My mom has a neighbor, let’s call her Nancy, who is a rich single elderly woman who likes to invest in real estate…houses, to be exact.
Not long ago, Nancy needed major surgery to save her life from a dangerous heart condition. Without family around to drive her to and from the hospital, she asked my mom to help.
Mom, of course, was glad to do it.
Along the way, Nancy told my mom that she’d recently sold a few of her investment houses, which surprised my mom because as a real estate agent herself, she knew that this was not a wise move.
Turns out, Nancy had met another real estate agent who encouraged her to sell the houses to “reduce the stress of management in light of her upcoming surgery” or something like that.
Nancy trusted the man and sold her houses, but after the surgery was over, she questioned the hasty decision.
Those houses were her retirement nest egg, and the sale not only cost her a bundle in transaction fees, it also made her more vulnerable to inflation and other negative financial forces.
Still uncertain, Nancy asked my mom if she should sell her remaining house and if Mom would help her do it.
Mom refused. She said:
“Nancy, you’re in a vulnerable state right now because of your health. I’ll be happy to sell your house later when you’ve regained your strength and you decide you really want to do it, IF you really want to do it.
“But I WILL NOT help you sell your house now. I don’t think it’s the best thing for you in your circumstances. If you want to sell it, find someone else…and I suggest someone besides that man who got you to sell the houses the first time.”
Mom saw that the real estate agent who had convinced Nancy to sell her first two houses was not looking out for his client’s well-being, and she didn’t think selling houses was the right thing for Nancy, so she tried to discourage Nancy by refusing to get involved.
This is why my mother, who got her real estate license late in life (after working through 4 unrelated careers), and prefers planting tomatoes to marketing, always has people asking to be her clients.
I never hear of my mom going door to door or attending networking events, and yet people always seem to find her.
They know that she will tell them the truth. They know that she will do her best for them. They know that she cares more about them than about making money.
This is one of the most important business (and life) lessons I’ve ever learned, and I’ve been trying to apply it more to my own life.
It’s been particularly top-of-mind because I’ve been learning about serving clients, creating products (courses) and making offers myself, although in a different niche.
As someone who likes to implement what I learn immediately (so I don’t forget), I’ve been thinking about how to implement this lesson from my mom.
The way I see it, the keys to her “success” are:
1) being honest about her abilities and what she offers, and
2) only serving people who are ready and able to benefit.
So when I offer people the chance to get in on different writing opportunities and courses, I keep Mom in mind, and say:
“If that sounds like something you need, you know how to grab it. If not, then I will say to you what Mom said to Nancy:
I WILL NOT help you right now, because it’s not the best thing for you in your circumstances. But when you are ready, I’m here.”
It’s the best way to be an agent — not only of real estate, but of life itself.
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