inside-out job, it’s not the other way around. Part of it is a  lot of it is a lot of deep self-inquiry or [unintelligible [00:03:36].26] therapy in the process of helping people really make the unconscious conscious, so they can see what they’ve done, the patterns they’ve gotten into, survival patterns that they’re stuck that are keeping them in place.

Joe Fairless: So let’s talk about the focus of our conversation today and the skillset that you’re gonna educate us on, and that is how to build great relationships with people. Clearly, real estate investors – we need to have great relationships with people from a business standpoint for sure, so how do we do that?

Jason Treu: I think first of all you need to be in the right places, even before you think about “What do I need to say? How do I need to construct a relationship?” and I think the problem is most people don’t really have a plan. I think building relationships is all about a strategy, as it would be if I wanna find a new job, if I wanna do anything in my life; you’ve gotta have a plan, and you have got to get some help usually in figuring all that stuff out.

Part of it — the first place is where do you go? And I’ve found through a lot of research in time some of the best people to me are in charities and non-profit groups, and sometimes they can be interest groups, things such as running clubs, book clubs, things like that that you have in common… But you wanna go where people have money, because you’re trying to get people to invest and buy stuff in a higher value, and where they go is they’re a part of charities, they’re a part of charity boards, they’re  a part of nonprofits, meaning museums, opera, symphony.

The more you get ingrained in your community in those organizations, the more successful you’re going to be because those are the people that actually have the resources that you can leverage when you prove to them that you can add value to them, and they begin to trust you, and then it will be a lot easier to find the deals you want.

Joe Fairless: That’s one of the things I keep top of mind as well, is the philanthropic component, because the more involved I am with, for example, Junior Achievement – I’m on the board for Junior Achievement in Cincinnati – the more I build relationships, just genuine relationships with people who are also on the board with me, and one of them has invested in multiple of my deals.

Jason Treu: Of course, and the thing about it is that in an organization the whole premise is giving. When you’re around people that have the mindset of giving and you build a relationship, they’re much more open to helping you. Because most times when you meet people, like at a networking event or something like that, there’s a lot of matching, where you might give something but expect something back, or you’re taking. But in a charity organization, the whole premise is giving, so the mindset of people in there and their ability, and also their want to help you is significantly higher, as long as you just build a natural relationship with them and it’s not all about seeing what you can get.

I think that’s why those organizations and places are the right ones you’re a real estate investor (or any kind of investor) to go. And the problem is most people don’t do that. They go to meetups and other places, which are okay, but that’s not where you’re going to meet people who have hundreds of millions of dollars or a lot of excess capital just laying around, because that’s not what they do. It’s like a salmon, you can fight it upstream, or you can go where the people are.

And you know what, you might find that even if you don’t like going to opera, or a symphony or something else, that actually if you keep going to it, you might actually learn to appreciate it. And there are so many options of things that you can do anyways… It’s pretty limitless. I think it’s almost impossible for you not to find a couple organizations that you’re passionate about and that you enjoy and the people that you actually like being around, if you get out there and just try them.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, I think that’s the key part – finding the places that you just naturally gravitate towards, because there’s a nonprofit for everything. Unless you’re in some [unintelligible [00:07:47].28] town, then maybe you’ll need to be a little bit more resourceful, but if you’re in a major city, or near a major city, you have access to pretty much any type of nonprofit or philanthropic cause.

I like going to volunteer first, and then once you volunteer, then work your way up to the board of directors.

Jason Treu: Yeah, exactly. That’s how you do it. You go one or two times, and you see “Do I like the people? Do I enjoy the cause? Would I like spending my time there?” and if the answers are yes, then get more involved. If the answers are no, don’t. Find something else where you don’t just have to do something because of it.

It’s easy, you just google “young professionals”, “charity”, “nonprofit” or whatever, or just come up with some stuff and throw it in there, and  you can figure out a list of places in your local community, or the metroplex that you live inside of… It’s almost impossible not to find any of these places, and great things always come out when you’re in an environment of giving.

Joe Fairless: I can tell you I also did a Google search like you just suggested… So I’m on the board for Junior Achievement in Cincinnati, but in addition I wanted to do something a little different, so I did a Google search and I ended up gravitating towards hospice. So now I volunteer every Friday, I go visit a patient at hospice, and the benefits are not to build business relationships obviously when they’re in the hospice, six months or less to live, statistically speaking, but more it’s about knowing how to value relationships for myself when I build them with other people, and just knowing that is precious, and just having a different perspective.

My point is even if the nonprofit isn’t a direct cause and effect for “These people have money”, it can still benefit you for your overall business as an entrepreneur.

Jason Treu: Right, because when you do that, you feel gratitude and grateful, and that is the number one way to happiness. It is a way to see abundance, and when you see abundance in your life, you see more opportunities and get much more creative, and that mindset is how you make more money. So even if you don’t get something out of it, being in that mindset, in that environment will actually allow you to see a lot more around you and be a lot more successful.

So the by-products of it no matter what you do or how you go about doing it are massive, and it’s proven by research and science and however you wanna look at it. I’m 100% doing it, I’ve been doing it for a really long time, and it changed my life for the better, I had some great experiences that I could never have, and I wish more people would do it.

Joe Fairless: So how to build great relationships with people… You said have a strategy, then go where the people have money (charities, nonprofits) and do something that you genuinely — test it out first. What else do we need to do?

Jason Treu: Well, I think the thing is you’ve gotta understand the pillars of how to build a great relationship, and I think that if you have these things… And I’ve kind of simplified it in my mind how to do this really quickly, because when I talk to people, I like to give them quick advice that they can implement pretty quickly and see some tangible results and then dive in deeper… And the key is that whenever you meet someone, you need to influence them enough to pierce their inner circle, because that way there’s some urgency for them to follow up with you, because you created some sort of influence on them that they’re like “That’s a great person. I really wanna get to know them more, and I’m gonna take time out to either meet them individually, or go where they’re at, or have them come over to some group function. Whatever is, they’re top of mind.”

How you do that is through three pillars, and one is building rapport, and there’s two ways to build rapport. One is nonverbal and verbal. Nonverbal – there’s so many things that you can look up, like body language… Amy Cuddy has a great book on how to do that, and that’s more time-intensive, but it’s pretty easy to do a lot of the stuff.

The verbal side of it, they key is you wanna find common ground with people. The way to think about it is we’ve all had those moments in our life where we’re like “Wow, I felt like I met that person for five minutes, but I’ve known them all my life, and it’s just amazing, and we just clicked instantly.” Well, you can do that almost every single time, it’s just you’re not asking the right questions.

I learned in law school that the key to being successful is not about the answers, it’s all on the questions, and I thoroughly believe that now. The questions you should be asking people are questions like “What’s the most exciting thing that’s going on in your life right now? What are you passionate about outside of work? What projects are you working on that you’re passionate about?”

Why would you ask those questions? Well, the key is that after you ask someone “Hey, how are you doing?” or maybe “How did you get to this organization?” as a warm-up question, you wanna immediately go into that because that interrupts their pattern. Because most people ask people “Where are you from? What do you do?” and they ask those questions so many times, usually most of the outcomes are not grey, where they’re okay, that they sound you out. They’re thinking about other stuff as they’re talking to you, and you’ve immediately lost them.

But when you ask them questions like that, 1) it connects them to their emotional side, and the key about life is we’re all emotionally-driven people. Even the most logically-driven person that you think, it’s all about emotion and it’s all about how they feel, and what you wanna do is have people talk about the thing that they’re most interested in and no one’s ever asked them before. Most people have never been asked that question, because I’ve asked people, even by people in their life that they’re closest to. If you ask that question to people, you then have something that they really wanna talk about, and you can find some commonality because you can draw something… Like, “What are you passionate about right now?” “I’m really passionate about that because I love going to music and concerts”, and you can say “I love that too, I’ve been to this concert”, or rap back and forth.

That is great, because that person will instantly like you significantly more and you found some common ground that you can then discuss something that they wanna discuss, not what you wanna discuss.

Joe Fairless: I don’t know art. Hypothetically speaking, I just asked you “What’s the most exciting thing that’s going on in your life right now?” – I love this question, by the way – and you talk for about 180 seconds about some piece of art that you just found. I know nothing about it; what do I do?

Jason Treu: Then I would say “That’s fantastic. I’m not really into art, but it’s probably something that I should really check out. Where do you recommend that I start to look at it in the city? Where could I see something like that?”

Joe Fairless: But I don’t care about art either.

Jason Treu: Okay, well then you say “I think that’s great that you’re really interested. Is there any other things that really are getting you excited or that you’re doing in your life and your work, or something?” You can just bridge it. I would just bridge it to something business-oriented, or ask them “So what else is going on outside of that?” and they’ll bring up something else. Maybe it’s secondary, but at least you can get and find some commonalities to something else.

Joe Fairless: Alright, let’s pretend that I am just kind of, 20% interested in the art thing – where do I take the conversation? Because we’re talking about art… Let’s say we’re at a conference. I ask you, you talk about art, and I’m kind of interested, but then where does that conversation go?

Jason Treu: Well, I think if you’re just kind of interested into what they’re talking about…

Joe Fairless: But I want you as a business connection.

Jason Treu: Right. You can say to them “I’d love to talk to you more, get to know you more, have a conversation. Obviously, we don’t have much time here. Let’s exchange contact information and go grab lunch or coffee next week.” People will just hand you their information.

Joe Fairless: Okay.

Jason Treu: It’s pretty quick, because people at that point — again, if you do 30% of the talking and they do 70%, they’ll at least like you. That’s the opposite of what most people do, because most people will try to sell themselves. So by not trying to sell yourself, you actually stand out, which I know seems strange to people, but that is a huge turnoff if people talk over you and they’re not listening at all, and they’re only interested into what they’re saying. So even at that point…

Joe Fairless: I’m sorry, I have to butt in. No, I’m kidding. [laughter]

Jason Treu: Yes, exactly. So that really helps, and I would just do that. Because a lot of times you’re in a place, and the key is you wanna keep conversations under five minutes. You just wanna say “Hey, let’s connect next week, exchange contact information…” Maybe you can say “Hey, I’m going to a bunch of other great events. You seem like someone who’s really involved, why don’t I send you some other stuff if that’s the case?” Just find something in your head that you can use on a repetitive basis with people, a couple different ways that you can interact with them, and most people are going to give you their contact information pretty freely.

I think the majority of people will follow up with you, and the people that don’t, usually it’s because you’ve not made a good connection with them, and I think then you can go back and ask yourself “What did I ask them? Was I present during the conversation?” Sometimes things just don’t work out. Not every person you’re gonna talk to, these things are gonna work well at. And that’s not the point; it’s a numbers game.

Joe Fairless: I wanna ask you about the comment you made where you said “Keep conversations under five minutes.” Are you referring to if you’re speaking on stage and I’m like “Oh  man, I’ve gotta talk to Jason, but there’s a bunch of people that are in line talking to Jason”, or are you referring to if I’m at a conference and I’m sitting next to a couple people, then those conversations are the under five minutes?

Jason Treu: Yeah, the ones when you’re sitting next to people. If someone’s on stage and doing it, that has gotta be a super short point. But the thing about most of the people going on stage, they are speaking at that event, and what I would do – and I’ve done this several times – is that I contact them prior to the event, and they’re usually actually pretty free, and they’ll meet with you.

In fact, I met with the chairman of Royal Dutch Shell… [unintelligible [00:17:46].09] to Austin last year and meet with ten different energy people at a conference, and he doesn’t even know anything about energy, and meet with executives, and just had an opportunity to talk with them, and I booked appointments for him ahead of time. I said “Look how easy this is gonna be” and he’s like “There’s no way that’s possible. You can’t get a meeting with the president of Exxon, the chairman of Royal Dutch Shell… There’s no way. How would that ever happen?” But these people go to these events and they wanna be busy, and they wanna do stuff, it’s just that you wait till the last minute.

Joe Fairless: Oh, so you’re saying you set up a meeting time to meet at the event?

Jason Treu: Yeah, you e-mail them. You just e-mail them ahead of time and then you’ll get through a lot of the times. I’ve got 25% of the meetings that I pitched out for an event for Forbes Magazine for one of my clients to go in there. So it’s possible to do all this stuff. If I had more in common, I bet that would have gone up a lot more, but I was completely far out of left field, but that’s a pretty good ratio. And I got to sit down with these people — my client did for 15-20 minutes and talked with them, and that made a lasting impression. And what he did with it from that point was up to him, but he didn’t have to fight and stand in line. These people just came to him and said “Hey, let’s go to the restaurant in the hotel.” [unintelligible [00:18:56].21] and they had a conversation and moved on.

You’ve just gotta be thinking ahead and ask yourself “What are 99% of the people not doing?” and then go do that. Or just do the opposite of what your first reaction is going to be, and it’s usually right.

Joe Fairless: I believe you said three pillars to have a great relationship. The first one is build rapport – is that correct?

Jason Treu: And the second one is likability, and the easiest way to do that is just to listen to people. Like we’ve talked about before, most people talk over people, they are not present, they’re thinking about what they’re having for dinner, what they have to do later, and 90-something percent of communication is non-verbal. So if you just look at someone and practice being present, and don’t worry about who else is walking behind them, around them, you’d be amazed at how the tenor of your conversations and interactions will change, because they can tell when you’re distracted in the back of their mind, because that’s how we interact with people. That’s how our mind and our senses work around us.

You’ve gotta really be noticing that and observant, because if you’re not, it’s affecting your ability to build relationships at the level that you could be if you actually just looked  at them and were present and you didn’t worry about anything else in the couple minutes that you spoke to them.

Joe Fairless: Okay. And then the third?

Jason Treu: The third is you have to build trust with people. That’s the key. And the way you do that first is by showing them that you care. If you look at all the tenets of trust or all the research, caring matter by far more than anything else. How you show people that you care is you add value. You add value in a conversation in ways by suggesting things like maybe there’s a book, maybe there’s a person you can introduce them to, maybe you can say “I may have some ideas, let me follow up” and then follow up with some ideas… You can also introduce them to people at the event.

A lot of the times when I first started out doing a lot of this stuff, I introduced strangers to other strangers, meaning I didn’t know either person. I would just introduce them, and it worked really great. I’d go up to the bar, or any place, and whether you were drinking or not, and I would say to someone on my right “Hey, how’s it going? What’s happening? How did you get to this event?” and they would say something. It didn’t even matter what they said; there’s be someone on my left, and I literally might touch their arm or grab them or do whatever, and I’d say “Hey, you two should meet each other. I think you’d get along.” Obviously, I had no idea, but my mindset was that they would… So it’s true. If you believe it’s true, it is true.

Then what happens is they start talking to each other, and the great thing about that is that people always wanna meet new people. They might say to you they don’t need a lot of friends, or they’re happy in a small circle, but the fear of missing out — everyone wants to meet a new person, because they don’t know where that interaction might lead. And the thing about that is when you introduce someone to someone else, what I found out the magic is – it’s not really what happens in that interaction. It doesn’t matter whether it goes okay or whatever; what happens is when you walk around the room and you meet that person the next time, they’ll introduce you to everyone that they’re standing around. One, because they like you already, because you actually went out of your way to introduce them to people, and the only people that introduce other people are usually in people’s inner circle or people that they know really well will go out of their way to do that, and also–

Joe Fairless: Law of reciprocity.

Jason Treu: Yeah, exactly. That fits in there as well. So either one, whatever happens, and the reason why that works – it doesn’t matter. I started doing this and realized that by doing that, and introducing 5-7 different strangers together, I could easily meet 25-50 people in probably 60-90 minutes in every event I go to. Again, these things are all numbers games, because you don’t know who you’re gonna run across and what’s gonna happen, so the key is just meeting a lot of people and then getting their information.

If there’s someone you wanna do one-on-one, great. But the other option is inviting people to go and get together for brunch, for dinner, for lunch, and just inviting a bunch of people along, because everyone wants to meet new people. I don’t care whether they’re married or whatever, people want new people, because they don’t know where these interactions are gonna lead. And if you’re meeting them in charity or nonprofit events, for the most part people are pretty open and pretty giving and understand what’s going on.

Not every interaction is gonna go great, but if you invite 4, 6, 8 people to a dinner or a lunch, there’s gonna be some great things that come out of it, and then you are the hub making all this happen and everyone else is a spoke, and when you do that, that’s an influential place to come from, and people then come to you, and are more open to hearing things from you, and then they invite you to other events in other private functions, too.

So you never know what is going on… In fact, one of my friends here did that, and he met one of Jerry Jones’ nephews, and now he goes to the Dallas Cowboys game a couple times a year and sits in the owner’s box.

Joe Fairless: I never thought about doing a sub-meeting brunch thing where you invite a bunch of people who you’re meeting at the event to then go have brunch together, and that’s it; you’re just going, and you’re the one that’s [unintelligible [00:24:06].08] everyone. It’s the same philosophy as if you create a meetup locally – you can invite all these speakers, and you have to have zero experience, that’s it… Just know how to work and then you automatically get elevated to a similar level of a speaker just because you’re putting it all together.

Jason Treu: Right, and you can actually do that even at the event, saying “Hey, you know, a bunch of us are gonna go to this place afterwards” and invite people to go, and who knows who’s gonna show up? You can invite people, and I’ve done that quite a few times, and that works almost all the time too, because a lot of times when an event ends, 7-8 o’clock, people don’t wanna go home yet, and they’ll be willing to go out for a little while, so then you can spend some more time with some of the people that you met as well.

So there’s a lot of ways to skin the cat here, and get interactions with people; the key is you’ve gotta start going to events, because by spending 60 or 90 minutes there, it’s the most high value time that you can spend to meet a lot of people quickly, and in a great environment.

Joe Fairless: Jason, how can the Best Ever listeners get in touch with you?

Jason Treu: They can go to my website, it’s There’s tons of free giveaways on it. I have a guide on ten best practices in creating influence and meeting people, and some of the stuff we covered is on there, and a lot more stuff in-depth that’s easy, that people can just implement overnight, and be pretty successful at translating that into real estate deals or other investing that they wanna do.

Joe Fairless: You absolutely over-delivered on the promise of talking to us and teaching us how to build great relationships, talking about the three pillars that you have for building a great relationship – one is build rapport. A question that we should all ask people, whether it’s someone we just meet or our spouse or significant other, “What’s the most exciting thing that’s going on in your life right now?”

Two is likability, and then three is building trust with people, and you gave some specific ways to do each of those things. Then on top of that, a couple miscellaneous tips… One is go volunteer for a nonprofit, or a charity or something that you’re passionate about where people who have money also spend their time, but more importantly you want to be involved with that organization; go volunteer, test it out, and then ultimately climb the ranks, be a board member.

Then the other miscellaneous tip would be do a sub-meeting at a conference where you gather some people and do a brunch. Then you’re simply the one who organizes it and you’ll be elevated to another level and be included in other stuff.

Thanks, Jason, for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever weekend. A lot of practical tips that you gave us, and I’m very much grateful for that. I hope you have a best ever weekend, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Jason Treu: Thanks.

    Get More CRE Investing Tips Right to Your Inbox

    Get exclusive commercial real estate investing tips from industry experts, tailored for you CRE news, the latest videos, and more - right to your inbox weekly.