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You Say Kumbaya Like It’s A Bad Thing


Pay It Forward Is Alive & Well

The knows the rules of social media and appreciates the idea that what we give online comes back to us greatly multiplied. The info we share on Twitter and Facebook, the help we give to our contacts with Diggs and Stumbles, the knowledge we share through our blogs, all of these things we do with a pure heart because we understand the basic rules of the medium. We pass on knowledge and assistance without thinking twice, knowing full well that the payoff will come, either by receiving information, guidance or help, or by actual business and referrals from those with whom we interact. Contributing value to the community is a basic premise of being a good online citizen.

Take It Offline!

These same ideas of sharing, cooperation and, ok I’m sayin’ it, karma, hold true IRL too. Using our knowledge and skills in our neighborhoods and, I am here to argue, in our industry and REALTOR associations will generate the same kind of goodwill, reciprocity and actual business that we enjoy online. AND we are improving our neighborhoods, markets and industry to boot.

Look, I’m not saying you should go out and give away all your secrets, details of your marketing plans, or full market analyses as feedback on showings or Broker Opens – of course there is a limit to what you can share with competitors. But there is still a bunch of stuff you CAN share, and there is plenty of benefit to doing so. Take these few examples of stuff I have been fortunate to receive and/or pass on in my local area:

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  • Technical help with a website issue, how to use Facebook, etc
  • Insight in to HOA issues related to transactions or otherwise
  • Goodwill, not to be underestimated or written off as it can be huge when you are involved in a transaction, need a hand yourself, or in Recruiting!
  • Listing Referrals: I’ve received these from exclusive Buyer’s Agents and have given out one or two freebies when I was unable to accept a listing due to conflict of interest

It’s a great feeling for me when I get a phone call from an agent in my marketplace needing a hand with something. And to know that I have the same resources available to me is extremely valuable.

Kumbaya Ain’t For Sissies

One last thing…imagine the altered perception the public might have of us if they ‘caught’ us cooperating and helping each other be better at what we do. Let them find out that we don’t cut each others’ throats at every opportunity, that we collectively add to the professionalism of each other in small ways every day, and maybe, just maybe, we can rise above the level of used car salesmen or lawyers (sorry, used car salesmen, don’t mean to offend). Seriously, how will the level of professionalism in our industry ever be lifted if we don’t each bear a bit of the weight?

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Written By

Lisa sells residential real estate in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern PA, and authors The Poconos Real Estate Blog. Being a strong believer in community participation, she currently serves as President of a 1700 home Property Owners' Association and Secretary of the Board of the local REALTOR Association for 2009. Her most challenging and fulfilling role, though, is that of Mom to two teenage girls, and her main hope for them is that they learn to appreciate the abundant joys of a life lived with a positive attitude. You can connect with Lisa on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn.



  1. Chris Griffith

    June 23, 2009 at 5:44 pm


  2. Ken Brand

    June 23, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    It’s always better to Hug-It-Out than Slug-It-Out, more fun too!

    I can’t sing, play guitar, grill some-mores or even build a bonfire….I can and should juggle sharing, courtesy, respect, candor and professionalism with my colleagues and my clients.

    Amen to forwarding good Karma:-)

  3. Daria Kelly Uhlig

    June 23, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    My office is nothing if not kumbaya, and we wouldn’t have any other way. Competition doesn’t have to be adversarial.

  4. Matt Stigliano

    June 24, 2009 at 7:11 am

    Lisa – One of the things that really amazed me when I entered real estate was the’s giving nature. I learned more from this computer screen in one on one discussions with other agents than I did in school, training classes, or from my own studies. When I entered real estate I was afraid of the competitive aspect of it all, thinking what the average consumer probably thinks – that we’d climb over our own mother to get to a transaction first. That marketing secrets were guarded and hid behind Masonic-like codes and secret societies. I was wrong.

    As I learned that there was this sort of “open source” movement online, I began to discover it offline too. Within my office, I began to ask questions of other agents and they gave me mountains of personal-experience-based information. The kind of stuff every new agent should know. Then I began to get it from agents outside my office. Two of my best sources for ideas, tips, hints, and new ways to solve old problems are “competitors” in my area. We’ve shared some pretty interesting pieces of information that only serves to benefit us all. How is this possible? By wanting the industry as a whole to be better for the consumer and knowing that there’s more than enough business for us. We know that if we stand out, we can be the best in town, and that can only lead one place – to more business for all of us…without cutting into each other’s bottom lines. I’d rather lose a client to one of them then to someone I don’t think would take good care of a client.

    In fact, recently, after being told I was out of the running for a referral, I recommended my competition. Why? Because I still want that consumer to have the best experience they can have and I knew the agent I recommended would provide that. If you’re not going to work with me at least work with someone who will be great.

  5. Missy Caulk

    June 24, 2009 at 7:51 am

    Lisa, I have sent out my pre-listing plan all over for the last 2 years. I still get requests for it, I have no problem doing it.

    I also give away all my “blogging” secrets when I speak.


    I know 99% will never do them, they think they will, at the time but some never even start.

  6. Lisa Sanderson

    June 24, 2009 at 8:00 am

    @rerockstar ‘Open source movement’ in real estate…I love that. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  7. Lisa Sanderson

    June 24, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Missy: Thanks for stopping by. I am sorry I missed you in Chicago. Hopefully there will be other opportunities for us to meet!

    Daria: Now take that *outside* the office!

    Ken: Great minds think alike 😉

    Chris: ** bowing ** (thank you!)

  8. Ian Greenleigh

    June 24, 2009 at 5:57 pm


    You hit on something I’ve been thinking about a bit lately: what about the internet makes us more willing to help others?

    Is it the visibility? Is it simply easier to help others on the web and SM?

    Another question: Are we really being altruistic when doing so?

    Great piece. Thanks.

  9. Matt Stigliano

    June 24, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Lisa – Long before I knew terms like and social media I had know “open source” and been a fan of it. I think the theory of it is more based in internet than in software. Just take a look at the music industry and the internet’s history. It was forced upon them, but they’re learning to accept it.

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