When I first started here on ActiveRain last August, I was hoping to become well-known enough to garner referrals from agents and brokers in other markets around the state and across the country. What I never bargained on was the chance that I could get referrals from other brokers right here in Austin.
That changed for me recently.
Back in early August, I met Russell Lewis in person for the first time. He called me to ask if I would have 15 minutes to spend with him at my office to answer some questions he had about ActiveRain. Two or three HOURS later, he and I wrapped up our meeting having become fast friends.
I will readily admit that until 2007 I considered other agents to be “the competition” here in Austin for the most part. That, too, has changed, since I have made some terrific friends from my involvement at AR, including a good number of Austin real estate professionals who attended the gathering/birthday party that I hosted.
This week, I had something happen that has never occurred in my 12-year real estate career. Russell sent me a very good-sized referral for an investor client that he is unable to work with. When I say “good-sized”, this has the potential to be a seven-figure sale. Russell absolutely has to travel out of town for some family stuff, and he trusted me enough to place this referral with me. This is a huge compliment, and I am still glowing, frankly. Additionally, Russell was kind enough to charge only 20% as a referral fee, which is the “in-house” rate at his company, Avenue One Properties.
I am not positive, but I feel like it was my willingness to share openly with Russell that led to a trusting friendship, along with the fact that he and I share a wicked sense of humor and similar music tastes. I think Russell is still surprised that I love the Beatles!
Russell is someone that will likely be a good friend for years to come, and with good reason. If you haven’t made it over to his blog, you owe it to yourself to check it out. He is a great guy, and he takes his blogging seriously. Well, maybe that’s the wrong way to put it. I don’t think Russell takes ANYTHING too seriously. I would encourage you to subscribe to his blog – he usually has something interesting to say. If you decide to call him, or meet him in person, you should be on your toes, though. He is quick! He told me that he was impressed that I managed to get a word in edgewise when we first spoke.
So, what are the important lessons from this post?
- Be open to developing friendships with your “competitors”. They might even send you a big deal sometime.
- Host giant parties/BBQ’s whenever possible. Money is no object.
- Get to know Russell Lewis. You’ll be glad you did.
- Send me your referrals. Sorry – I couldn’t help myself there.
I hope that this post will help someone else to understand the true power of this network. I was familiar with Russell’s company and I had even heard his name before August, but this place brought me a new friend. I can hardly wait to enjoy another lunch with my bud – heck, I’ll even pay next time. 😉
But sincerely, I thank you for your trust and for your friendship, Russell. You are a good man. See you in Houston next week for RE Barcamp!
P.S. Thanks to my friend Liz Carter for the great photo of me and Russell above!