Good advice is timeless.
Looking through the book, The United Way (also referred to as the Blue Book), written by United’s founder, Roscoe Chamberlain, it is quickly apparent that the real estate business has drastically evolved since the 1920s. However, much of his fundamental advice for real estate professionals continues to be relevant more than 80 years later.
Mr. Chamberlain filled each page of the book with tips for success in the business. Below are excerpts illustrating his timeless advice on the importance of a positive attitude, tips for listings, sales and customer service, and his thoughts on the strength of United’s value proposition. Enjoy!
Excerpts from The United Way:
A Manual of Helpful Suggestions for the United Man
Forward Thinking: Man’s two greatest assets are his allotted time and the ability to think. Many drift through life without a plan or purpose, so slowly that all kinds of things happen to them, and their thoughts are pretty well taken up by things that have happened. This is what we call backward thinking.
Others look ahead, making plans that will bring about the very things they wish to have happen to them. They are so very busy keeping out ahead with these plans that they hardly have time to welcome the victories as they occur. This we call forward thinking. Without it there is no success.
Attitude is a very important factor in our progress and ultimate success.
Any man who starts a jobs saying to himself and all his friends, “It has been done, it is being done, it will continue to be done by others after I am gone – I shall do it now,” will win; whereas the man who says, “It’s a tough job, many others have failed, conditions have changed, people do not cooperate as they did, my territory is different, my prospects are hard to satisfy,” is defeated from the start and will fail unless he changes his attitude.
Every minute you think in the wrong direction, you have wasted two minutes on the road to success. (Page 7)
Listings & Sales
When you assemble a good stock of listings at right prices and terms, you have already accomplished one-half of your selling effort. (Page 8 )
Your success will be determined by your listings. (Page 9)
The time to put his [the seller] price where it belongs, if he wants to sell, is when the listing is being filled in. (Page 15)
Selling is the easiest part of this work – it is no trouble to sell if you have what the buyer wants, and you will have, if you put forth the proper effort on listing. (Page 16)
Luck sells few goods.
Faith, honesty, loyalty to yourself and the company you represent, energy, courtesy, and stick-to-it-iveness make a man a winning salesman. Luck has nothing to do with the successful salesman today. (Page 56)
Our objective is to get the minds of two persons together. A sale is made when one concludes it is best that he sell, and the other concludes it is best that he buy the same piece of property. (Page 61)
Service precedes patronage. Our customers come to us in confidence. They expect and are entitled to receive dependable service. (Page 28)
The smart merchant is considerably ahead of each season in his thoughts and plans. (Page 33)
Never forget a prospect.
People are human. Humans are vain…and vanity likes to be remembered. (Page 46)
If it is anywhere near eating time, see that your customer gets a good meal before you start out to inspect properties. If it is a cold and rainy day, and he is not warmly dressed, lend him a good, thick coat, cap, mittens and a pair of overshoes or heavy boots, so that when he walks through the wet fields, yards or hills, he will still be dry and warm. If he gets his feet wet, he will be thinking more of the unfavorable side of things than of the good bargain you have just shown him. You cannot sell a property to a man who is cold, wet and hungry.
United Country’s Value Proposition
How is it that United has always made steady progress?
“If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he built his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.”
It has been our greatest ambition to build United right and better than any similar organization. We are happy today to see evidence that we have around us many men who believe, as we do, that “it can be done.” (Page 6)
Our advertising draws prospects from fifty states and foreign countries. We once had a buyer who came direct from Europe. He told our representative that he worried all the way over for fear someone would get ahead of him on a certain farm he had selected from our catalog.
He passed right through St. Louis, where a sister was living whom he had not seen for eight years, and hurried on to the office showing the farm he thought he wanted. On inspection, he said the farm was as described and worth the money, but turned from it and bought another at more than twice the price of the one he had traveled halfway around the world to see.
Our advertising is our show window.
We cannot carry our goods around with us. We cannot take them to our neighbor’s home for demonstration or free trial. We must, therefore, display our goods through a written description and the word picture we paint must be sufficiently attractive to cause prospects who read it sitting in their homes far and near, to take action and start on a trip of inspection. (Page 26)
Ever since the first property was listed and the first ad placed, we have been talking about building a safe foundation for United Farm Agency. We are just as eager to stress that subject today as we were the first week of our history. Our conviction that the fundamental policies which one’s business rests upon are all-important seems to grow stronger each day, and we never worry about what’s above and beyond, as long as we know that the foundation is right. (Page 103)
No man by his efforts alone gets very far,
but when you have the combined efforts of a group of loyal men [and women] who hold strictly to the policy of square dealing with everybody with whom they come in contact, you have something real which cannot be stopped from making steady growth each year, building stronger and stronger the necessary good-will and the constantly increasing profitable returns. (Page 102)
Have you received any real estate advice that has passed the test of time? What do you think about these words from United’s founder?