Virgil Winston: Marketing Guru

There’s no denying it, America’s economy is on shaky ground. You can’t pick up a newspaper, flip on the TV or tune into talk radio without getting a whiff of sour financial news. We’re hopeful, but our hope is tempered by news of proposed layoffs at GM and more bank bailouts. At least gas prices are falling. Sadly that doesn’t distract us from the fact that the housing market is falling just as fast. As with all bad news, there is a silver lining for potential homebuyers who face a friendlier market—provided their credit is good and their income verifiable. And while it may not be the market it once was, homes are still being bought and sold every day, which means that real estate agents and mortgage lenders are still in business.

My neighbor has been an independent real estate agent for over thirty years, so this is not the first downturn she’s seen and, as she is fond of saying, “I’m still here!” Doris still puts on her “show clothes” and “war paint” to host open houses where she serves coffee, tea and homemade cookies to sweeten the deal. Doris is a smart lady and knows that now is not the time to pull back—she is as gung ho as ever and seems to thrive on adversity. She proudly lives by her mother’s motto, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” As I watch her heft ‘For Sale’ signs into her car, I can see that she is very strong indeed. I am pretty sure I won’t find her knocking on my door asking me to open a jar of pickles. That woman’s biceps are bigger than mine and her will is even stronger.

Just last week, Doris ordered 250 Translucent House Banks imprinted with her company logo and the message, “Don’t Stop Believing (or Saving)!” She plans to distribute them to all of her clients and potentials as a reminder that buying a home is not out of reach. She also placed an order for 500 house shaped Oz Stress Balls because she knows that both sellers and buyers have more than the usual amount of stress to deal with these days and she wants to remind them that she is here to help. The point is, Doris refuses to give up or be defeated and continues to persevere as she has for thirty some odd years…with a smile on her face and a pithy saying on her lips.

We can all take a lesson from my entrepreneurial neighbor and, “Laugh through the hard stuff—it doesn’t make it any easier, but you’ll have a lot more fun.” Well, I’m off to the gym—I don’t like it, but I’m going to smile anyway.