Who Left That Notepad?


People are always surprised to learn that Janelle and I distribute our notepads. I guess they never really thought about it or just figured we hired someone to do it for us. Well here is the skinny. We pass out, as we call it, about 6,000 pads about every other month. It has been our business commitment and model for decades and one of the best motivators I have ever encountered. While other salespeople are sitting in the office telling stories, jokes and wasting time, we would get out of the office and get into our field of endeavor. Realtors are in the neighborhood and home business. So that’s what we do. In our neighborhood marketing area we have experienced almost every house porch, drive-way and landscaping. It is amazing how well you get to know people, houses and neighborhoods when you walk from one to the next and do it for years.

This form of business generation takes dedication, commitment and a great deal of effort. But I have found it to be amazing. Seems hard even for me to believe but we estimate that we have distributed easily over a half-million pads over the years. Wow! My first notepad or scratchpad use started many years ago in California. When I started as a new salesperson, the broker told me to get out and knock on doors. This was the old Fuller brush marketing model that had worked for years. It seemed kind of funky to me and I did not really want to do it. As it turned out our office was next to a laundry matt in a tourist area of town. The salespeople boasted about all the walk-in customers when I started working there. You got a 4 hour shift 3 days a week. People did come in and frequently. But it did not take me long to find out that they came in while their laundry was washing and drying. They were bored and could ask lots of questions about real estate to waste your time and pass theirs. It took me only a few days of this farce to figure out that door knocking sounded better and better.

So suit, tie and leather shoes here I go. I picked a great neighborhood in the country on half-acre lots and went door to door. The first couple of days passed with “Hi I’m Cliff Carey and I was wondering if you would like to sell your home?” Pretty cool right? Well on the third or fourth day a retired gentlemen knocked me over with “YES I DO, would you like to come in?” I was so green I freaked out. I walked around his house, which was wonderful, not knowing what to do or say. So I set an appointment for next day so I could figure out my next steps back at office. This turned out to be one of the most amazing learning experiences for my future career, but that will be for another story since this one is about notepads.

Needless to say I thought that this door knocking business was going to be a snap. But giving a business card with my name written in ink seemed lame and I wanted something cooler. A friend, that was a pharmaceutical sales rep, gave me a couple of pads that he left at Doctor’s offices. He said that he gave hundreds of them when he made sales calls. I had also seen cute scratch pads in a hotel. So I found a printer and designed my first pad which was a cutie about 4”x5”. I was now off and running with a notepad and a card. I soon evolved to neighborhoods where houses were closer together and I could become the most knowledgeable and successful Realtor in that area.

People are still surprised that we pass out our notepads. We walk between 3 to 10 miles each time we deliver the notepads. It is a great way to know the neighborhood and stay in shape. After many years, the notepad styles and delivery have changed. Janelle no longer puts the kids in a red wagon and goes up and down street handing out. But for over 30 years, hundreds of worn out shoes and well over a thousand sales, we are working on the next half million pads.


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