Lessons a Real Estate Broker Learned from His Dog

Steve Donosky is a great grandson of Henry S. Miller, Sr. With Thanksgiving and the holidays upon us, we at Henry S. Miller always take stock of our blessings and recommit ourselves to the values this company was established with and has practiced for more than 100 years. In this post, Steve recalls those values with the help of Gunner, a loyal, trustworthy and hard-working family pet. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Henry S. Miller!

Gunner became a member of our family about four years ago. We’ve always had a family dog, but Gunner is my first dog. His adoption was the result of winning the big auction at a sporting clays competition—perhaps with the help of a couple of beers. Reporting the news about winning the auction to my wife on the way home as I looked at Gunner in the adjacent car seat did not go exactly as expected. After a week or so we were allowed to move back into the house from the garage apartment, at which point Gunner’s adoption became official.

Since then, we gave Gunner a home, but he has given us so much more. For me, he has become a companion and an example of characteristics I want to emulate at home and at the office. In fact, when Gunner and I walk in the mornings, I often think about the day ahead and how I can apply lessons he demonstrates to my work. Here are five that are keys to success in real estate and part of the culture here at Henry S. Miller.

 Lesson #1 – Trustworthiness and Friendship.   Your pet is trusting and devoted to you no matter what you do or how you perform. They are happy to see you no matter how your day has been. Everyone in the family may be busy doing something else, but Gunner is always excited and there to greet me when I walk in the door. He is a true friend.

At Henry S. Miller, we strive to build lasting relationships. We want the people we work with inside and outside the company to know that they can trust and depend on us first as friends and second as business partners. We purposefully put their interests above ours.

Lesson #2 – Loyalty. Pets are 100 percent loyal and will put your well-being and safety above their own. Gunner is fearless when it comes to defending us and would put his life on the line to protect his family. If only loyalty was as predominant in business and politics today, how much more successful we would be.

Clients can depend on HSM loyalty because of our commitment to relationship oriented business practice – we highly value repeat business. Equally important as loyalty to our clients is loyalty to our employees, associates, investors, lenders, vendors, invitees and others we do business with. One of our associates just celebrated his 41st year with the company – quite a rarity in the real estate business.

Lesson #3 – Focus and Determination. Gunner has realized what he was born to do – hunt. Just hearing the word “bird” or “squirrel” will ignite his hunting instincts. Gunner pops into alert mode and hunting he wants to go. Even with rare successes, he remains all-in committed, focused, and determined to catch a bird or squirrel because he knows his purpose, and doing it brings him tremendous satisfaction. Distractions do not get him off track.

Perseverance and determination work the same way in business. One of the guiding HSM principles is to never quit, offer excuses or whine. Simply know your client’s needs, be committed to help resolve their issues, and assist them in achieving their goals.

Lesson #4 – Teamwork. Gunner likes to work alongside his buddies, which helps him become more successful. He’s learning to bird hunt from older more experienced bird dogs. One day he’ll be the experienced one and be able to show the rookie bird dogs how to hunt. The Bible says wisdom comes from a plurality of elders.

At HSM, commitment to teamwork helps us serve our clients more successfully. We experience synergies that come from teamwork and often team wiser and experienced brokers with more youthful teammates that bring energy and enthusiasm. Teamwork multiplies the eyes and ears in marketing, closings and deal prospecting, and therefore drums up more successful projects.

Lesson #5 – Decompress and Relax. Gunner works hard, but he also equally enjoys playing and relaxing. Whether he’s playing or relaxing, he’s as 100 percent committed as he is when working. Some of his favorite activities are going on walks, to the dog park, boating and afternoon naps in the sun.

Similarly, relaxation and hobbies help to compartmentalize work and make us more productive, recharge our batteries and return to the job refreshed. At Henry S. Miller we sponsor a golf tournament in the spring every year, which offers a fun venue to mix with clients and at the same time raise funding for charity.

The information contained in this article is general in nature and should not be construed as financial, tax or legal advice.  As with any financial or legal matter, consult your tax advisor and legal counsel.