One of my mentors in commercial real estate used to say “If you give, you will get.” He would walk through the halls asking how much we were donating to The United Way each year. He felt so strongly about it because he understood the power of giving and he wanted us to understand it as well. Over the last 20 years I have had some great years, good years and some tough years. In the good years, I wrote checks to charity – they were easy to write. When the “Great Recession” hit, I gave my time – coaching, participating on boards, etc., but I still wrote checks – they were tougher to write. When he first told me this, years ago, I would write the check and then look for the good things to come. And sure enough, good things would come (a call out of nowhere leading to a sale, or a new listing, etc.)! My Mentor was correct. When I write checks to charity, especially when they are tough to write, something good always comes my way. I am not sure why this happens but I chalk it up to the same force that creates interest in a property that hasn’t had a single showing for months and, due to one call or showing, a slew of interest ensues. No activity, show it one time and all of a sudden, I have two or three agents wanting to sell it. Very strange. But activity brings activity. The truth is, I don’t give to get. I give because it’s the right thing to do, it feels good and I finally have enough knowledge and contacts in this business to help those who might have major problems and need my services.
My grandfather was a country doctor. I would hear stories about him taking care of patients who didn’t have money to pay him – nor did he expect it. But soon after a procedure or surgery, they would show up with eggs, milk, chickens, pigs, whatever they could bring to show their appreciation. He was a man that took care of those who needed help no matter their financial situation. I hope I have gotten some of that from him. I’m not comparing myself to a Doctor, but I take the lesson he taught me by spending time with those who have a dream of opening a business but maybe don’t have the means to start it or to sustain those dreams. I listen to them, I meet them at properties and I give them my time and the benefit of my knowledge or direct them to those who may be able to help. I help those who might be upside down on a piece of property and need help getting out of it (knowing I will have to be creative to get paid, or forgo a commission altogether). I do this whether I am having a great year or a slow year. This might not be the best business plan, but I feel good about it.
In this early onset of the holiday season, I would suggest that you include giving your time, resources and expertise to those who need help as part of next year’s goals. I don’t judge who is deserving and who is not, I just give when I believe help is needed. For me, this takes any hesitation out of the equation.
I hope you all have a Great Thanksgiving!
About Steve Legendre, CCIM – Steve is a 1990 graduate of the University of New Orleans holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Business. Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission in 1995, Legendre has focused solely on commercial real estate and was awarded theCCIM designation by the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute in May of 2001. Legendre is a consistent multi-million dollar producer specializing in land, industrial office and investment transactions. In August of 2014, Legendre joined SVN | GLL as partner and Managing Broker. If you would like to contact Steve, you can call him at 225-367-1515, email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @svngll.