Like me you probably hear lots of advertisements and infomercials where some man or woman in fancy clothes claims to have the "Secret to Success" in real estate or real estate investing. Most of them seem to be about as phony as a Picasso dated in the early 18th Century, but for those who are interested there is a secret formula to success in real estate. It can be summed up in the following stories that were passed on to me from a friend:
THE CLEANING LADY
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello.'"
I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
PUTTING YOUR MONEY TO ITS BEST USE
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. He had been saving up for this treat for some time. After studying the coins carefully he then inquired, "Well how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.
"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.
You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.
By now you likely can see the true secret to a successful career in real estate. It does not involve knowledge or experience, nor do you need some gimmick or a great marketing plan. Admittedly, these are not bad things to have, but they do not guarantee success. The true secret is simply people, and knowing how to serve them appropriately. If you make sure to treat people right and show a genuine interest in their lives, struggles and concerns then they will be much more willing to trust you with their dreams and fears. And lets be honest, when a client gives us the keys to their home to sell (or even to buy their home) they are often trusting us with their biggest asset and a portion of their dreams.