A Love Affair Begins with Trust. Ever since I can remember, I've had a love affair with horses. When I was in the 7th grade, I started a horse club with my girlfriends and we invented imaginary horses and gave them names. Mine was Bronco. We embroidered pictures of horses along with their names on our shirts and imagined ourselves riding bareback into the sunset. I've always been a dreamer, but secretly I knew I would have my own horse one day.
Twenty years later, I bought two quarter horses, Rosie and Little Joe. Rosie was a big girl at 17 hands and had a calm and pleasant demeanor. She had a red roan coat with a beautiful mane that I loved to brush. She was a pleasure to ride and was the perfect partner on the trail. I thought we'd be joined at the saddle forever, but fate had something else in mind.
Rosie's shorter and stockier counterpart, Little Joe, was a paint gelding at 15.5 hands. He had a paranoid personality and would freak out on the trail, thinking every plastic bag in the desert was out to get him. Little Joe was a project in dire need of love and attention. While I've never run from a challenge, I really didn't have the time necessary to devote to Joe, as my life was pretty hectic back then. I was working full-time as a Sales Rep for SmithKline Beecham in Southern California and I was commuting 5000 miles a month. I had two kids to cart back and forth to private school, baseball games and dance lessons. And on top of that, I hosted Japanese foreign exchange students and I lived on acreage with a host of animals to care for.
When it came time to attend to Little Joe's needs, I just wanted to say... 'Come on Joe, be a man and suck it up.' But, something my mother used to say rang in my ears... 'Those that are hardest to love, need love the most.' That was certainly true with Little Joe... he had issues. While he didn't enjoy taking commands, he especially didn't enjoy taking them from men. Joe was a man hater. Any time a man came within inches of him, he'd freak out and give the look of death. I never understood until several years later, why Joe was so skiddish with men. All I knew was that Little Joe needed someone to give him a major dose of love, understanding and patience... which were just the ingredients I possessed.
You can kick and scream at a horse to get them to move in a direction you want them to go... or you can come along side them and slowly build trust, showing them the way. I chose the latter with Joe. I approached him gently and waited for his approval to move closer. I spoke to him in soft tones and sang him sweet lullabies. I remained calm with my requests and I complimented him when he listened. He came to know my voice and learned to trust my instinct. And from there, we developed a friendship of mutual respect and admiration. And so it is with love affairs.
As Realtors, we want our clients to love us. We want our clients to trust us. We want our clients to listen to us. We want there to be a mutual respect between us. As with any relationship, we need to be willing to build a solid foundation first for these things to happen. Trust is the investment... requiring our time, energy and resources. It's the critical corner stone to all good relationships. Love is the dividend... the gift that keeps on giving. It's the residual paycheck for caring in a big way. If you want to build your business... start by building trust (if you build it... they will come). Then and only then, will the love affair begin.