A Christmas Gift From The Greatest Generation

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate

1970 I was just out of the Army as a Captain and had returned home. I had a job (not related to real estate) and as I went to work the first day, I got off of the elevator and there was a little man, big booming voice, great smile, bald head and standing at attention, snapping a salute "I just wanted to tell you welcome home" and so I got to know Huston. More importantly I learned a lot from him. 

Huston entered the service during WWII. In 1946 he was shipped back from Europe. Married, got a job, bought a house and raised a family. All the while being a positive influence on those around him, but never grabbing the limelight. Quick with, humor, respect and hard work. Houston started selling life insurance for one of the largest companies in the US in 1947. 55 years later he was still with the same company. All but his first couple years and the last years as he marched into his mid 80's he was the leading individual producer for the company on the entire West Coast. The town he came back to back in the 40s was about 15,000 population. By the 90's about 50,000. But nothing like Seattle, San Fran or LA yet he outproduced. How??

One day at lunch he shared with me his secret. Every morning when he got dressed he put 10 dimes in his left pant pocket. Throughout the day he made personal calls on clients and after each call he transferred a dime from his left pocket into his right. He would not go home at night until all ten dimes were transferred. There you go a secret to success, coupled with building relationships it gets the job done. Merry Christmas. 


Houston passed on about 11 years ago. I don't use dimes but every morning I start a clean sheet of paper and put two 6's on it. One is for the six clients I currently have that I will contact and I write their names down as I do so. The other 6 is for the six people I am going to contact and make them a client someday too. 


Posted by

Perrin Cornell, Broker, ABR

Century 21 Esclusively

135 N. Missin

Wenatchee, WA 98801

Web Site


Comments (20)

Rose Mary Justice
Synergy Realty Pros - Dandridge, TN
Synergy Realty Pros

I love this story and  plan to join you in making more calls or visits.  

Consistancy will surely bring more clients in.

Dec 11, 2018 03:39 PM
J Perrin Cornell
Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate - Wenatchee, WA

Thanks for checking in and re@ding my thoughts. You are correct. What ever we do consistency matters. We also don’t need fancy systems. Though they help they are just a tool. Like the 10 dimes

Dec 11, 2018 06:57 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

J.Perrin- love your story...all part of it. He used such a simple system that didn't need special software or techie gadgets. Houston stayed connected to people.  

Dec 12, 2018 11:51 AM
J Perrin Cornell
Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate - Wenatchee, WA

Thanks Kathy... appreciate you stopping by... we tend to get caught up in "state of the art" lol

Dec 13, 2018 09:38 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Making phone calls does keep our phone ringing, and a great way to keep those calls on a list.

Dec 14, 2018 05:41 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


                           Thank you, J. Perrin. 

Dec 15, 2018 06:44 PM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Perrin. What a powerful, poignant and yet simple thing to do. great post and thank you for your service.

Dec 16, 2018 05:58 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning J Perrin Cornell,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her series of "Ah-ha" moments for the week. I loved it! What a wonderful story and the proof is in the pudding.... Houston calmly went about each day with a simple system that worked and he followed it to a T!! Thank you for sharing.

Dec 16, 2018 06:40 AM
J Perrin Cirnell, Broker

Dorie Dillard and Sheila Anderson, thank you for taking time to read and comment. So many are out there trying to sell us the newest gimmick or system as “THE” secret to our business. But the real secret is within ourselves, everything else are just tools. Huston knew that and was very committed to service and systematic contacts.

Dec 16, 2018 07:42 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Wow, this is such a cool story. And the point is well-made. It's amazing how many people try to sell us the latest and greatest lead generation systems...and yet all we need is the confidence and wherewithal in ourselves to consistently make those genuine connections. Powerful post. D 

Dec 16, 2018 08:17 AM
J Perrin Cornell

it all comes down to people and so far electronis systems are good reminders and tools but the contact isnt the same.  Thanks for dropping in!

Dec 18, 2018 03:09 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

A great story. I'm glad Kathy Streib included your post this week.

Dec 16, 2018 09:55 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

What a beautiful story. Huston sounded amazing, and I love his thought about making connections each and every day. Thanks for sharing.

Dec 16, 2018 10:48 AM
J Perrin Cornell

Thank you. He was quite a guy and I learned a lot from him...though at the time I didnt realize I was learning 

Dec 18, 2018 03:10 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Staying in touch J Perrin Cornell with our past clients both old and new .This the secret to success . When I was out last week i purchased thinking of you notes to send out .  - great story

Dec 16, 2018 11:51 AM
J Perrin Cornell

I try to write 3 notes a day... dont do great at it so next year it is on my list. Thanks for dropping by

Dec 18, 2018 03:11 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Wow, J.Perrin,

What a great story and I love transferring the dimes, and how you translated into your own workable system.  Thank you Kathy Streib for sharing this with us.  A

Dec 16, 2018 12:25 PM
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Thank you Captain for a great post but more importantly your service. I got out of the service in 1978 as a sergeant and will never forget all I learned.

Dec 17, 2018 08:41 AM
J Perrin Cornell

I often opine that one of the problems we have as a nation is too many managers and not enough leaders, as an NCO I think you know what I mean... but nuff of that, thank you for your service!

Dec 18, 2018 03:13 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Beautiful gift you have shared. Simple, consistent and wonderful to share. So glad that Kathy Streib featured this one.

Dec 17, 2018 09:50 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

What a great story of a great man. Look how he touched your life and how his lesson is still being passed on today. He would be very happy to read this post!

Dec 18, 2018 01:01 PM
J Perrin Cornell
Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate - Wenatchee, WA

Sharon thank you for your thought... it is true 

Dec 18, 2018 03:13 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Perrin

What a wonderful story of a great man! And a terrific tip adjusted for our lack of pay phones.


Dec 19, 2018 05:45 PM
J Perrin Cornell
Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate - Wenatchee, WA

Follow up to post. This year 2020 I sold Huston's daughter and son in law's house. They moved to Florida. We keep in contact and I hope to visit them when they are back in Jan 2021 for a few days. In the meantime... I keep making calls and tracking them... little different method but the same idea... and I am finishing my best year ever... even with a 3 mo break for COVID imposed restraint in my State. Merry Christmas and Happy New year!

Dec 26, 2020 07:04 AM

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