The importance of personal relationships and the art of conversation sometimes become lost in today’s fast paced world of information overload and social media pressure. I’m on Facebook and I rely on a variety of websites, electronic data and drone videos to help with my business, but my primary focus will always continue to be on personal relationships and face-to-face contacts. Relationship building is a lot like farming, an introduction is a seed, and with care and the right nurturing environment, those seeds blossom into friendships that grow and become stronger with time. My spring activity is a reflection of the importance of some of the personal connections in my life and in my business.
I have a couple of land auctions coming up in late February/early March—one in Barton County near Great Bend and one in Saline County, just a few miles northwest of Salina. As I’ve traveled to those counties to meet with title companies and lenders and county clerks in those areas, the folks I’ve met have been extremely friendly and helpful, and a few have asked how I come to be doing business that far away from home.
The auction in Great Bend came to me from a relationship I have with a banker from Lawrence who now works in Kansas City. I sold a parcel of land for him and his family a few years back. When one of his clients in their trust department needed to sell their farm, he called on me to see if I could help. It’s not a large parcel, but it solves a problem for my banker friend, and he is able to work with someone he trusts and with whom he has had a good experience in the past.
The auction near Salina came about with a phone call from a longtime friend who had given a toast at my wedding more than 20 years ago. Today our friend lives in New Mexico, but when it was time for him to sell his farm, he considered me to be his Realtor. Once we had discussed the particulars of his situation, my next step was to rely on another relationship, one I had developed through the RLI (Realtors Land Institute) network, to partner with a local auctioneer if that is the best marketing method for this parcel of farm land.
The personal relationships I have grown and nurtured throughout my career are the common thread running through all of these scenarios, and are the reason I am licensed in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Oklahoma. I used my Nebraska license a few years ago when a client from my commercial real estate days called me to ask if I could represent him in the purchase of an industrial building in rural Nebraska to house a farm implement dealership. Because I am licensed there I was able to help him be successful in purchasing the property. He has since told me that his family owns several hundred acres in Oklahoma and when the time comes, he would like for me to sell that for him as well. Another banker friend has told me the same thing about their family farm in Nebraska.
I am now in my 32nd year of brokerage, and feel extremely fortunate to have established so many wonderful relationships throughout my career, not just for “the deal” but also for the value of the friendship that comes along with it. My focus continues to be helping my friends and clients with their farm and ranch real estate needs; regardless of whether it’s here at home or it involves a road trip. We may use cell phones to talk, computers to do research, and scanners to share documents, but nothing replaces the joy and personal connection of a firm handshake at the end of the day.