5 Reasons to be PROACTIVE rather than REACTIVE

Services for Real Estate Pros with John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc.


I am writing this because I have been very reactive in the last few years.  Now that I think of it, I have known myself to be an introvert rather than the opposite.  I think I noticed this in high school.  I was never a 'people person'.  I was in the shadows just doing my thing.  That is why I thought I could sit in an ivory tower and design wonders for the world without getting too 'involved'.  I became an architect.  If you build it, they would come -- I was convinced.  And I thought that everything was going to work out in the digital world because I followed the prescribed methods... I was hidden from sight and my work spoke for itself.  Ah, the misunderstandings of youth...

From day 1 in business, I knew that, according to the conventional thinking of the day, one should go out and join local business clubs and organizations and meet people, stay active, be seen, etc.  I hated the word 'network'.  I wanted to do it my way.  Inconspicuously if possible!

It worked for a few years!  It worked very well, in fact.  Everything was coming through my web site.  In slow periods I did not get out to 'meet and greet'.  Instead, I started three manuscripts on Architecture that have since languished in the dust bins of my computer memory...


Here is what I've found out in the meanwhile, after years of frustration and trying to get back on track after my web was hacked and Google red-flagged me for 5 years before I had the slightest notion of what had happened...


1.  You cannot set and forget.  This covers a lot of ground.  Just because you got your stationery, web, and initial business bling set up, do not think that this is sufficient to make an ongoing business profitable.  You must do more.

2.  The Digital World is oversaturated.  If you are chasing the latest fad or SM craze, understand this: everyone out there is trying to run the exact same methods and procedures to get ahead.  All knowledge, tricks, hacks, etc. are online for everyone to apply.  Sum game: no change at all or very little.  You have simply joined the status of millions online who are all trying to do the same thing.  You cannot follow the latest hacks, fold your hands, and expect consistent and long-lasting positive results.

3.  The new generation is handicapped.  Because of the overwhelming use of digital communication, computing and SM, an entire generation has no idea that a real world of business and humanity exists outside of their smartphones.  By being finger dexterous exclusively, you have lost all the social skills that are most important in life in general and business in particular.  You have to escape this imaginary world where all things are bright and beautiful and get your hands dirty.

4.  The greatest accomplishments of the human race occurred before the internet.  What is happening now is a dumbing down and weakening of the minds and a real potential threat to peace on earth.  If you think that the iPad is the greatest thing since iMac or Windows 10, or iPhone 11 is going to solve all your problems, you are sadly mistaken.  The most amazing feats of humanity have already occurred.  Most without computers.  Definitely minus SM.  The pyramids, penicillin, the automobile, the telephone, airplanes, the typewriter, television, Shakespeare, Einstein's Theory of Relativity, the cotton gin, news type, plastics, heart transplants, concrete, skyscrapers, etc.  IBM was established without Google or Microsoft -- so was General Foods, General Motors, NASA, and Jeopardy.  So you think you will conquer all within the digital world?  Think again.  And read what amazing things happened before 1900.  You cannot make it in your digital world exclusively.

5.  You must followup on everything.  If you send out an email blast, postcards and other literature, guess what: people are busy and they just might keep that card or open that email.  They might contact you.  Do not assume that by blanketing your area with print ads or cards that you will get rich and famous.  Sometimes it works, especially if your name is widely regarded.  If you are new, there is a slim chance you will be contacted.  Even widely known brands need a hefty amount of advertising to be purchased or used over and over again.  You cannot stop.  You cannot wait. You must be proactive.


You must personally contact those whom you wish to engage in a business transaction for the most successful outcome


While there is a hit or miss with email, print ads, SM, etc. -- being in the people business means that you have to contact people in person. Constantly. This, of course, does not hold entirely true for products but is very important for service businesses.

I recall that making cold calls at the start of my career was something I dreaded with cold sweat and trepidation.  But I realized that this was the quickest and most effective way to get in touch with a real person who could make a real decision, a timely one.  After two or three calls I made a connection, just one, that kept me busy for three full years.  Did I continue the cold calling.  No, and that was a big mistake.  Because if you want to grow and maintain a base, you must continue to reach out.


In the past 6 - 8 months I have sent a few thousand emails out to prospective clients.  Only a very few have been opened or have had any 'billable' response.  And this is after research shows that email is more effective than most other digital methods.  I think that email -- like print ads, or some forms of SM -- is a way to keep your name in people's minds.  It is important to do that over and over again.  Once more: you cannot set and forget.  

Seeing that my email campaign was not effective, I considered cold calling again.  (I have not cold-called in over 35 years.  I joined the digital world with a very effective web site which, when properly adjusted, yielded great results.  I have designed houses in Florida and ten other states, in China, the Middle East, and Europe)  I was out of touch with local businesses here in Orlando who could benefit from my services.

I girded my loins and decided to do the unthinkable: simply walking up to a prospective client's office, knocking and asking to meet with the principal.  Amazingly, this worked.  No appointment, no call ahead of time.  You will not get someone at their office every time, but those that you will may allow you a five to ten-minute presentation and discussion.  If not there you should be ready not only with your brochure and card, but a written message that you can leave that will entice that person to call on you.  Being familiar in your area is helpful but not necessary.  There is an art to door knocking and it is chiefly the fear of doing it that will hold you back.

In the meanwhile, I still have issues with the SEs and my webs that I hope to overcome.  
I did learn this, and almost too late: one cannot be mesmerized by technology and believe it will solve all your problems and you simply have to log on, check messages, and somehow expect to make business connections magically via digital means.  The most effective way to get work of any kind is to meet person to person and look eye to eye.  You are totally real only at that moment.  And you will be remembered better than an ad, a card, brochure, or web.  Of course, I am preaching to the choir here!




Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Barbara Todaro 09/22/2019 10:11 AM
  2. Ginger Harper 09/23/2019 08:04 AM
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being proactive rather than reactive

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Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

You made some great points, thanks for sharing! I like this the best though!

If you are chasing the latest fad or SM craze, understand this: everyone out there is trying to run the exact same methods and procedures to get ahead.  All knowledge, tricks, hacks, etc. are online for everyone to apply. 

Sep 23, 2019 03:54 AM #12
Bob Jakowinicz
National Realty Centers Livonia--Bob Jakowinicz - Livonia, MI
Michigan Real Estate Agent-- MI RE Adventures

Sometimes we are so on track doing just the right things as you have mentioned.  Next thing you know a few years have passed and we can have taken a different path and find we need to just get back to the basics. 

Sep 23, 2019 06:43 AM #13
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi John Henry,

You have made some keen observations over the years and your 5 points are well thought out. Most of my clients and client base are all pre-internet or social media so I get it. I realized a long time ago from cold calling that my best asset was person to person communication.  When you see someone in person it is much easier to read them and build relationships. They, in turn, can read you as well and that is where trust is developed.  

Sep 23, 2019 06:43 AM #14
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Congratulations on the feature, a very well written post with excellent advice. I have always hated phone calling people because I like to meet people face to face, but I also know that much of the time I have to make some calls at least to set up those meetings. This post is a good kick in the pants to remind us all of what is necessary to have a profitable and on going business. Well done.

Sep 23, 2019 06:51 AM #15
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Whatever we do now is the time to do it. You only get so many entries into life

Sep 23, 2019 07:07 AM #16
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!


This is a good one. Thanks for sharing..

Sep 23, 2019 08:03 AM #17
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Such great advice here John Henry ... our marketing and business building efforts must take many different shapes and be executed in many different ways.  And most importantly, it all must be performed consistently.  People will gain tremendously by following your advice ...

Congrats on the Feature!


Sep 23, 2019 08:40 AM #18
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Excellent advice. There are a lot of actions we have to take to be seen, known and remembered. Some can be uncomfortable (like door knocking) but if we want to be busy, we've got to connect with people.

Sep 23, 2019 01:06 PM #19
Anna Banana Kruchten - Phoenix Homes Sales
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ

Hi John Henry you are one smart pup! Took you awhile to figure out the person to person piece but once you got it, you had it. Excellent, excellent advice of which I'd recommend to anyone in any business.  The younger set just don't get the importance of building long and trusting relationships - but I do think they will at some point when hanging on SM or texting just doesn't get them that far. I was fortunate to have an great mentor very early on that literally made me 'get out there' Most now would find it hard to believe I was shy in many situations. I got over it, much like you!

Sep 23, 2019 02:36 PM #20
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Alot of great advice here.  We have so many tools at our disposal today.  Time to time I need to just go back to the basics of what has always worked and fine tune with some technology.

Congratulations on being Fesatured.  Well deserved.  Thank YOU!

Sep 23, 2019 06:21 PM #21
Anne Edwards Johnson
JP and Associates - Austin, TX
Austin Realtor | HookemhomesATX (512)917-5260

John Henry how many times can I "love" this post?  Your initial experience mirrors mine.  What an inspiration.

Sep 23, 2019 06:50 PM #22
Greg Mona
Faira Homes Corp - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate in the 21st Century!

Very well done, John Henry! So many wonderful nuggets in here to put into practice if one hasn't already. And even though I've been on the other side of the fence for almost a year now with a predominately technology-based brokerage, and believe me, the desire of most folks is still that one on one connection with a real human being. I don't see that ever going away. Diminished? Yes, probably, but it will still be the exception instead of the rule in my humble opinion. And this is true in not just Real Estate, either!  

Sep 23, 2019 07:40 PM #23
Dena Stevens Coriz
Rocky Mountain Realty - Canon City, CO
Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004

I've been doing this since 2004. GREAT reminders of common senses!

Sep 24, 2019 05:19 AM #24
Sandra Early
World Impact Real Estate - Destin, FL
Sandra Sells Castles In Paradise

Great post and how I can relate! Thanks so much for sharing! I have known myself to be an introvert rather than the opposite.  I think I noticed this in high school.  I was never a 'people person'.  I was in the shadows just doing my thing. 

Sep 24, 2019 05:41 AM #25
Ricki Eichler McCallum
CastNet Realty - Corpus Christi, TX
Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS

Hi John,  This is a very good blog post!  It contains real answers and many should learn from it.  There is nothing like real contact to improve business.

Sep 24, 2019 05:52 AM #26
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

As a fellow introvert, I can relate.    Business was so easy for me to find back in 2005 when I mastered some internet tools that no one else could be troubled to deal with.     I really enjoyed your post.

Sep 24, 2019 07:58 AM #27
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Very informative! Kudos to you for 'getting out there' again. Really, nothing to lose and I also think if you are pro active and CONFIDENT, you will get results!

Sep 24, 2019 01:39 PM #28
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Congrats on another well deserved feature for telling it like it is.

Sep 24, 2019 10:12 PM #29
Krystin Mitchell, CPA CFE
KLSM CPA Firm, PLLC - Houston, TX
Accounting, Tax Preparation & Resolution, Tax Lien

Hi John,

This post was very informational! Thanks for sharing these great tips and advice. 

Sep 28, 2019 08:47 AM #30
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Hi John: I am finding that the ways I used to do business are some of the best ways to generate new buisness for me--Just as you suggested, nothing beats the face to face meetings you can have just by being visible. It does not matter if it is a post card in the mail, a great print ad that catches the eye of a potential customer or client, or a good old fashioned meet up with strangers at an art show or a museum. It is more important than ever before to be physically present for the public to see you and talk to you. As you are, I am afraid that we are losing that aspect of marketing simply because we have bought in to the idea that the Internet is king! Content WAS king; it has become just so much garbage now with the search engines algorithms all set up to attract the public only to those sites who pay BIG bucks to appear on page 1. It is a sad commentary on a potentially great service for the average guy--If you wrote interesting, original and compelling content, you coul dbe sure of attracting the right crowds. Not any more! Thanks for your insight and your hard work too!

Sep 28, 2019 09:10 AM #31
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