Momma Said: Don’t Stand Too Close

Posted on March 5, 2013 by

We get lots of calls from real estate investors who want to go with me to see what it’s really like to knock on sellers’ doors.  I got such a call a few weeks back.  The investor flew in and we went door knocking.

Need to back up a minute.  Tom (the investor) and I had a number of conversations before he flew in.  He was having trouble doing deals on a regular basis.  In addition, when he met with sellers, he didn’t feel he was creating any kind of lasting bond with them.

On the phone, Tom seemed like a really nice guy.  Our conversations never dragged.  When it came to real estate and creative deal structuring, he knew what he was talking about.  Also, he was out there beating the bushes and seeing plenty of sellers – but for some reason, they just weren’t responding to him.  I couldn’t understand the problem – that is, I couldn’t understand the problem UNTIL I met with Tom face-to-face.

Do you know those people who don’t have a clue about personal space?  When they talk to you their face is about two inches from your face!  The whole time these “space invaders” talk to you, you feel like you’re slowly doing a backbend!  You can’t get away from these people fast enough, right?

This was Tom!  At our first meeting we were practically nose-to-nose.  Talk about a squirming moment.  I’m surprised I didn’t walk out of my shoes trying to back up enough to create a “normal” space between us.

Point of fact: Even though Tom was a really nice, sincere guy, because he stood too close to me, he made my skin crawl!  I laughed when thinking of my buddy Houston Long.  If Houston had been in my shoes at that moment, he would have already backed up enough to be Alabama bound!

It was time for some shock therapy.  I grabbed Tom by the shoulders and walked him backward four feet, and then I returned to where I had been standing.  There was now a comfortable distance between us.

Tom looked at me with questioning eyes and asked, “Why did you push me back like that?”  I answered, “Tom you’re paying me to find out why sellers aren’t responding to you.  The reason is that you stand WAY too close to people.  You’re invading people’s personal space.  You’re giving them the creeps.  Heck, you’re giving me the creeps!”

The seconds s-l-o-w-l-y ticked by as Tom looked at me during this really awkward moment.  As he searched for something to say, he again walked toward me to close the gap – which again gave me the heebie-jeebies!  Once more, I pushed him back four feet and told him to stay out of my space as we talked.

Tom’s problem required a simple fix.  He needed to learn to not stand too close to people.  For whatever reason, no one in Tom’s circle had pointed this out to him. 

I’m happy to report that with this correction, Tom’s numbers are up.  It’s funny how changing one small thing can make such a big difference!

I’ll always remember one of my mom’s most important lessons: Billy, don’t stand too close to people.

Bill & Kim CookBill & Kim Cook are a husband and wife real estate investing team. They live in Adairsville, Georgia and have been investing in real estate since 1995. They specialize in buying single-family homes, mobile homes and mobile home parks. They also run North Georgia REIA and teach folks how to successfully invest in real estate.


Leave a Reply