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  • Writer's pictureMaj-Britt Johnson

Justice and kindness are "Value Addeds"

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

In building this business I try to pick a lot of brains, because there are millions of people out there who know more than I do about a lot of things. One consistent message I get is: you have to add value to the lives of your clients.

What value are you adding? one person asked me recently. I went on a long riff about how there's this other real estate referral company out there, one that advertises nationally, that does what I do, sort of. They say they will find you an agent, that they have a big database. I'm sure they do. I've been approached by them. Probably every agent in the world has. Their email asked nothing about me at all, they just wanted to add my name to their database. I said no. Basically, they're name collectors.

Then, a year or so later I'm googling myself, like we're supposed to do every so often to find out how our name is being misused, and sure enough, there is my name, on their website. I was in the Durham/Chapel Hill real estate market then. If you google me, you'll find my name next to a picture of a 35 year old blonde bombshell. Tells you what they're selling. And that's unfair to her too. I'm sure whoever she is, she has no idea her visual identity has been stolen (in service of a stereotype no less).

I've tried to contact them several times, no answer. Next stop: Better Business Bureau.

Anyway, my point to my friend was this: I'm not about collecting names of people I don't know. I do my research. I offer connection and verified expertise. My approach is personal, one on one. I am committed to making sure my growing pool of referral partners is diverse. And, I told him, all of that is what is getting lost in the world, as more power and wealth is concentrated at the top. When you call that collector of names to give you a referral to an agent, money is moving upstream, not down. It should be about the wider network of relationships, just like my ministry was. But, he said, people are busy, they want what's easiest. If they can just click a button...

I've been mulling that over, for at least the past week. And here's what I'm thinking. My real estate coach says "your vibe attracts your tribe." I hope that's true. I hope my vibe is one of creativity, justice, fairness, mutual aid, connection, a love for this planet, and most of all, the value of "we're all in this together - so person to person matters." If you want to click your way into the black hole of anonymity, using A Light in the Window is not your best option. Neither is your local bookstore. Neither is your local food coop, or your local clothing store, or pharmacy. If your values are like mine: making the world a more just and kinder place, and strengthening the bonds of mutuality, then clicking on A Light in the Window will add not just value, but values, when you (or someone you refer) is in search of a new home in this world .

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