You can cut off ₦10million on the closing price.” When my friend (because when someone saves you ₦10m, they become your friend) said this to me when I was looking to buy a property, I thought it would be impossible. I had negotiated the price of the property and was ready to pay the next day, when it occurred to me to talk to one of my secondary school seniors I had randomly met in the bank some months prior who told me he was in the property business.

I put a call through to him that evening and he was magnanimous to look at the property with me that evening and give his opinion. After the inspection, he admitted I had a good deal, but insisted I could get away with paying ₦10m less. Honestly, I did not believe him. I was certain that I had negotiated the best deal possible and the seller was not going to budge. Then again, there was no harm in trying.

The next morning, I called the seller to ask for a meeting and she told me where to meet her. I explained that I could only go ahead with the deal if I could pay 10million less than we earlier agreed! Your guess is as right – she went ballistic and said it wasn’t possible. I apologized for having wasted her time and dashing her hopes of a sale and stood up to leave. To my utmost surprise, she called me back and asked if I had the fund available. I said, “Yes.” She then called other parties to the deal and in a few minutes we had agreed on a new deal; a N10m lighter deal.

This is the ‘one’ in the thousand and one stories I have of how I sort counsel and saved a lot of money. One of the best ways to maximize your network and relationships is to seek counsel! The old saying, “Your network is your net worth,” can’t be true if you don’t seek counsel from your network. The truth is our mind has many limitations and we ought to be smart enough to leverage other people’s knowledge and experiences. Many times, you’ll get counsel for free if you just ask.

When next you are about to make a business – or any other – decision, scan your network (in your mind or even look through your contact details) for a subject matter expert in that area or someone who has sufficient experience and exposure. You can take them out for lunch or find a comfortable place to tell them what you’re about to do and hear their opinion. It’s great to ask for referrals or transact with your network, but sometimes leverage them for some free advice.

It is, however, important for to be sincere if you want people to give you the right counsel. Without the full picture, people may unwittingly give you the wrong advice which could create more problems for you. A lot of people have lost significant investments or assets because they hid what they were doing from the people that could help them the most – their friends, colleagues and family members. Learn from their experience and do better.

I encourage you today to intentionally seek counsel from the right people. I guarantee that it will improve your chances in building wealth and faster too.

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