Dear Jennifer...for you...the single gal and (shudder) SOI

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Redwood DC-SP98366576

Many years ago, those folks listening to country music enjoyed Crystal Gayle. One of her songs came to mind as I read a post on active rain. One of those folks you love to read shared her thoughts on SOI. As I read the post, - "You've been talking in your sleep" started playing in the quiet corner of my mind that is reserved for soundtracks that show up when I am reading. Now, I am not saying that the entire song came to mind, just the title stanza there. I rechecked the locks on all the doors. I was convinced that Jennifer had slipped in during the darkest hours of the night and like some frenzied court reporter taken a transcript of my dream induced mumbling.

She is so on target with this post ( it should be bookmarked and printed and handed to any new agent entering real estate.

I posted a reply and she replied to my reply that I should create a blog out of my reply to her blog and I figured, hell, she is a published author and I am just a little nice man trying to make nice, so here it is.

I have been a proponent of be yourself, do your job, be available and they will come since my very first days in real estate. I do agree with the genesis of creating a list of your SOI. You have to start somewhere and making a list of who you know sounds like a good idea. Most new agents would head for the door if you told them that they could call 100 strangers and possibly get a transaction. Tell them to call people that know them and like them and the task seems less daunting. The relationship of how likely they are to refer someone to you and then rating them as such is pure poppycock. Any one of them may or may not refer someone to you. It would be much easier if you told them the truth.....stay in touch with people, show an interest in them and learn to care about yourself and how your profession fits in the grand scheme of things.

If you create the list and make a point of calling everyone on the list in a systematic fashion that will have you speak with them once every 42 days, you have accomplished the easy part of "touching base". It is much harder to actually develop knowledge about others and contact them when it is relevant to something in their life and not yours. You actually have to shut up and listen and care. I don't care what Buffini, Tracey, Ferry, Knox and all the other guru's have to say about this. A practiced scripted call sounds just like it is a practiced scripted call. A phone call that is developing or continuing a relationship sounds like it is a call from a friend or associate.

I have no problem using a reminder system to stay in touch with my SOI. I can promise you that when I do talk with them..........real estate does not come up from my side of the conversation. I am calling to keep in touch, find out what's new in their life, mention something of common interest and reinforce that I am in their life. I do keep track of birthdays, anniversaries and other special dates. I do know the religion of many in my SOI and acknowledge special days. I keep notes. I don't trust my memory.

If they bring up real estate, I share the information they request. End of subject. It is done in the same friendly tone that I might share the results of the raffle held at the fair. I am convinced that if you act like you are the expert, you don't have to beat people over the head with the "I am the neighborhood expert" game plan.

If at a party, someone asks, "what do you do?", I answer..."I am a realtor. In my spare time my wife and I enjoy creating art with painting and photography." I always give them an out so they don't feel like they have to walk through the mine field of "who do you know, etc." They came to enjoy a party. If they wanted to hear a sales presentation they would have gone to an Amway or Partylite get together. (Come to think of it, a lot of people are sandbagged at those events too!).

I can only share that if you begin or end every or any phone call with "oh, by the way, if you know anyone that is looking to buy or sell ...blah blah blah"....caller i.d. will cut down on your number of completed calls in short order. Instead of "it's Jennifer on the phone" it soon becomes "oh for christ sake, it's jennifer bugging you again about real estate. let it go to the answering machine."

If every chance meeting begins or ends with "oh, by the way, if you know anyone...blah blah blah", you will begin to notice people crossing the street before they have to put up with your "elevator pitch". You will find yourself convinced you saw someone across the room and they have vanished before you could reach them.

For the love of pizza, just be yourself. It is o.k. to be you. If you work hard at your job, referrals will come. Rather than sitting in front of a mirror practicing what you will say, focus on the skills that will make you good at your profession. Once you learn to carry yourself with an air of self confidence, people will know who you are and what you do.

The trainers and brokers will not share this with you. You are more attractive and approachable with spinach stuck in your teeth than you are when you leave people feeling like they are nothing more than a stepping stone to your next deal. is sort of a blog. is all for you : )


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
The Lounge at Active Rain
Selling Soulfully Users
Dedicated Bloggers
new agent
old agent
single gal
tired agent

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Natalie Langford
Realty Negotiations - Winchester, VA
Winchester, VA Real Estate

This was a great read, John.  You were absolutely spot on with how we can interact with people and not make them feel uncomfortable in our presence.  This is the type of approach I'm most comfortable with and it's nice to see I'm not alone!

Oct 17, 2007 01:04 AM #11
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes

Yvette - Thanks. I hope I represent your broker well.

Kelly - Finding Jennifer...............well it is the best thing I know of. Drop back and visit

Natalie - Check out Jennifer. She is queen of comfortable.

Oct 17, 2007 11:09 AM #12
Bob Edwards
Coldwell Banker- The Real Estate Group, Inc. - Appleton, WI
Fox Cities Real Estate Hotline, SFR- Appleton, WI
Very good post John, you're words couldn't ring truer. Jennifer emailed a link to this post to me, thank you John nd Jennifer.
Apr 07, 2008 02:37 AM #13
Michael I. Pulskamp
Mainstreet Brokers - Jackson, CA
REALTOR, EcoBroker, GREEN Desingnee

Great post Jonh,

Jennifer, and you are so right! Thanks!

Apr 30, 2008 07:54 AM #14
Mike Lefebvre

Good post, John. So good in fact that Jennifer has made it required reading in her training course today. That's what brings me here today.

This was my favorite: ...stay in touch with people, show an interest in them and learn to care about yourself and how your profession fits in the grand scheme of things.

Thank you!

Aug 13, 2008 10:17 PM #15
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

I love it! As Mike said, this was part of our assignment for today and I'm glad! I've always believed in the "don't ask" model. And just last night at my son's annual Fall sports parent meeting, one of the moms came up to me and said "Hi Sue, how's it going? How's business going for you in this market??" I enthusiastically told her I'd just come from a home inspection for a first time homebuyer and things are going great, and asked how she's been doing. She's going back to school to get an advanced business degree now that HER kids are older. Will she refer me someday? Maybe, maybe not...but I'm certainly not going to ask her. It's really that simple...just being out there and building relationships.

Thanks John!

Aug 13, 2008 11:36 PM #16
Margaret Mitchell
Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty - York, ME
Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate

Bwahahaha.  I like the spinach in the teeth line.  Well, you bogged on the topic like Jennifer said, and you will get a lot of traffic here today like Jennifer said...   Now that's influence.

Aug 16, 2008 06:23 AM #17
Elaine Hanson
Partners Trust Real Estate - Topanga, CA
REALTOR - Topanga, CA Real Estate Agent

Well said, John.  The "Oh, by the way..." just does not flow freely from this girl.  I have found that the way you give people a broader picture of you and let the conversation flow in a natural way is much more effective.  To each his/her own, but your way and Jennifer's is the right fit for me.

Aug 16, 2008 06:37 AM #18
Jessica Bigger
Bigger Communications - Reston, VA
Freelance Real Estate Business Writer

Great post John!  You got it right on and I'm with Susan (way up at the top of the comment stream) when she was excited to know there are more of us out here you really feel the same way you do and to know that your business will grow over time.  Just need a broker who understands that, because for them it's always about how many transactions you closed for that year.  I just ignore it and keep doing what I'm doing knowing in my heart that my business will thrive in the long term because I care about the people I know.

Aug 24, 2008 08:52 AM #19
Eric Thompson

Well said. 

Aug 14, 2009 12:10 AM #20
Eric P. Thompson
Siesta Key Florida

John, well said. I have to agree with you on this. Keep up the great posts. 

Aug 14, 2009 12:12 AM #21
Clark Hitchcock

Thank you John and thank you Jennifer for pointing me to John's blog. I have looked at some of the people you mention and for some reason saying oh by the way just is not the way I talk so now I can just be me bumbling around asking them how they really are. I really like your way of stringing words together to make them so much more interesting then most John. I have not been on active rain for so long maybe i will actually come back and see what is going on here.

Oct 26, 2009 10:04 AM #22
Ashley Whittenberger
Ashley Whittenberger Fine Art - Austin, TX

John, for "a little nice man trying to make nice" you sure do have some valuable insight into marketing. Thank you for sharing your insightful post!

I truly believe that marketing should be fun. If you have that dreadful feeling in the pit of your stomach when you're about to engage in a marketing activity, that's your gut saying "THIS IS CHEESY! CHEESY ALERT! CHEESY ALERT!"

Ashley Whittenberger

Mar 10, 2010 12:31 AM #23
John Howard
Century 21 LeMac Realty - Mountain Home, AR
GRI, Mountain Home, Arkansas 870-404-3614

Just read your post at Jennifers suggestion....I loved it!  Thanks for speaking from your heart!

May 25, 2010 04:20 AM #24
Robin Holliday

Bravo John,

My sentiments exactly, If you have to ask someone for business, then your not doing something right. If you love what you do and you do what you love it will shine through you. When I became a agent (with Long and Foster) I was totally and completely lost on what to do to get clients. My broker said knock on doors, call people...... I didn't feel comfortable with that, so I didn't. I did however, listen to his suggestion to take the 100 days to greatness with Brian Buffini. Eventhough I don't agree with all that Brian has to say, he taught me to keep in touch! Having a SOI is something else I learned from that seminar. Now I am from the old school where you do unto others as you want them to do unto you. It's not about what can I do to get a referral or who do I tell that I can get their business, it's about show people that you truely care about them and the rest will fall into place. Thank you for a wonderful post and I am so thankful that I found Jennifer with her down to earth, no nonsense approach to thriving in Real Estate!

Jul 31, 2010 12:19 AM #25
Laura "Ole" Olesen
Sky Realty - Austin, TX

This and Jennifer's posts are spot-on and inspiring. It's easy to get caught up in people telling you scripts work, scripts work, scripts work and I'm glad to see the counter-opinion out there. Just my style. Thanks all!

Sep 30, 2010 02:57 PM #26
Caroline Thelen, Ameristar Sioux falls SD
Kiddos to you both. As a new agent I am determined to hold strong to this manner of doing business as it is core to who I am and how I want to be treated. Thank you for the honesty and inspiration .
Nov 16, 2011 10:49 AM #27
Brent Cain
Century21 McDaniel & Associates - Hemet, CA

Wowee, I'm so glad to see that so many others are "real" people, and not just out trying to be "sales people".  I hate sales pitches, and fsbo clinics, and omg, "expireds".  People call me because they need me, and I don't have to convince them that they do.

Bless you all!

Oct 27, 2012 08:04 AM #28
Anna Brown
Amazing. I started Peak Performers last week and "Oh by the way" not only makes me remember an ear-worm Joe Scruggs song my children enjoyed in the 90's but it feels, apologies to Jennifer for using her term, dorky. Thank you for this much-needed confirmation to stay the course with genuine, friendly catch-up calls and notes - which I enjoyed way before I became an agent. Yay!
Mar 30, 2014 04:47 AM #29
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Anna - I'm so glad you commented on this blog from way back - I just re-read it and was blown away just as much as I was the first time I saw it -  so so so true and insightful. 


Mar 30, 2014 10:48 PM #30
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


John MacArthur

Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes
Ask me a question
Spam prevention

Additional Information