The Millionaire Next Door

The Benefit of an Open Book Policy

Mrs. Lang, my first Sunday school teacher, often said:

You should always do your best.  Everything you do in this life is recorded in a big book. . . . and some day in the next life you will be judged on how you behaved on this earth.


And success often goes to those whose business practices are “an open book.”  I was reminded of this as I read an article in The New York Times about the current state of the residential real estate market here in Atlanta.  


A dismal distinction in housing: with worst market in 2011. . . .That distinction goes to Atlanta. . .

Luxury homes that never sold . . . inundated with foreclosed properties.

Atlanta has the most government owned foreclosed properties for sale . . . .


The author also highlighted foreclosures not only in the Atlanta area in general but more specifically in Cobb County/Marietta, Georgia.  Ah, Marietta, that rings a bell with me as part of my research of high income producing extraordinary sales professionals.  Many of them are in the real estate industry.  I interviewed several Marietta based mega producers during the last up market for real estate.  Some suggested that Mr. M, a home builder, be added to my “must interview” list of economically successful people.  Mr. M’s profile is more important today during this down market than it was even when I first interviewed him.

Note that not all builders in Atlanta have closed their business in spite of current conditions here.  There is a special kind of builder who can succeed even in a depressed market.  According to a more recent article published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution  [March 4, 2012], there were 53,410 new homes sold in 2005.  In 2011, there were only 7,664 new homes sold .

While I was digesting these facts, I thought of Mr. M.  On my daily commute with my dog, Lily, to our favorite park, I see signs and building permits at construction sites which read “This Home Being Constructed by Mr. M and Company.”  How can it be that Mr. M’s business is flourishing?  Even in a down market some some people have more than enough money to have homes built for them.  Mr. M has a reputation for building homes of very high quality.  


One of Mr. M’s competitive advantages is his “Open Book Policy.”  All of his prospective home buyers receive more than a building proposal.  They are given a complete list of the names, addresses, and phone numbers of every family for whom Mr. M has built a home.  Yes, all 163 of his growing list of customers.


A long track record for delivering a quality product combined with his outstanding reputation with those in his “open book” explains how Mr. M succeeds in a miserable market.  Also it has something to do with how Mr. M looks at a so-called down market.  Call it adversity.   View adversity as an opportunity to strengthen your resolve and enhance your reputation. 

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