As I wrote about in my last blog, social media is only icing on the cake, and cannot be your sole source for making contacts and generating new clients. Here’s a story I hope makes you want to put your feet on the pavement and market to people in person.
On the Fourth of July holidays, I head out with eight-by-12-inch American flags and stick them in the front of my neighbor’s houses, attempting to show my American spirit. The flags add a unique uniform look to my communities. I get hot, sweaty and eaten alive by mosquitoes, but after this year’s holiday, I definitely know it’s worth it.
I usually hit my market areas in Midtown, Montrose and The Woodlands, and this year, I reached more than 1,000 people with my American flags.
In the back of my mind, I always want to meet neighbors and strike up a conversation – this year, I came across a woman with one heck of a story. As I walked down the street placing flags in yards, I approached an older woman watering her plants. I was a little nervous, because I didn’t want to startle her, so I tried to be sincere. I asked her if I may place a flag in her front yard.
She said yes and quickly asked if I was the person who had recently placed a flag in her yard over Memorial Day. My first thought was that I’m probably about to get into trouble for something I hadn’t previously asked permission to do. But to my relief it was nothing of the sort. The lady introduced herself as Jean. She asked if I had served in the military and if this was my reason for placing the flags around the community.
I replied by saying no, I have never served, but I felt like it was a great way to show community support for our troops and those currently serving to protect our freedoms.
Jean then said, “Do you know what the American flag means to me, Cody? My father died heroically serving our country; my husband died heroically serving our country; and my two sons are currently overseas protecting our great country.”
If you would have taken a snapshot of my face it probably would have been an image of amazement. I sat down on Jean’s porch and listened as she told me how proud she was to have raised, married and been a daughter to those who sacrificed all they had to protect our liberties.
Jean teared up a bit and said, “Cody, I wouldn’t change any of it, because I’m proud of my family doing their American duty. People often forget what it takes for freedom, and it’s not free of heartache.”
Goosebumps literally raised across my arms and legs.
Jean provided me with an image of our American flag standing for honor, courage and resilience. I was blown away by what Jean has overcome in her lifetime. But she sat next to me as proud as her own description of the American flag. After our conversation, she thanked me for taking the time to place flags out and asked if she could have four flags representing all of her family members who have served.
Without skipping a beat, I gave Jean the flags she requested, thanked her for her amazing story and headed down the road delivering more flags to the community.
As I walked away Jean yelled out, “Cody, keep doing what you are doing, you have the American soul!”
I never would have thought one dollar in flags would have produced such an amazing moment.
Needless to say, I walked a little taller after meeting Jean.
We focus so heavily on social media and technology we sometimes forget what it is like to sit down with someone and be enlighten by listening. My fingers work great for social media but my feet have put me in position for a moment I’ll never forget. Taking the time to meet and shake hands with people can lead to unforeseen opportunities and relationships.
Cody Phillips is an agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene in Houston’s Inner Loop and The Woodlands. He can be reached at: