In Chris Rock's 2008 HBO special, Never Scared, he did a bit about women keeping platonic male friends around because "you never know." As service providers, we tend to accumulate contacts, LinkedIn connections, and in some cases Facebook friends because you just never know who's going to turn in to a client. And because we never know, we need to be on our best behavior at all times. We need to be cognizant of our social media output, the pictures we are tagged in, and the message we are sending to the world. A few years ago, a major league baseball team refused to sign one of their top draft picks because of the pictures that surfaced online of his post-draft celebration. There are very few secrets anymore.
But sometimes, it's a blast from the past that shows up. Recently, I was invited to participate in a conference call and one of the participants turned out to be one of my campers when I was a camp counselor 20 years ago. Now, he was a potential client. I am glad I was a good counselor back then because he remembered me in a positive light. You never know.
When I started my real estate career, I worked for a company called Grubb & Ellis which was recently purchased by Newmark. One of my first mentors was Doug Petrozzini. Among the many lessons I learned from Doug was that the real estate community is small. He told me, "if you are going to screw someone, you better make sure it's worth it because you will see them often." You never know.
By the way, even after I left Grubb, Doug and I remained friends through the years. When Grubb was sold, he wasn't sure whether he was going to stay or go to a new firm. I put the full court press to get him to CBRE. Not everyone treats junior brokers well and Doug not only treated me well, but taught me a tremendous amount about the business and how to run a deal. He's now sitting in the office next to me. You never know.
Last example. When I started in the business, my father introduced me to some of his friends and Nacore cronies. Art Elman was the head of real estate for ADP and was on the board of Nacore (now CoreNet) at the time with my father. While he wasn't interested in giving me any business, we had lunch or breakfast once a year and he was always generous with his time and advice. Eight years after first meeting, Art finally gave us a chance to make a pitch for a piece of ADP's portfolio. Art became not only a great client, but also a great mentor. We have grown the ADP relationship over the last four years and while Art is now retired from ADP, the company remains one of our biggest clients. You never know.
I know I have written in the past about how real estate is a relationship business. Well, those relationships can start anywhere, at any time and sometimes under the strangest of circumstances. Be on your best behavior as there's always someone watching. After all...you never know.