Are You Hauling Buckets or Building Pipelines?

bucketspipelinesWay back in 2003, I remember reading a story about a small village in Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “The Cashflow Quandrant.” In the story, the small village didn’t have water so they hired two different people to bring clean water into the village.

The first person purchased two large buckets and would hike back and forth from the lake to the village several times a day bringing water to a tank located in the village. This process repeated itself each and every day with the person making numerous trips from the village to the lake and back again. Each time this person brought water to the village, they were compensated for their service.

The second person disappeared for many months and returned with a plan to build a pipeline from the lake to the village.  They began to follow the steps outlined in their plan and built the pipeline for the next year.  Once the pipeline was finally completed, the village had water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This second person worked for months to design and build this pipeline, but didn’t earn any money for this work. However, when the pipeline began to deliver water on an consistent basis, money began to flow into their hands on a consistent basis. Oddly enough, they never once hauled one bucket from the lake to the village.

This story still resonates with me because it highlights two different approaches someone can take in their life.

We can use our time to haul buckets, or we can use our time to build pipelines.

When I first read this story many years ago after starting my real estate brokerage, I decided to roll up my sleeves and build my first pipeline. The pipeline I decided to build was to recruit agents to join my company. I thought adding agents to my small brokerage would bring a pipeline of home sales into the business. I viewed each agent as a possible new pipeline. I worked my tail off and recruited several agents and felt like I was making progress with my pipeline. Unfortunately, these agents didn’t sell very many homes and my first pipeline failed.

Looking back, I’m grateful this first pipeline failed because it forced me to “see” the real pipeline I needed to build. My new agents weren’t selling any homes and this is because they didn’t know how to get clients. The pipeline I desperately needed was a pipeline of new clients.

So I picked myself up and dusted myself off and began work on my second pipeline. This new pipeline was a marketing system designed to attract new leads that I could turn over to the agents I had spent the last year recruiting. I began running numerous lead generation advertisements. As the leads came in, I would simply turn the leads over to my agents. My agents were then supposed to convert these leads into sales. Sounds like a better pipeline, right?

Well, this second pipeline failed. My agents weren’t very good at converting leads into sales. They didn’t enjoy prospecting and wouldn’t consistently follow-up with the leads I had generated for them. This failure led me to extend my second pipeline. The pipeline extension was to systematically convert the leads I had generated. I stopped turning the leads over to my agents and I created marketing tools to convert the leads generated into actual new client appointments. These new client appointments were then turned over to my agents.

This pipeline extension finally began pumping oil into my business, because my agents were very good at turning these client appointments into home sales. Our sales immediately doubled and this growth continued each and every year.

It took me over two years and thousands of dollars to build a pipeline for my business. It wasn’t easy and I almost quit several times.

What are you doing in your business? Are you building pipelines, or are you hauling buckets? This is a very powerful question to ponder.

You’re hauling buckets when…

– you focus on getting one client
– you focus on selling one home
– you don’t have any systems in your business
– you don’t have a consistent flow of new clients coming in the door

You’re hauling buckets when your work does not bring recurring future income.

You’re building pipelines when…

– you focus on getting multiple clients
– you focus on selling multiple homes
– when you create and improve systems in your business
– you have a consistent flow of new clients coming in the door

You’re building pipelines when your work DOES bring recurring future income.

So what are you going to spend your time on today? Are you going to pick up the bucket, or are you going to get to work on your pipeline?

3 Comments

  • Greg Raymer

    Reply Reply May 14, 2015

    Good article. Saw your ad to download your free report but not able to do so?

  • Paul Desalaiz

    Reply Reply May 14, 2015

    Thank you Rob
    I enjoy reading your emails with the insights and “food for thought” articles.

    I change the way I work and think often from the wisdom in your emails.

    Have a great long weekend
    Warm regards
    Paul Desalaiz
    London, Ontario
    Canada

  • I’d like to get my hands on this now and begin changing
    my life not having to chase folks and having more
    control of my time.

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