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If it’s NOT Who You Know, Then What is it?

Popular. Sexy. Savvy. Funny. Kind. Honest. Involved.  SO WHAT?Thinking That Knowing Lot's Of People Will Make You Successful Is An Illusion

They know hundreds, maybe thousands of people.

  1. She wears a jeweled crown, Queen Of The Social Climbers Circle, all hail.
  2. “Social-Butterfly” is mister’s middle name.
  3. She was the boss at “Wanda’s Widgets and Wow-We for 20 years, beloved by all.
  4. She’s the PTO president, respect.
  5. She’s a Social-Media darling, woot.
  6. He’s a retired Super Hero, people love him.
  7. They’re popular, sexy, savvy, funny, kind, pretty, handsome, honest and Involved.

If real estate is a people business and a numbers game, and they know 100’s, even 1,000’s of people, shouldn’t success come easy?  Especially if they’re liked.

Is  Who You Know important?

NO!  It’s NOT Who-You Know.

Because we know someone does not mean they should or will hire or recommend-refer us.  It doesn’t matter if  we’ve know someone for umpteen years.  It doesn’t matter if our kids play together, we’ve partied together, cried, laughed, loved or vacationed together.  Friendship and acquaintance is NO Eticket to success.  It’s a beginning…period.

Don’t believe me.  Tsk-Tsk. Do this. Please.

In your head, conduct this imaginary test.  No really.   Play along.

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The Gallup Poll Litmus Test

Hire the Gallup Poll people (in your head, not for real).  Give them your data base names and telephone numbers.  Ask them to conduct a Word Association – Top Of Mind Awareness poll, call one-hundred, politely introduce themselves and ask 5 questions.

  1. When I say, favorite alcoholic beverage, you say?
  2. When I say,  favorite vacation destination, you say?
  3. When I say, Pop Star  Porn Star Rock Star you say?
  4. When I say “Most Irritating Faux Celebrity“, you say?
  5. When I say, “[Reader Insert YOUR Name]”, you say?

The Moment Of Truth – Their Answer

The million dollar question is #5.  Imagine answers to my #5. look like this:

  1. Ken Brand is a racquetball buddy.  He’s kinda old and slow, a bit of trash talker, but a good sport.
  2. Ken Brand is married to Robyn, we’re mostly friends of hers.  She’s way smarter than he is…his better 7/8th actually.
  3. Ken Brand is Nick, Lauren and Heather’s dad, our kids grew up playing together.  He and Robyn have some great looking kids, we’re not really sure if Ken’s the father.
  4. Ken Brand’s a neighbor.  He’s quiet and keeps to himself.  Did he do something illegal?
  5. Ken Brand was a guest on Tim and Julie Harris’s Super Star Interview. (shameless personal pimping)
  6. I know Ken from the Wizard Academy. (you should go)

How would polled friends answer your #5.?

I’m confident the first associations would be positive. You know lot’s of people and they know you. Yea!  This sounds good, right?

NO, it’s NOT GOOD.


Because it doesn’t matter  how many people you know or how many know you!  What matters is…

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Who Knows YOU FIRST As Trust Worthy, Second as a Savvy, Can Do-Will-Do, Have Gun Will Travel, Realtor, and Third, As Other Things!

We’re winners only if the FIRST association is trust-worthy and second as a Rock Solid Realtor. If the FIRST and Second association is anything else, we have work to do.


People Hire And Referral-Recommend The FIRST TRUSTED Agent They Think Of.

If the people you know, don’t know YOU FIRST, as a trust-worthy, savvy, can-do-will-do, real estate agent,  you’ll miss out on 60% to 80% of the opportunities associated with your sphere. Ouch.

Bottom Line

It doesn’t mean slippery-spit that we know everyone and their half-sister. How many people know us, means less then zero.  It only matters who and their half-sister, know us FIRST and SECOND, as a Trust Worthy Realtor and Real Estate Agent Icon.

Shall We Get Crack’n

It’s better to have 15 people who know you as a trust worthy Realtor FIRST, than 5,000 who don’t.  The 2010 Common-Sense-Secret to success is to earn True-Blue-Trust and  amplify your Top Of Mind Awareness.

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If you believe people you know, know you FIRST as a trust worthy Realtor Icon, congratulations. Keep Rock’n The Free World.

If not, let’s get crack’n.  Here’s How To Earn True-Blue-Trust and tattoo Top Of Mind Awareness?


Cheers. Thanks for reading.

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Written By

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.



  1. Russell Cushman

    October 26, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Ken: Jeff Moreland hooked us up on Facebook… I often read and enjoy your entries… you are more prolific than me! blog=

    Anyway, so, so true. I am the poster boy for your premise. I have many friends, acquaintances, even important strategic contacts, but most of them OUT OF CONTEXT. Of no use whatsoever. I am a muralist. My business only reached that sweet spot we call critical mass when I had half a dozen satisfied clients that thought no one else could do what I did. Each of them told ten people… and I ended up wearing my arm out! True story… After 10,000 sq feet of murals, now I do sculptures just to give my poor arm a rest.

    I love the old woman/young woman picture, first saw it in grade school. But I think it was in black and white and much harder to discern either. I missed your explanation to how it relates to this article, but I could write my own…

    We make the mistake of assuming that others see us the way we hope we are perceived. I thought I was a fairly well known artist in my small town, everybody made references to my profession constantly… One day a sweet little mother, whom I had known for several years walked up at a school where I was working, and asked me what I was doing, ten feet up on a manlift. She was shocked that I was an artist. All that she knew about me, or cared to know was that I went to her church, her son went to school with my daughter, her husband liked to talk to me about politics, or fishing, etc. She had never needed an artist, so that part of my life, the major part, was totally irrelevant and unknown to her. She stood in awe of my project, laughingly shaking her head, doubting I knew what I was doing. Something like this scenario has happened to me many times, in a small town, where everybody is supposed to know everything about each other.

    All most people know is what specially fits their need to know. People are basically uninquisitive, uninterested beyond their own needs. It would take way too much bragging to ever keep the sleeping masses informed about an achiever. If you tell them you are an artist, or a realtor, they will spit back something like, “My brother-in-law is one too.” Then there is a moment of silence, as you imagine them saying, “and he’s not doing very well.” It only matters as far as it fits comfortably into their own personal experience. Even if they know you, they still do not need to know THAT. Now they just quietly assume you are a hopeless loser like their brother-in-law… everything has a pigeon hole. You might as well have told them you were a marine biologist.

    I have found through experience the worst witnesses for my talent and helping my business have been my friends and family. Not that they don’t love me or are not proud of me. But whenever they try to steer business my way, the potential customer shies away, because they are probably irrationally subjective about me, and not accepted as a reliable source.

    For example, my sister-in-law has a nice little gallery over in a tourist town. True, it is a fudge and pottery shop, and somewhat of a retail mismatch. But she could not wait to represent my work in her shop. I was happy to, since her place was as good a hot spot for tourism and art as there is. But her store turned out to be my worst gallery. She is too impressed with me, and chased away sales for three years before I finally yanked the art… and put someone else’s in its place… Bingo, sold three pieces within a few weeks!

    Sometimes, who you know is your worst advocate. People do not trust your sister-in-law or whatever, to make important financial decisions, or to enter into critical contracts. They assume she is prejudiced, even intentionally sugar-coating her endorsement because of familial duty, desperate need, or worse.

    I told my sister in law that we might try some new work later.. if she could swear off gushing everytime someone expressed an interest.

    After all is said and done, they are professionals that BARELY KNOW ME, who met me on the field of commerce, and pass on their contentment with others in their field, that consistently put bread on my table. The rest is delusion, or useless fluff.

    Thanks for your passion to help others.

    Russell Cushman

  2. Doug Francis

    October 26, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Ken, I totally get this… and have been passed over too many times. Get’s me pissed off too! It is a situation that I am currently grappling with and making me think that I must be doing something wrong.

    There is always a lot of self talk, anger, and then acceptance that I must move on to better times.

  3. Joe Loomer

    October 27, 2009 at 3:42 pm


    The be-all, end-all, of crappy Realtor days is the one where you pull up the hot sheet and there’s your best buddy’s house on the market with another firm.

    Then it hits you – when’s the last time you spoke about what you do with your immediate sphere? How many times did you ask them for referrals? How many market reports have you given them for your area? When’s the last time you gave them a fresh stack of business cards?

    Earn the trust, be the expert, prove it, don’t rest on your laurels (or on laurel’s laurels, for that matter). If you’re not proud of your trade, get out of it! If you are proud – scream it from the rooftops !

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  4. Ken Brand

    October 27, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Russel – It’s no picnic. We work hard to build relationships and we do, but if can’t somehow add the steel rebar reinforcement of how we can help people professionally, demonstrate our value, skills, talents, etc., then we’re gonna miss out. It’s a journey not an event. Cheers Russel.

    Doug – I feel you. I routinely come unglued. When I do, I try not to drag others into my pissed off vortex. After I hit the rest button, I focus on what I CAN do, and I do it the best I can. I’m always on the look our for the new little jewel that will deepen, thicken and sweeten my value proposition and people’s remembrance of me. The hard part is doing it with a whisper, not a shout. Keep the faith Doug!

    Joe L. I’m thinking your comment is more succinct than my soupy ramble. It’s exactly like that. Thanks.

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