Location. Location. Location.
Of course we are intimately aware of the three most important words in real estate. Some would argue it’s actually Price. Price. Price. but that’s another story for another time written by someone else, quite frankly.
I only invoke that famous axiom to make my point that when it comes to life (and yes I know real estate is life and business, don’t get all literal on me, just play along) — it is all about this one word.
Meaning an emotional or other connection between people, this word is truly at the heart, soul and foundation of everything, is it not? I will not go down the romantic rabbit hole of the word for that is best saved for others significantly more qualified than myself, but I will absolutely dive headfirst into the professional or working side of the word.
Look, I get it, you may be thinking by now this is just a glorified and verbose way of saying “it’s not what you know but who you know” and we all are equally intimately aware of that maxim as well. Well you can think that and you can stop reading but do so at your own peril because it goes way beyond just knowing the right people.
And the better you understand that the better you will be when it comes to relationships, the establishing, fostering and maintaining thereof.
I am always learning, always wanting to learn from pretty much everyone. I say that because I want to share something I learned from a friend/co-worker Myra Pelowski. A GVP at Oracle, Myra laid out her personal relationship principles earlier this year and I want to share them now:
- State the purpose of why you would like to establish a professional relationship, so it’s clear why it’s important. For example, when I was promoted to GVP at Oracle, I reached out to a key leader at Deloitte within a couple of weeks. I said that the purpose of the call was to re-engage with him in my new role and to discuss how we can drive more business together. It was also important to have a conversation – no slides, no spreadsheets. Just two human beings, talking.
- Spend most of your time actively listening and asking clarifying questions.
- Ask “How can I help you?” This open-ended question leads to great insight about what is top of mind for the other person and shows you genuinely care.
- Offer an “open door” policy. It is vital to always be willing to listen and engage and not just when it’s convenient for you.
I agree with every single point Myra makes. I so love her use of the phrase ” Just two human beings, talking.” It reminds me of something I say to interviewees. In my journalistic career I have interviewed well over 5,000 people. And this is how 99.9% of those interviews have started:
“Before we get started (first name), I just want to let you know my MO (method of operation.) I do not take notes. I do not record the call. This is a completely off-the-record call. This is merely two people engaged in what I call ‘an old school conversation”; no texting, no instant messaging, no email, no Slack. Just two people talking.”
I would go onto tell them I would follow back via email with some questions.
And never, ever — not one single time did I ever once hear anyone tell me they did not love this approach. Every single person, without exception, appreciated the fact that I was only there to talk with them; to engage in a very informal, off-the-record conversation.
Keep in mind among the 5,000+ interviews a huge chunk of those were with very powerful and successful people ranging from business leaders to celebrities and athletes. It should come as no surprise to learn I have very close, solid and trusting relationships with these very same people to this day.
NOTE: The reason 0.1% of my interviews did not go the same way as the other 99.9% was that was my learning curve. I quickly learned the value of just listening; of talking, of engaging.
My Relationship Principles
To build off Myra’s list:
- Always. Be. Checking. In. Know the famous scene in the film Glengarry, Glen Ross when Alec Baldwin, playing the role of a real estate shark, tells the crew to Always Be Closing? Don’t tell me you’ve never seen the movie? Ugh. Ok watch this, well just the first half.
- My relationship principle is Always. Be. Checking. In. Never wait for someone else to reach out to you first. I am constantly checking in with people. Nothing more than a quick “how are you? how’s the family?” etc.
- Doesn’t matter if they respond or not. What matters is that you are taking the time to reach out to them.
- Be personal. If someone shares a personal side of their life with you, no matter how small it may seem, the fact that they shared it with you at all is everything. So when you go to check in, or whenever you engage with someone, be personal, ask them about their daughter’s swim team or their son’s first year in college or their spouse’s new job and on and on. You get the idea.
- Just be you. I get it, the ultimate cliche. But here’s the thing about cliches. They only reach that lofty status because they are said over and over and over and they are only repeated so many times because they are true. Think about it. So when you hear me say just be you, instead of rolling your eyes, think about it; remember it. Then do it.
Ok your turn,
What are your relationship principles?
Please share in the comments. I truly want to know and learn from you.