Tag: silence


communication photo

Seek first to understand. The dictionary defines communication as “the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings”. I think the key word is ‘successful’.

Have you ever traveled to someplace you didn’t know the language? Communication is hard and the tendency is to talk louder so the people around you can understand you better. It doesn’t help. Louder does not work.

I’ve traveled to places where they spoke Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, French, Flemish, Swiss German (it’s different), Australian (it’s different too) and I can tell you it was a challenge to be understood. Even if I said the right words I generated laughter as the meaning was not apparent to me.

I was working in Mexico and studying hard to learn Spanish. My friend Pepe came by and said “Que pasa!?”. I was working on an assembly line where we painted cars and at that point we were only getting a few cars a day. Maybe 10 or so.

I responded “Estoy esperando” and Pepe burst out laughing. Now I thought I said “I’m waiting” and after he quit laughing he explained to me I had to say what I was waiting for. I should have said “Estoy esperando para coches” or “I am waiting for cars”. He told me what I had said the first time was correct the correct words for “I’m waiting” but in that dialect it meant I was pregnant.

During that trip my Spanish got better and at the end I was able to understand most of what was said around me. I still had trouble speaking but I captured the thoughts my friends and co-workers has to share most of the time. It took a long  time to get to that point.

And the point I’m making here is not about a different language but simply to say it can take a lot of time to understand what someone means, not just what they say.

Listening is a difficult thing to do when you’re anxious to share what you have to say but not sharing your thoughts until the other person is ready to listen can be a big step in the direction of communication. I’m practicing this and sometimes I forget what I was going to say because I was listening to them instead and I count that as a success.

If my thought was critical I find it comes back to me and we can add to the conversation but sometimes it’s just better to listen some more. Most people are anxious to share their thoughts and someone who really listens to them is so rare they truly appreciate the effort and time you give them.

Sometimes all I really need to add to the conversation is a sincere “Thank you” and a smile. Put down the bull horn and listen closely. You might be surprised how much you learn in the process.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578 Direct

PS: For more info now and to make sure you don’t miss anything in the future, sign up below for the free eBook I wrote. We’ll show you how to work by referral from day one. No cold calling. Ever and we’ll never spam you or sell your info. It’s just so we can stay in touch. You can unsubscribe anytime.

Engineer to Real Estate Agent – How does that happen?

That is a really great question. The answer to that is part of the story about why I have always worked by referral. It’s a bit long but the story is a good one.

It was a Sunday in March 2003. The sun was shining and I was chomping at the bit to get on the Harley I rented and go for a ride. I was in Shreveport, LA and my friend Steve was supposed to meet me at the hotel. We planned to put on about 500 miles on our bikes before dark. He was at the GM plant (they make pickup trucks there) and gotten hung up with some problems.

I was waiting.

When I’m waiting on something I will usually have a cup of coffee in my hand so I walked across the parking lot to the motel office where the coffee pot lived. As I was getting my coffee I got this really odd feeling and then I get an odd thought that said ‘get two cups’. Now I won’t say it was an audible thought like anyone else could hear it but it felt odd and it seemed to come from outside my own head. It’s hard to explain. I said it was odd but let’s keep going.

I looked around and there was no one else in the room. I shook it off and got one cup which I immediately carried out the front door and at that moment it got even stranger.

There was a woman standing across the parking lot who saw me and hollered “if I had known you were getting coffee, I’d have asked you to get me one”.

Queue the Twilight Zone Theme.

rod serling photo

Photo by meltwater

I walked over to her and gave her the coffee I had and we chatted for a minute but all the time we talked I was thinking ‘I just missed something important’. Had I gotten two cups as I was ‘told’ I might have had a different conversation.

I went back in and got my own coffee and listened for that ‘voice’ again but all I got was silence. About that time Steve rolled up and we took off for the day. It was a glorious ride and I thought that was the end of it but I was wrong.

My work was finished on Monday night at that GM plant and my customer asked me to hang out that night just to be sure everything was working right. I agreed and on Tuesday morning I loaded my stuff in the truck and headed home to Atlanta. It’s a 10 hour drive.

I need to fill in a few details here for this to make sense. I am a believer. Spiritually speaking, I mean. I believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I believe God sometimes speaks to us through the Spirit and we can be influenced by what we ‘hear’. This will make sense in a minute.

I worked in the automotive industry for 25 years and loved the work but hated the travel. It paid well and that sometimes made me feel trapped into something I liked but hated at the same time. I frequently asked God in moments of feeling trapped “what else can I do” to earn a living. I was having one of those moments on that 10 hour drive home.

Susan (my wife) will tell you I frequently spend much of a road trip in complete silence. No radio, no music, nothing but the sound of the road and my own voice in my head. I love it and find it helpful to spend time in silence like that. I guess it’s why I like motorcycles so much. It helps me think.

So about 4 hours into the drive home I was having that same old ‘conversation’ with God about ‘what else can I do’? and I got that odd feeling again and that ‘thought’ from outside my head. Now I won’t say it was an audible thought like anyone else could hear it but it felt just like that one of ‘get two cups’ and it said “Did you ever think about real estate?”.

My first response was “No, are you kidding?” but then I remember the feeling that I had missed something. I missed a blessing with that woman in the parking lot and after about another hour of driving I decided I would not miss another one.  I was at the MLS office on Wednesday morning getting the pre-license course to get my real estate license and by July of 2003 I was part of Keller Williams Realty.

In some more ‘conversations’ I had with God over the course of getting my license I was convinced I needed to build my business on relationships. Working by referral was a natural path when you want to build a business that way but it was more than that. I really felt I was called to do business differently and not to rely on the brute force methods of cold calling and door knocking. Looking back I believe it was part of the plan to teach me how to do this without cold calling so I could teach it to others.

To be able to say I have NEVER made a cold call or called an expired listing is true and powerful. Powerful in the way it gives credibility to the idea of working by referral from day one. It can be done and I love teaching that.

So that’s how I got from engineer to real estate agent. It was an option presented to me by God and He did it in a way that made it really clear. I didn’t have to do it but I am really glad I did. There are so many blessings wrapped up in my life since 2003 and I am thrilled I get to share it with new agents and agents who struggle to stay in business.

If you want to know more about how all this works I would love to meet up or talk on the phone. Give me a call and we’ll chat.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson
678-616-1578 Direct