Lilian Jorgenson: Life Growing Up in Denmark and Building a Career You Love
About This Episode
Go With John as he chats with Lilian Jorgenson. Born in Denmark, Lilian is the top producing agent for Long & Foster in the Northern Virginia area. Lilian shares her story growing up during World War II and insight on what it takes to be a top Realtor.
[00:00:04] Hey, welcome to another episode of the Go with John show, and today we are sitting down with my mother, Lilian Jorgenson. Interestingly enough, we just wrapped up the recording and Lilian came in and sat down and launched right into her story before we had the mics on. And it was so compelling I didn’t want to interrupt her. But she started talking about the German soldiers in her mom and dad’s grocery store back at the end of World War II. So here’s Lilian.
[00:00:38] So but pretty much your whole life, they were there.
[00:00:41] I mean, they were just not my whole life for the first five years. But you don’t remember.
[00:00:46] You have no memory without the German’s.
[00:00:51] That’s right. No.
[00:00:52] Yeah, but I do remember in the store when they came, the Germans came in the shop and just demanded things that they wanted to to get right, you know, because my father had the grocery store. Right. And they would just come in and said, well, I want this and this and this and take it and not pay for it.
[00:01:13] And you didn’t have a choice. That’s what they did. Yeah. Which was pretty awful.
[00:01:19] They did a lot of awful things.
[00:01:22] They picked the prettiest buildings in town and just evacuated everybody out and then Gestapo took over those buildings and you know, for five years during the occupancy.
[00:01:38] So you were born in February. Yeah. And they came in in April. So you had the first two months of your life.
[00:01:47] Yeah. Peaceful. That’s right. Yeah.
[00:01:50] And of course, when the war was over, they, the Germans had to walk back home to Germany because they didn’t have transportation. Right. And not enough trains and cars and busses. And so they walked and it was just maybe, you know, couple of hundred kilometers and they had to walk right through my father’s store because. Yeah, right past the store because we were right in town. And that’s where I was hanging out at the light post, watching everybody walking back.
[00:02:21] And one of the soldiers sort of picked me up and was going to take me with him. And of course, I resisted.
[00:02:27] And yeah, I ran back. Yeah, I remember that was five years old. I was five.
[00:02:32] And so how old was your first memory of the war being over? Do you remember hearing that it was over or did they just up and march out?
[00:02:41] No, because the war was over from my 5th of May and of course because everybody celebrated. I mean, it was everybody out in the streets and everybody cheering and you now could go out and just celebrating like they do everywhere. And news on the radio.
[00:03:01] So Fifth of May and then do you remember the date that they marched out?
[00:03:07] No, but officially the war was over.
[00:03:11] So was it. A couple of days later, a couple of weeks later.
[00:03:14] Might have been even during the time they were trying to get back home before officially declared.
[00:03:22] So so how did your so how did your parents manage the store then after. Because you really don’t know what it was like before.
[00:03:30] No. Obviously we managed the store. It was just business went on as usual, but of course everybody was freer to do business and the rationing of coffee and sugar and butter and, and some wines all started getting lifted because there was more free movement of merchandise after the war was over. But during the war, you couldn’t get any anything. Hardly you had to buy. You had to have stamps, you know, like food stamps. And you have so many stamps you were given per month that you could use. So if you use them up on your coffee on the first week, you would have no coffee for the rest of the month.
[00:04:12] So you had to have the stamp, had to hand money, money and stamps. Of course it was rationed. You couldn’t get any more than just exactly.
[00:04:22] That’s amazing.
[00:04:23] It is amazing. And then of course you remember in Europe or in Denmark we start school at age six.
[00:04:30] I was six and a half. Yeah. First grade. Yeah. No kindergarten. You know this is so long ago.
[00:04:37] Yeah. So it was amazing. Yeah. Yeah yeah.
[00:04:42] So after, so after the Germans leave and you’re running the store there. So at some point your you ran, what did you do in the store. Tell us about how you operated in that store when you went to school.
[00:04:56] Well we went to school so my brother Kai and my self. We’re always as a family, we did everything as a family as soon as we could be of any help running up and down stairs, we lived on the second floor. The store was on the ground level. We were doing things. We were wrapping things. We were well, everything from sugar and flour was weighed into bags of one pound and two pounds to make it quicker to serve. So it came in. It came in bulk. Yeah. And so we did a lot of that. What was my favorite was putting all the candy into bags because candies came in a 50 pound tin. And then it had to be scooped into bags of 100 gram and we had that on the counter.
[00:05:46] So why was that your favorite?
[00:05:47] Well, because I get to eat the candy stuffing the bags but we were doing everything. And on my bicycle when I was just seven, eight, nine years old, I was delivering groceries on my bicycle to the nearest people around the store. Back then, people could call in and say, I’d like to have a half a pound of coffee or a half a pound of butter and and a box of biscuits or something like that delivered and OK, it would get delivered. Either I would deliver it or I would deliver it or my father would deliver it. Or we had also someone that would come every afternoon to make deliveries. Sometimes they wanted it at five thirty and the only one to do it was me. So get on your bike and get it out there.
[00:06:38] But when I was running the store with the help of the to helpers, we had in the store, I was I think I was about 12, 13, something like that. And that was the first vacation my mom and dad had away together. For a week.
[00:06:58] Well, they actually had you run the store one day when you were ten years old.
[00:07:02] Yeah, well, one day, yeah, one day.
[00:07:04] So you were. So tell us about that.
[00:07:06] Well, that’s nothing more than you open up the store at seven o’clock and you count the money, you get it in the cash register and you were there and people come in to buy and you serve them whatever they want you take care of it. And then you work all day and at six o’clock you close the store, you count the money.
[00:07:23] Take some candy.
[00:07:24] And that was it.
[00:07:27] That’s pretty amazing, though, because you look at you look at our your grandkids, my kids, and you can’t hardly get them to do their own laundry, much less pick it up off the floor.
[00:07:40] Well, that when you think about it, I guess that was pretty much amazing that we lived such a well what can I say. A life that was. In order or you just do things, I mean, you got up in the morning, you went to school, you come home from school, you do your homework after that, you work in the shop or you clean or you, you know, do all kinds of things. And then dinner was all together. And after dinner you do the dishes and homework was in the afternoon, too, and then you would do other things. So it was just very regimented, I guess. But that’s all you know. Because it was work. When you’re self-employed, you know, you’re in charge and responsible for everything. And we were just delegated to do all kinds of things, whatever it was. From changing all the displays in the windows. So all the canned foods and everything that was in the window for display had to come out again back on the shelves. New things have to be put in the windows. We had three windows to decorate, quote unquote, display. Right. And they got changed usually once a month.
[00:08:48] Yeah, it’s not too bad.
[00:08:50] No. Well, it was just another job. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:08:53] So. So your dad was a runner?
[00:08:57] My dad was an athlete, yes.
[00:09:00] And where was he born.
[00:09:03] Yeah. Yeah. So my dad was a runner, he was an athlete and he was actually he was an apprentice in the store that he took over. And I don’t know anything about the previous owner or anything like that. I don’t recollect any information because when I came along, he owned the store. Right. So he was yeah. He was an athlete and he was a runner. And many of his running records were standing actually for years. They weren’t beaten by anyone. And all the newspaper clippings and all the premiums, what do they call all the times, the spoon’s trophy that we have from all his winnings. Yeah. So he was mostly a sprinter, right? I mean, you know, it was a thousand meter. 1500 meter was his specialty.
[00:10:08] Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Harry Lunde. Harry Lunde. Yeah. Yeah. We talk about Harry Lunde often in our family.
[00:10:14] That’s right. We have all his all his trophies.
[00:10:16] That’s right. Yeah. And and just and what is really amazing, he wanted to go to the Olympic Games as a spectator. And when we today think back about what he did to get there, it was every four years and he went to the one in Helsinki and he went to the one in Rome and he was in Rome he actually got sick in 1960. And yeah, I think so, yeah, and Helsinki was said nineteen forty eight, I can’t remember, but anyway, so in order to make extra money to be able to travel as a spectator to these Olympic Games, to another country, which basically is what you were doing, he would get up at four o’clock in the morning and he would deliver newspapers to all the farmers in the we call it in the Upland in the in the surrounding suburbs of our town. So he would drive, you know, and you would deliver bunches of papers. You would take them to Distribution’s places, I guess. But that’s what he did in the morning at four o’clock.
[00:11:40] And what did he do with the money? And then he. Well, and he saved the money from where did he put it all?
[00:11:45] Well, we we put it away. It was money and it was kept in different places.
[00:11:50] But our favorite place was to keep him in the metal cans of the candy, because if anybody would break in or whatever, nobody would think to look among these 50 different tall cans of bulk candy that one of them was filled with money.
[00:12:10] Yeah, it’s amazing.
[00:12:14] Yeah. And for past time when we had company and they were playing cards with their friends and sometimes you don’t know what to do. Our favorite was to get a can of all these change and count the money. Yeah, that was really fun.
[00:12:30] That was a simpler way to this day. I just like to have money. Yeah. I just know where it is to feel the coins. The coins.
[00:12:41] So and then where did he meet your mom. Do you know that story?
[00:12:46] Oh, my God, you know I don’t. I don’t even know where they met. No, I don’t. Maybe Kai knows.
[00:12:54] Yeah, well, we have to ask.
[00:12:57] I don’t know.
[00:13:00] See I thought you would know that story.
[00:13:01] Was a dead end. Yeah. No, I don’t know where they met. We never talked about that.
[00:13:07] Well you guys were busy with World War Two and you had some things on your plate.
[00:13:12] Yeah. And remember then I left home at 16 and a half
[00:13:15] And then. So let’s talk about that.
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[00:13:56] My parents had really good friends that live down in Signable, which is a town very close to the German border in Denmark, and they owned a photo photographic shop. And they were really good friends with the owners of the big new factory who makes thermostat’s.
[00:14:21] So who are were your parents friends?
[00:14:22] The photographers, Yeah, they were friends with the owners of the factory and they told my mom that they knew that that family was looking for someone to help in the guest villa. Because they didn’t want to have any entertaining going on in their private home because they had five children and it was their private home. But they had guests coming from all over the world all the time. And so they had a guest villa and it was manned by a lady running the house. And then. So a housekeeper and they needed somebody to help, and so we decided that that would be an amazing opportunity for me to try working pretty much as an au pair, if you will and having the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. And it was an amazing, amazing time, but very difficult when you think back. So we had this big house and between the two of us, we had to clean it and do everything that goes along with it was like a hotel, actually, a little hotel. There were four bedrooms. So we could have four overnight guests, but we only usually had one or two. But every day we had lunch and dinner. And so it would be the owner of the factory and the representatives that came from the department and came from from countries everywhere in the world. I had a really good chance to polish up my English, which, of course. And in Denmark, when you graduate from high school, you have five years of English, four years of German, two years of Latin and two years of French. So you take the English language a notch up when you have an opportunity to use it. And it was there. I learned to do everything that has served me for actually the rest of my life in many different situations. For instance, at 11 o’clock, we would get a call that we would have eight people for lunch and one. That gives you two hours to call the shops, to deliver the food, to prepare the food and to set the table and be ready. And that was not a lot of time, not a lot of time. And so the orders would come right away and we would have the whole Danish smorgasbord on the table with five or six different courses, including cold cuts and one hot dish as well. I learned to serve correctly and in the manner that a trained servant or waiter or waitress learned back in those days being more formal. And when everything was done, of course, everything got back to the kitchen and then they came for the cleanup’s. Not only do we wash the dishes in brown salt water, then we rinse the dishes in warm vinegar water, and then we polish the dishes and polish the glasses every day. The silverware had to be polished if it was tarnished. So it kept me working until about three o’clock every day. So then I had time off for an hour or two, but by four thirty we would know if we were going to have to dinner guests or five dinner guests or 10 dinner guests and the whole thing started all over again. And I was working until 10, 11 o’clock in the evening because they would have coffee and cigars and dessert in the living room, just like a normal home. And it was my responsibility to be taking care of all of that. And it was the lady’s responsibility to be behind the scenes and make sure everything was running right. Well, after six months, this was really too much for me. And they got someone else to help. And we were two of us doing the job that I had been doing. But when we talk about having chicken for dinner, we would get the whole chicken right. And we would have to pluck it. Yeah. If we were having fish for dinner, we would get the whole fish and you had to scale it and trim it and and fix it to serve. Like you go to the grocery store today and pick up everything ready to go that night it was really amazing. You know what? It was a good lesson.
[00:19:00] So so that was when you were 16?
[00:19:03] That’s when I was 16. So I was there until. Oh, and by the way, when you ironed the pillowcases, they were wet because they had to be absolutely perfect. So they were wet and they had starch in them and you had to keep ironing them until they were dry and stiff and perfect. Yeah, but that’s a good lesson to know, right? It can serve you right. Any place you never know. So yes, I was there and for year and a half and then I came back to my parents in the store and then of course my father had what they call representative, visiting every month from different companies to place orders on merchandise that he was selling in the store and one of the big sellers were all the canned foods by Plumrose. And the representative had known me for years and years and watched me grow up and and was asked. My father, what is Lilian doing now? And he says, well, she’s back home, you know, after working at the den for us and we’re going to see where she wants to go next.
[00:20:14] And then he said, I know that there’s an opening in London for one of the stores to run the Plumrose account in Selfridges and Harrods. And she would be perfect for the job. And that sounded good to me. So we called up and I had an interview with Plumrose in Copenhagen. The big city.
[00:20:36] Yeah, the big city. And so what was that like? Was that your first time going to Copenhagen?
[00:20:43] No, I had been there just a couple of times before, but it was still the very first time. And I got the job and I had to train. And I was living in a kind of like Punshon, you know, it was my first. Introduction to living and eating in a common area was very different, but it was just for a couple of weeks, right?
[00:21:04] And then I took off to London and was running my own little stand in Selfridges. And I doubled the business there the year I was there because I wanted to do things my way and they let me. And so it was a really good experience.
[00:21:24] And it was, of course, during that time that I met Allan. Yes. My future husband. That’s right.
[00:21:30] And so he would come over to he came to visit one day and at the store. At the store, he came to go shopping right at the store and saw me. Right.
[00:21:43] And came over to visit and we talked. And so he he was trying to get a date with me.
[00:21:52] Now, you talk to your mom about this, right?
[00:21:54] Yeah, well, yeah. And my mother said, well, you can trust. Well, I found out he while he was a man, you can’t trust American military because I found that out that he was a military man. And that’s what your mom said. That’s what my mom said. So anyway, I didn’t go out with him, but I said, you know, I’m here every day so you can come visit me every day for like. And he was just a few blocks away. So he so he came the next day and that was nice on his lunch hour. And so he did come to visit. And then one day he didn’t come and I said, yeah, my mother was right. They don’t get their way then, you know, it’s the highway.
[00:22:34] So three weeks later, he showed up with all kinds of little presents for my bracelet. He had noticed I had a charm bracelet. So he had a charm from Turkey and from Spain and from Italy. And he told me he was sent off, you know, and he didn’t know how to get hold of me. And we have to remember, back in nineteen sixty, there were no telephones and no communication, really. And he couldn’t get hold of me. Huh. So and I don’t remember where that was in our time line, but he and so I said oh that was nice. And so he still came to visit and one day it was the 19th of September and he came again and wanted to invite me out for dinner because tomorrow was his birthday. And I said, I don’t believe it’s your birthday. So he had to pull up his I.D. card and it was his birthday. So I said, OK, but I’m going to bring my friend who has the job in Horrods, OK, then he was going to bring his friends. So we had our first meeting as, of course, a double date. Double date. Yeah, yeah. 20TH September 20th of September 1960. Wow. Yeah. So, yeah. So that takes us to sixty. And in the meantime my father got very ill and passes away and I go back to Denmark October, November, December to help my mother in store and but she wanted me to get on with my life and she said I’m going to be fine, I have to sell the store anyway. And so I did go back to London in January and finished up my work and for the rest of the year till August, because in England you can only work for one year. You get a one year work permit and that’s it. Yeah.
[00:24:32] So when did Dad take the infamous picture of you at your.
[00:24:37] Well, he must’ve taken that very soon after he met with me and he had any even notion to take a picture of me.
[00:24:46] I’ll never know. Yeah, I’ll carry a camera. But I guess back then.
[00:24:49] Yeah, well, he always had a camera.
[00:24:51] Well he had a camera, he was a photo pilot. He was into photography, of course, in his job, in intelligence.
[00:24:57] But he told to it’s an amazing picture because there’s a huge sign that says it’s meat delicacies and there’s a million right under it with all the with all the ham and your. Yeah, almost looks like a nurse’s uniform. Oh, yeah. Well, we had to have a uniform. Yeah. And every day I had a rose. Yeah.
[00:25:20] Because I had a friend in the flower department and he would bring me a rose every day. Yeah. And you were busy. I was busy. Yeah. And Plumrose. Yeah I was busy but this was sixty and then sixty one so my year was up and I had to go back to Denmark. Right. And Allan being a pilot had to fly every month for flight time. Right. So he flew over to Denmark to visit me every month in a little twin engine Beechcraft and landed a ski slope which is just half an hour from calling, drove down and. Picked him up at the airfield and and he came to visit, and so we will and you just drove your car.
[00:26:04] Oh, just drive the car right on to the airfield, right out to the airport, to the plane and pick him up.
[00:26:08] Yeah, that’s how it was back then, 100 years ago. But 1961, I’m 61. And so he knew he was going to be going back to America in 62 because three and a half years in London. So at the end of 61, we were planning to get married and had the wedding in Denmark in March, which made the papers, which made the papers because three American planes landing in Scottsdale for the wedding was a big deal.
[00:26:40] And it was a very big deal back then.
[00:26:42] And they were the guests from London and the best man. And so we yeah.
[00:26:51] So we had the wedding and and of course, then leaving Denmark, we took. Let me see. He drove his car up from. Nope, that wasn’t at that time, no. So leaving we had to take the train and the ferry and get back to London and of course that’s when I was crying at the train station.
[00:27:15] Yes. Tell us about that. So then Dad says, well, why are you crying? Why are you crying?
[00:27:19] Says, I don’t know. And I says, well, I don’t know where I’m going. And, you know, everybody knows me here is going to be really strange to go someplace and nobody knows me.
[00:27:30] Right. And everybody knew you in the town of the grocery store.
[00:27:34] So my father was a very well known man for four years. And we lived, you know, middle class life and well known businessman and runner. And so everybody knew, of course, Harry Lunde children. So we were always told, you better behave because everybody knows you. And I’m going to find out if you do anything. And sure enough, from time to time, it will come back. You know what we did. Yeah.
[00:28:02] And so so it was strange to leave and not knowing where I was going and where nobody would know you. Nobody would know me. Of course, first we went back to London to finish up the three or four months from March to August in London. Mm hmm. And that was a wonderful time going to the theaters and then dinner clubs. And it was very, very special time. And we had a little apartment. And so that was good. Oh, and then I went home in July to say goodbye and to buy furniture. Right. And I wanted to have a dining room set of furniture. I wanted to have my Danish furniture and I bought beautiful rose wood furniture. And then Allan was flying over to pick it up. Yeah. And I didn’t think anything about what I was buying. I just bought what I wanted buffet and a table and six chairs. And it turned out that that buffet made it into that Beechcraft airplane with two inches to spare. They couldn’t get it through the door hardly. But they did. And I said, don’t come home unless you bring a whole layer cake, you know? So he had to go into Saxen, who said, yeah, and get me a to bring back just to have memories. So he got that furniture back to England and then that was shipped to the U.S. along with his household items.
[00:29:31] So I had the Danish furniture that we still have today, but I’m not using it today. But my daughter Janet is is using it and she’s loving the the Danish style furniture and good quality fun.
[00:29:46] It is. It’s amazing. It’s been around for fifty eight years. Yeah. Sure. Yes. Yeah.
[00:29:53] So so that brings you to now moving to the U.S.. Yeah. Right. And so, so where did you start your journey in the U.S..
[00:30:05] Well our first trip of course coming back to the U.S. was Cherry Point, North Carolina. So we arrived in London and we were supposed to pick up the car and the car wasn’t there and it had sailed down the river someplace. And we were told we could get it the next day. And so we didn’t have any luggage. And I don’t know why we checked into a hotel and with a toothbrush or something. And of course, back then it was like, oh, what’s going on? You know? Well, you probably didn’t care, I guess, but yeah, like it was someplace, I guess, stored or at the airport or someplace, because we were supposed to go get the car right. And I’ll never forget how hot it was. One hundred. And I mean New York. Yeah. In August it’s a hundred degrees. Yeah. And we finally got the car and it was a little it’s a little black Volkswagen. Yes. We get in the Volkswagen and start driving from New York all the way down to North Carolina. Right. And we got into New Bern and we were asking, well, where is Cherry Point? And somebody said, well, you just go down there and take a ride and take a right and then you take a left at the next traffic light. And we drove and drove and drove and the next traffic light was thirty five miles down the road.
[00:31:31] But we got there. Yeah.
[00:31:32] So that was in August of nineteen sixty two.
[00:31:38] Yeah that was sixty two was sixty four.
[00:31:42] You go back to Denmark. I go back to Denmark. Yes. Yes. And I know that because I was born in Denmark. So you had to have been sixty four. That’s right.
[00:31:50] So that summer of 64 he gets orders to go overseas. So I was going back to my mother. Right. And we. Drove the Volkswagen together across the country to pocket in his mother’s house in Oakland so we would have the car when he came back a year later.
[00:32:14] Now, of course, in the meantime, I got pregnant with you and you and we go to Norfolk, this time to go to the NATO staff office.
[00:32:31] And so we were there for a couple of years. And he gets sent overseas again, of course. And this time he’s in Vietnam and is and that’s going back to Vietnam. And I go back again to Denmark and then coming back from there, we end up in Springfield. Yeah. In sixty nine. Sixty nine. Yeah. Yeah. So basically we’ve been in this area since 69. What is that. 51 years. That’s a long time. Yeah.
[00:32:57] Yeah. I remember Springfield very well. Yeah. So yeah.
[00:33:01] So, so we get to Springfield then. We have, we have some illness in our family, lots of different illnesses.
[00:33:10] Yeah. That was a difficult time. That was difficult. But we survived. Yes. Here. Yes.
[00:33:15] And then you eventually go into real estate.
[00:33:19] Right. So I guess I was sort of really well I guess we should back up and say that one day I get a call from the Foreign Service Institute. Yes, that’s right. That they need a Danish teacher. And I had been going to Janet’s class. I think it was Janet’s class talking about Christmas in Denmark. And some little child in that class told the parents about my visit. And that’s how they found me. And they were desperate to get a Danish teacher. So I went down for the interview and I got the job to teach Danish at the Foreign Service. And it was, you know, it was not completely full time. The good thing about the job, it was nine to three at that time. Right. It later became a full time job. But when I had you in in class, I mean, I could get home by the time you got home from school at 330. So it’s a perfect time. You would leave at eight thirty in the morning to go to school for nine and I would leave also. So it worked out perfect. Yeah. So I was there teaching Danish actually for thirteen years, which was a great career. Yeah. Great, great experience.
[00:34:37] And then one Christmas in nineteen eighty four we went to a dinner party at Alan’s friend’s house and it was a big Catholic family and she was so excited telling me that she had just passed the real estate exam and she was going to go into real estate. And I was just so amazed and I said, wow, if you can do it, I can do it too.
[00:35:05] I’m not even thinking could be insulting, I guess saying it that way, that five, seven kids. Yeah. And going into real estate and I had two kids. Yeah.
[00:35:17] And I figured, wow, I can do that.
[00:35:21] So I marched up to Nyeri real estate school in January after the holidays and signed up on my own and went to class every weekend. And I remember vividly that was aland. We turned off the TV, he was fine, no TV or anything. Seven o’clock every night. I had to study. I had to do a 30 pages a night to keep up. And I worked full time keeping up with everything. And and the more I got into the classes and into learning, the more excited I was about the whole thing. And I was ready to jump out and start selling before I was even finished with class. Right. So I finished my class, I guess made no June, I think it was June, took the test, had to take the state exam and then gave my notice to the State Department. I would not be coming back in the fall. Right. And started selling real estate in August nineteen eighty five and never look back. No, you didn’t. No, that’s right. That’s right. I never look back. Yeah. Yeah.
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[00:36:47] All right, so now let’s talk about real estate, because that is really what you are where we are today and it’s what you’re famous for, for sure. But, you know, so so tell us how, because a lot of people will ask me, how did your mom do it? Yeah. And and I kind of I say it’s not really how you do it now that they want to hear it. How did you get started?
[00:37:11] Because it’s so hard to even explain. It is the way I got started wouldn’t exist today.
[00:37:18] Well, I would say you’re probably right, but I think a lot of those elements are key to people’s success because you did a lot of doorknocking and I mean, there was a lot of things you did.
[00:37:31] And well, and you can still do today, but essentially today you carry it on to a different type of marketing, but it still means consistent marketing and letting everybody know you’re still here. And how do you do that?
[00:37:43] Well, so how did you get started? So we started in real estate. How did you get your first clients? Well, I wore my nametag. Yeah. Which I never do anymore. Yeah, but it’s still recommended for new agents today. Recommended to wear. Yeah.
[00:37:56] And I remember being up in Nordstrom at the mall and getting some makeup and a woman was saying, oh I see you’re in real estate. And I said yes. And she said, oh I have a really good friend and he is looking to sell his condo in Alexandria. And I said, great, that would be I would love to help him. And she said, you know what, give me your card and I’ll have him give you a call. And I thought I would never hear again. Two days later, I got a call. Right. And I’ve never even been down in that area. And Alexandria, where today I know places everywhere. Mount Eagle condominiums in Alexandria, which were beautiful and new at that time. Right. And I just prepared myself with a listing appointment and listing material that we could do back then, which is very different than today because we didn’t have all the print pretty piece of data or even the data.
[00:38:55] So the day to day.
[00:38:56] Well, yeah. And I just went in on that listing appointment as if I had been selling real estate all my life. And he was very impressed. And I signed up the listing and I got out of there and I thought, oh, man, wow, I got it.
[00:39:11] That was your first list? My first listing Yelp for wearing your name tag from wearing my nametag while you were shopping. And then, of course, did you sell that one? Oh, yes. Yeah.
[00:39:22] And of course, back then it was always about farming and frightening and fun. Well, what does farming mean? And farming means that you your your your designated an area where that is yours. And it was divided up by the broker. And it was really very awful because the area I was designated to farm, I looked at the sales and Allan and I was saying, well, if you do everything you can and network in that farm, it looks like you might sell one house a year. Now, how are you going to survive on that? Right. And but you couldn’t work in anybody else’s territory. It was actually quite, pretty bad. Yeah. And of course, you come in as a new agent and all the existing agents, they had their farms. Right. And you were told how to do send out newsletters and send out information and magazines. We had magazines back then with and logs.
[00:40:22] But but this essentially I decided that my farming was going to be where I was listing and selling because now I sold one unit. So I sent out a card, a very immature looking piece of paper back then thirty five years ago that I had sold this unit and I actually managed to get quite a few more listings over a period in those two buildings. Then somehow it dried up and you move on, you know, to the next. But it still was. Still was letting everybody know you’re there and try and get more business in the same place. And then I remember I met someone and they had a condo at Seven Corners, all those condos, and they all for Wilson Boulevard. And and I got the listing and I went over and I rolled up fliers and put in the door handles and I went up and down stairs and all those buildings. And Alan was sitting in the parking lot and wait for me because it was dinnertime. Right. And I would put fliers on the windshields back then. And I managed to get quite a bit of business in there, too. And as I was learning and seeing how this business really works, because I had to go get all the business, I didn’t go to school here with friends. I grew up with me and graduate and had families and say, you come sell my house.
[00:42:07] I literally had to go fight for every property that I got, every piece of business I had to go out and get on my own.
[00:42:15] And so I just and then I started realizing lan how we I was always interested in construction and building and I was paying attention to a little house sitting on 10 or 15 acres of land. And I remember one track of land on Springhill Road. It took me six months for the little lady to even open the door. For the first time. I kept driving up to her driveway. Yeah, and leaving my card in her doorway and knocking on the door. And one day she opened the door and she said, Well, I get this all the time and but you keep coming back. And I said, I just love to visit with you. Can I help you move from here? What would you like? She invited me in and it was the beginning of a long friendship. She actually brought me a whole stack of letters from people and build a set of written homes that they wanted to buy her property, but she didn’t trust anybody. And what was her first name? Lucille. Yes, I remember Lucille. And so. So so we sat down and I came to visit her every week. We had a cup of coffee and we got to know each other.
[00:43:32] And I said, you know, I can help you.
[00:43:39] Well, it turned out she really would like to move. She was sitting there all by herself on her 20 acres. I think she had and it was a lot to take care of. And the taxes were high and so on. But everything I did, I had to go through her attorney and it turns out he was a real well, we don’t need to say any words in our business, but he certainly was not looking out for her. Right. But still, she trusted him. And I said, that’s fine. And I remember sitting in a meeting with him and his partner and myself, and I was telling him exactly what I was going to do.
[00:44:20] And and he begrudgingly agreed that I should have the listing. I think he had all of the things he wanted to do with that piece of land, like get it for himself.
[00:44:32] Got you.
[00:44:34] So with a listing in hand, I went out and I contacted my first contact that I had in mind and I sold it, so we sold in 24 hours and then Lucille got to go where she wanted to go.
[00:44:46] See, I’ve got to go to a little house downtown McLean. That was manageable for her. Yeah. And so that was my first planned deal. And then I had this huge piece of land up at Tysons Corner 123 and all Courthouse Road. Forty five acres, all these little houses. And I started going visiting house to house and took me weeks and months and I had to gain their confidence. So many people had tried to put that piece of property together and they didn’t trust me either. And they think they could do a hotel. They think they could do townhouses and get thirty dollars a square foot. And I said, you can get between six and eight dollars a square foot. So it took him a while to accept it. But I did my homework, met with the supervisor’s jack here, and he was one way back as Heritage’s dad as it is now. Yeah. And I had done my homework. You could only do single family homes on that tract of land. Townhouses, no commercial courthouse or courthouse road was taken offline. Right. And so I began to sign up enough homeowners beginning to trust me.
[00:45:54] I got the listing signed, but I would go there, almost stopped by on my way home every day and invested one homeowner. And that did that. They did that for two years. Yeah.
[00:46:06] So you invested. So it’s a lot of door knocking, a lot of doorknocking, a lot of visiting and knowing relationships and taking the time to knowing what you were doing.
[00:46:16] You got to know what you’re doing and what you’re talking about. So you have to learn all of that. Yeah, but the bottom line, after two years, I succeeded in putting enough tracts of land together to sell. Mm hmm. And the average sales price in there, if you moved right away, you got six dollars a square feet. The people that waited till the bulldozers came, they ended up with seven to eight dollars a square foot. And I remember so it was an agent in my office that sold it to a builder. Yeah.
[00:46:46] And it was the largest commission check paid out so far in that office when I was paid for that tract of land. Amazing. But that was right before the downturn of the end of the 80s. And the builder ended up giving it back to the bank and another builder picked it up in January and built 75 houses on that property.
[00:47:13] But I still got paid for selling the land. So that was very exciting, right?
[00:47:17] Yeah, I did another track of land again on a house that sat on many acres on Spring Hill Road and and was able to sell that. And they got divided into 11 lots. Yeah. So there were two tracks actually on Springhill Road in McLean.
[00:47:34] So when you got into the real estate business, did it turn out to be what you thought it was going to be or did it turn out to be something completely different?
[00:47:43] No, I never thought it turned out to be anything that I thought because I didn’t know what it was going to be. I just knew selling.
[00:47:49] Yeah, I just knew your intelligence to put it together had the right answers. But I knew one thing for sure. Always to do the right thing. Mm. Always to make sure that you can look yourself in the mirror and just always, always your reputation is all you have. Absolutely. Start going off your reputation. So I would go a long mile around to make sure everything was always done right. So this day.
[00:48:14] Yeah that’s fantastic.
[00:48:16] So so we have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of stories. Right.
[00:48:22] That we heard at the dinner table. Right.
[00:48:24] But I have one actually goes back to all this. So I start getting calls. You know, I advertise a lot. I believe in print advertising even at this time of my career. But somebody called me on Lee Highway with a Centerville address and I went out to see this house and it was a little White House on five acres and they just wanted to move. Mm hmm. Well, the minute I pull in the driveway, I heard a big explosion and I thought, oh, my God, what is going on? Well, it turned out it was next to a stone quarry. Well, they’re doing blasting every day. And then across the street, I noticed, was a asphalt plant. Yeah. And I thought these people are never going to sell this house. Yeah. And to a residential, it’s going to have to go commercial. Right. So I went in to visit and it was a shock of my life, my first experience coming into a home where there was a little it was a hoarder. Hmm. A little pathway through the house. But the hoarding was Cabbage Patch. Dolls in boxes. Oh, no. Thousands of them. Oh, my God, it was stacked from floor to ceiling. She collected Cabbage Patch dolls, which were very famous, popular at that time, right in the 80s, right after the Pet Rock.
[00:49:49] And I said this was really going to be difficult to sell as a residential because of what’s going on around you. But I’m going to give it a shot and see if we can sell it to the quarry next door or to the asphalt factory across the street. Mm hmm. And so I said, well, let me take a look at the house. And so I was on my way to the basement and she said, oh, no, no, no, no, no, don’t go in the basement. And I said, OK, yeah, because I have a big snake down there and he lives down there. But that’s a good thing because he keeps the mice away. And I said, OK. So of course, I didn’t go down in the basement with a big snake down there.
[00:50:32] And I came up and halfway back up again and I just said, I will try and see if I can sell your home in some ways.
[00:50:45] But I never could. You know, I’d try to meet with people they didn’t want to buy that five acres. They wanted 20 acres. They didn’t want to take it as part of their home. Yeah. So that was an experience with a snake in the basement. That’s a good one.
[00:50:59] I don’t think I’ve heard that one yet.
[00:51:01] So but I was where I was going was we have and I’ve often said to you, you should write a book. And you always say to me, you know, if I wrote a book, nobody would believe it. Nobody would believe. No one would read it. I know.
[00:51:13] Yeah, but so.
[00:51:14] So but there was one story that went on and on and on and on, you know, the one I’m talking about.
[00:51:21] So we’ll just refer to them as Mr. and Mrs. Seller.
[00:51:26] OK, so we have a beautiful home and a lovely neighbor in Vienna. In Vienna. Yep. Yep.
[00:51:33] And I got the call to come out and sell the house and it was a mess. And there were several children still at home.
[00:51:44] Older children. Older children. Yeah. And yeah. But teenagers. Yeah.
[00:51:48] And then they had two big dogs and they were always tied up outside and it was nothing but a mud pile. So of course if the dogs were let in it was mud all over in the house just for starters. Right. And it was also the house where things were stacked up in the basement from floor to ceiling. And I asked the question, do you have a ruffing bath in the basement? Because I couldn’t see anything. Oh, yes, we do. Yeah. And the reason I didn’t dispute him was because I sold other houses with a finished basement and a full bath.
[00:52:24] So I had no. In that neighborhood. In that neighborhood next door. Yeah. I had no reason to dispute the fact that that was or was not a bathroom.
[00:52:34] It was difficult times I can’t remember. Must have been beginning of the 90s. Interest rates were high, houses were not selling homes and they were getting divorced. And the only way we could show that house was with to lockboxes on the door. He was living in the master bedroom with a lockbox on his door and she was living in the other bedrooms. And then he had a lockbox on the door to the basement because the basement was his home.
[00:53:05] And of course, the house didn’t look nice. It wasn’t really cleaned up and the dogs and the mud and everything, I think it was seven, eight, nine months. And we finally get a contract from somebody who’s willing to clean it up. Yeah. And so now I have to help her find a place to be. Don’t worry about my ex. He knows where he’s going. He’s going to travel.
[00:53:29] He has a U-Haul and he’s leaving town.
[00:53:33] And I said, but meanwhile, during this whole time, yes, she’s calling, saying how difficult it is we need to get the house sold.
[00:53:39] Oh, yeah. I got him all expenses. I got to get the house sold. And I says, well, I’m doing all I can, but, you know, under the circumstances.
[00:53:49] So finally we get an offer on the house and now she has to find a place to live. And she had one hundred twenty five thousand dollars for her. So we went to rest and and at that time was able to find a nice little little townhouse that we could get for one hundred and twenty five thousand. So she was cash free and no debt or anything. And so we get to the day of moving and moving and getting everything ready and the house is vacant and walk through. And I said, well, your husband’s car is out here. Why? You know, I thought he was starting to drive west and she said, no, he’s actually going to live with me. And I said, What are you talking about? We have been trying to get you to separated for nine months. And you’re telling me that he’s going to move in with you.
[00:54:51] And this was almost a war of the roses.
[00:54:54] I told you it was roses because every night he would call me to tell her to tell her something and she would call me to tell him something. And it was every night or every week I had to play attorney and psychologists and psychiatry, marriage counselor, marriage counselor, as if I had nothing else to do.
[00:55:14] And then you get the household, you get the house, she buys a new house, she buys moves to rest and and then they move back in together.
[00:55:20] Yeah. And I said, what in the world are you thinking about? And she said, well, I need the money and he’s paying me rent. And I said, no way.
[00:55:33] Yeah, it was incredible. It was just crazy.
[00:55:37] So, so, so the interesting I think a lot of folks out there, they think they want to go into real estate. Sure. And I think, you know, in my earlier years with clients, I heard over and over and over and over we’d be driving around, looking at houses, looking at houses. And somebody would eventually say, almost every week I heard it, oh, my gosh, I love driving around, looking at houses. I think I want to go into real estate.
[00:56:00] I always say, well, you should do that. Yeah, because I can’t really explain that what the job is. Yeah.
[00:56:06] Looking at houses is just such a small part of what it is, you know, the human element and the situations you get into the snake in the basement, the couple that that needs to sell their home so they can move on with their life, shockingly, they get back together. That’s what we still laugh about in our house today. But there’s all these things that happen in the real estate business. And every day you don’t know where it’s going.
[00:56:33] No, every day you get a different scenario. Every day. Yeah. Yeah. You just don’t know. And it’s a lot more than just drive around and look at houses. Of course, you have to have the intelligence behind knowing where to take people and what the houses look like and what they really want and qualifying and all of that and.
[00:56:54] John Jorgenson here, if you want to become a real estate agent, contact us through that, go with John Show at Go with John Dotcom and we will put you in touch with a professional over at Long and Foster who can walk you through the process. Again, that’s go with John Dotcom.
[00:57:16] So what’s your favorite part about the industry now?
[00:57:21] I think getting the phone call to make an appointment with me for you to come over and sell my house, I think that is a very exciting phone call that they call me. I don’t call them. Yes.
[00:57:34] And that’s not the way it used to be. Right. I have to go call everybody.
[00:57:39] I had to go figure it out. But do you have gone come to the point in your life where you get the calls, you are trusted and you have good recommendations and people recommend you and then going for the visit and then to do the right thing, say the right words, work with the stage. What is the most gentle way to tell them we have to do A, B and C to get the house in sellable condition for the highest amount of money going through that whole process? And then you go through all the marketing and then you say, thank you very much and give me a call. Then you leave and then you do get the call. We want a list with you. We want you to be our agent, or you actually are sitting there and they’re saying, no, we’re good to go. Would love for you to take care of this house. I think that’s the most exciting part that you did. And it’s a little bit of a game. It’s a hunt and you got to do the job. And then when you get in return, you get a call from the neighbor. We want you to come over and we want to meet you because we want to sell our house. So they have been good vibes going back and forth. And I think this is the most rewarding part of the business. And then, of course, solving the problems along the way can be very frustrating. All kinds of problems come up and you never know from day to day what they’re going to be.
[00:59:08] Sometimes you get a truckload. Yeah, you got to boatload after day after day.
[00:59:12] And otherwise it’s like a dream. Yeah. And yeah.
[00:59:17] Yeah. So one of the things that I think is really interesting about the way you do your business is you do almost everything yourself. I mean, you have a couple of really great assistants.
[00:59:28] Yeah. But they do the paperwork. Exactly. Because I have chosen to use my brain and my intelligence in a different way, feeling I finally gave up being so possessive I finally let go. That was very, very deep of the paperwork for the paperwork. Yeah, it was very, very difficult because I was doing it all because I was the only one that could do it right. So I’ve given up the paperwork and the entering the information into multiple listing and and all of that.
[01:00:00] But you’re doing everything else. But I’m doing everything else, right. You’re going to every listing of every listing, every settlement, every home, every single time you negotiate.
[01:00:07] I meet every appraiser at the property. Yeah, I’m at every settlement. Yeah. So I’m doing all of that. I don’t send an assistant to go to a home inspection. I don’t send an assistant to go to settlement or to meet the appraiser. Yeah. That’s the media for I’m doing all of that. But I haven’t an assistant who can run the emails and answer emails and follow up on paperwork that can be done and coordinating your calls.
[01:00:33] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s pretty amazing and it’s pretty good. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So is there, is there anything you would have done differently.
[01:00:42] Probably not. Not because. How do you know. Yeah that’s true.
[01:00:46] You don’t know. You only know you got here by doing A, B and C. Yeah. Had you done it the other way you don’t know where you would have been.
[01:00:53] Yeah. Yeah. So now how has technology changed the industry do you think it’s a good thing.
[01:00:59] I think the technology has changed everything a lot. I think the biggest thing that has changed is everyone knows the properties now before almost we know them. And that wasn’t so before you had to get in the car and go take them there. So the fact that everybody can see everything on the Internet definitely has changed. But it’s really wonderful that we as agents are still needed. Yes, you can go see it on the Internet. We still need to take you in. We still need to advise you. We still need to work with you on the contracts and on offers and hold everything together. You get ten offers on a property. How are you going to do it? You know, it takes intelligence and sometimes you win one where you normally wouldn’t have won it.
[01:01:48] But they know you, right. Versus everybody else. Right. And. So you still need that human touch, but technology definitely has changed everything. I don’t necessarily like all the changes, but I’m doing just fine with what I’m doing. I’m not going to I’m not going to change my ways. But people choose to sit and do everything on their phones. And and I still like to have directions, so I know where I’m going because GPS screws me up every five times. Yeah. And they take me for joy, joy ride or whatever.
[01:02:24] Joy ride. Joy ride. And so what am I doing here. Yeah. And and like. So you still put the directions in your listings for everybody.
[01:02:33] Yeah. And I do it consequently. And only 50 percent of 25 percent of the agents do and it will say in the listing used GPS. Yeah. Yeah.
[01:02:42] You know, but I believe and I have a photographic memory, I read those directions and I know exactly where I’m going, but I put it in a GPS and I don’t know where I’m going because it only takes you one street at a time, maybe a little area at a time. Right. So I still love to have my map. If I can have an overview of where I’m going and buy the directions. I already know approximately where I’m going to be by the name of the subdivision. I have an idea again, because I have been everywhere in the whole Northern Virginia writes, you read the directions and it just oh, it just drives me.
[01:03:18] And that’s a tremendous help. Yeah.
[01:03:21] So one of the things that was was really interesting in your early years, we talked about this the other day, how you used to run out in the middle of the night.
[01:03:32] Oh. To get things signed. Right. So what we talk about technology. Yeah. Yeah.
[01:03:37] So talk about, you know, for the folks listening that are youngsters who don’t realize the Internet has been here forever.
[01:03:45] Yeah, totally.
[01:03:47] The way we used to sell how we would meet the seller in their home after dinner because God forbid they had to have their dinner. You can come over at nine o’clock or eight o’clock. Yeah. And you would sit down and present your contract in person, which of course is very nice. And sometimes there would be two or three contracts. But if it’s just one with all the explanation and everything that goes with the paperwork, I think we’ve gotten better on educating ourselves. We know what’s coming, but they didn’t. This goes back thirty five years ago. Yeah. So contracts were never correct. There was never the right price. So they got kind of offered and I would sell houses in as well wherever the buyers could afford to go in Springfield, in Dale City. And I went as far as Fredericksburg, Stafford County, I would be way out in Bourke or way out in Fairfax. And I live in Vienna offices. McLaine Yeah.
[01:04:46] And so you would drive to your cellar to get the counter offer and present everything and then you would drive home to either fax the counter offer or go meet the agent with the contract so you could be out until twelve one two o’clock in the morning.
[01:05:11] Right. So finally so, so then the other agent was waiting for me to come back with a counter offer and she would meet her clients and then she would get it to me. But it wasn’t ratified until it was delivered. Right.
[01:05:23] And so we’d have to drive all the way back to whatever tale City or Woodbridge or whatever it was to deliver that it was ratified. And we used to call ourselves the Beltway Bandits because was driving around driving around the Beltway at night and it would be 12:00 and one o’clock. Yeah, I’ve been out till 2:00. I got lost in Lorden one time. It was pitch black in the winter and I couldn’t find my direction. And that was we actually back then the first cell phone in the car, I had this huge monster. Yeah. And I would call my husband. I said, I don’t know where I am. It’s pitch black. And I knew the Cross Street and he’d look it up on the map and he says, well, take a right and yeah. And do whatever. Yeah, but that was then. And of course we were selling a lot of properties in outside MacLane in Vienna because they were cheaper sometimes for first time buyers and we’d have to go for townhouses and.
[01:06:23] Yeah, and he was driving around the Beltway so you really had to know where you were going, you had to have a map, you had to be able to read a map always. You had to have a map.
[01:06:34] You had to know where you were going. I always looked at the whole too and everything before getting in the car. Yeah. So I knew exactly looking at the map.
[01:06:42] And that’s why all the younger generation, of course, are laughing about a map because nobody knows what a map looks like. I don’t even know how to use it. It really is wonderful if you really want to have the big picture concept.
[01:06:56] Absolutely, yeah. So what is your do you have what would you say to the younger agents that are getting into the business now?
[01:07:07] Do you have any advice for them?
[01:07:09] Well, I think I would say you have to start somewhere and and and you have to get your clients and people to know you. If they don’t know who you are, they don’t know how to call you. If they don’t ever see you, they don’t know who you are either. And I think you start with where you get your business. But once you get a piece of business, I think it’s crucial that you work around that piece of business because those are the people that know you. Right. And even today, I mean, I sold I was lucky to get a listing in Stratford landing in the Alexandria Mount Vernon area. And when I listed the property, my client said he hadn’t slept for three nights because I priced it at seven fifty and he talked to four other agents and they said 650 and 660 and not a dime over 700. And I come in and I tell him 750 and Lily and I. You sure. And I said, trust me and said, OK, I trust you. I said, if you will do what I tell you to do, you have to paint. You have to change your light bulbs. You have to change the appliances. This was an old house, but it was really beautiful and beautifully maintained. But it just needed, you know, a little bit of updating. And they moved out and he did everything and we were ready to go. And he says, Lilian, I’m still not sleeping over that price. Are you sure we shouldn’t drop the price? And I said, Bill, trust me.
[01:08:41] Mm hmm. He said, OK, I trust you.
[01:08:44] Well, we went online. Beautiful House, beautiful pictures, wonderful floor plans, great presentation. And we had five contracts in one day.
[01:08:56] And sold for full price because the one we took had nothing in it. Right? No contingence, nothing. Yeah. No redundancies, nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. 750. Yeah. But they were willing to escalate to seven seventy five. Right. We had another offer that started at seven seventy. Yeah. With a home inspection. Six days to avoid only blah blah blah. So all the other contracts had stuff in it. Right. But the fact still was they all started at my price. Yes. So we took the one with nothing in that settlement in three weeks and we’re going to settlement next week. Yeah. And he said I’ll be damned. And I called him up and I said, well, I ask you to trust me.
[01:09:44] And you did. And I thank you. And I said, Now tell your neighbors, oh my God, my neighbors have gone. We’re already texted me. There’s an under contract sign on Monday morning. And it was Sunday and we ratified Monday and I got the under contract up the same day. Wow. That’s another thing. You got to do it right away. So the neighbors are texting him. You sold your house? Yeah, I said you just tell your neighbors to call me. So the moral of this story is I would love to have ten more listings in Stratford landing. It takes me forty minutes to get there. Yeah, but if you are smart about it and have you two lockboxes there, you can minimize your trips and the house is going to sell and then you done money in the bank and then you’re working around all what you are know about.
[01:10:29] My son has been hanging there and my son is still there.
[01:10:33] The neighbors know me. I immediately send out a card. We had multiple contacts, so full price. I didn’t wait for the sole card to go out at settlement. Yeah, and I’m beginning to see that’s a little bit the key. I’ve done that in other neighborhoods and like sold in two weeks. Yeah. And they get that card and then they get the card when it sells and they also get a just listed card of course. So I ping that neighborhood maybe three times. Yeah.
[01:11:01] Well so what’s funny about this, and I don’t know if you’ll remember this about ten years ago or eight years ago, you and I were sitting at a long and foster event. One of the guys over at Long Foster was giving a presentation, talking about the Facebook and the Twitter and all the things that you have to do online. And you kept tapping me on the shoulder and you about on the knee and you kept saying, you know, we still got to sell, send just listed cards and we still have to pick up the phone and we have to call and we still have to do this.
[01:11:28] So all this technology that was was occurring in this speech, you say you just have to stick to the basics. And the funny thing was, at the very end of his speech, he says, you still got to pick up the phone and call people.
[01:11:41] And then you say, you see, I told you so.
[01:11:43] It’s exactly it’s the contacts, contacts and visibility and all the other things are wonderful and, of course, social.
[01:11:51] It was wonderful, but the old school teacher worked. Yeah, right.
[01:11:55] There’s a huge part of the population that don’t do Facebook. Believe it or not. Right. And I sell to anybody. I don’t care if you’re ninety or eighty five or seventy five or 10 years old, you know, I’ll take everybody. Yeah. And so you cater to certain groups of people and you know, you want to reach them. All right. You still got to go the old fashioned way.
[01:12:18] So so your advice to the young agents is to just make contact. And I think I think there’s a lot to be said about the postcard in the mail or the phone call versus something electronic. There’s something about the electronic communication that is not as weighted.
[01:12:34] I think it comes in very quickly and it disappears. Yeah.
[01:12:39] And I have actually had I don’t know what to say about all these. Hit all your clients, you know, at least once a month with emails and everything. I have had some wonderful clients of mine send me an email saying, Lilyan, take me off your email list, which I did not like to hear. Yeah. Then you want my email.
[01:13:00] Right. Right. Yeah, they want the phone call. Yeah. Yeah.
[01:13:06] So I think you as an agent, as an individual, you have to find your way. And of course, my my famous saying is when Frank Sinatra sings in his farewell song on stage, I did it my way and we are all individuals and you have to do it your way because you are who you are. Yeah. And yes, take all the information you hear, but you still have to apply it to how do you come across, how do you like to work, how do you like to get up in the morning. I like to get up in the morning and get dressed and be ready for the day. I’m ready to listen and sell any time of the day. That’s how I like to be. Somebody else likes to wake up and stay in their jammies for half a day and then go out on the tennis clothes for the other half a day and then wait for the phone call. That’s not how I want to work. Right. And so you have to find out who are you, what do you want in life? And then just remember, the sky’s the limit. If it is to be, it’s up to me. Yeah. Nobody’s going to give it to you. And I think that’s the hardest thing to understand, well, all these referrals and we’re all very close.
[01:14:23] And what about this? And I thought he was going to call me. There just isn’t anything. You got to make it happen. You have to put in the effort in all the different ways that you know how to get the client.
[01:14:37] Yeah, I think the reality is, is if you take your destiny into your own hands, you can drive it wherever you want to drive it. Right. And that’s right. Yeah. If you’re waiting for some other mechanism to make it happen for you, it’s not going to happen. Right. So all the tools are there. It’s all there. Yeah. Yeah, all the information’s there. You’ve got to take it and make it your own. And then really I think the bottom line is you got to go knock on doors. Yeah.
[01:15:04] You got to go spend some shoeleather.
[01:15:07] Yeah. But of course people don’t like knocking on doors in reality today. But but you’ve got to follow up is maybe a better word than follow up and network. Network meet people. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And I think I missed the whole activity of the brokers open. So in the earlier years the broker open houses were fantastic. All the agents would come all the time. And it was a great way to meet agents and to let them know who you are and you know who they are. Right. And you learn from all the people that come and you listen and all the interaction we had. But brokers openness have gone by the wayside. Agents are lazy. They don’t feel like going, I don’t have to go. I can look at the house on the Internet. But they’re losing sight of what comaraderie? All of that in the first place to comaraderie. Yeah. And hearing things and knowing things. And we used to hear about financing and great buys and stories. And you take all of that and molded into your brain that you learn from that and it stays with you. Now everybody sits at home in their office and they they there’s no interaction. Of course, we’re in a difficult period right now. But just in general, you don’t see the excitement of everybody getting together. I mean, it’s changed a lot. So I don’t know how the new agents they are making it and but how they’re making it, I don’t know.
[01:16:41] So so another piece of advice that I’m hearing for the new agency is go out and meet some of the other agents that are at the brokers open and talk to them and learn from.
[01:16:51] Yeah, and I used to go to when I was new, I would go to Open House every Sunday and I would observe because this was not my new profession and I would go into an open house and there would be somebody sitting there knitting and said, Hi, how are you? You said, I’m quite I’m Lilian, you know. And so, yeah, go ahead and take a look at the house. I just keep knitting and and others would be not on the phone because we didn’t have phones back then, but they would be reading or preoccupied. And that told me exactly who I did not want to be. Right. I did not want to be that age. And I wanted to be observant. I wanted to have a conversation. No matter if another agent comes into open house, strike up a conversation and find out something about that other agent, about the house and everything in the meantime, because there’s got to be some information that comes across that you can use.
[01:17:46] Yeah, yeah. Well, maybe information about that house. You went there to see the house and you got to get familiar with the territory. You got to know the inventory. I can tell you the inventory in the houses and the price ranges of almost everything in Northern Virginia to me because I’ve been there. Yeah. And I’ve sold there. Yeah. And so prices change, conditions change, but pretty much and you got to beat the path, you got to get out there and you just got to get out there and do it.
[01:18:14] You got to just do it.
[01:18:16] Well that’s a great way to end it. Well, Mom, thanks for sitting down and telling this great story. That was awesome.
[01:18:26] Oh my gosh. Yeah.
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