I see you


I learned a new word today.

The word is from the Zulu language of South Africa and it is Sawubona. It means “I see you”. It is a form of greeting but it goes much deeper than that. It’s not that ‘I see you in front or me’ or ‘I see you approaching me’ and I’m saying ‘hi’ but rather, I see you for who you truly are, for where you come from. This is missing for most of us in our day to day lives.

No one really sees us for who we are.

It’s an illusion.

illusion photo


The greeting is an exchange. It starts with another word, Sikhona which means “I am here to be seen” and the reply is Sawubona or “I see you”.

For more details on the greeting and how you can use it check out this article but hang with me for a minute. I want to share a thought of how this relates to working in real estate.

This is how I work. I’m a real estate agent who has worked by referral from my very first day in the business. If that sound impossible to you, my story starts in 2003 and it was my goal to work by referral. I wanted to help people and I knew it had to come from a relationship and trust and that does not happen in a cold call or an expired listing call. That is about me not the ones I wanted to help.

I have never made a cold call.

I have never called an expired listing.

Not once.

Can you help people by making cold calls? Sure, but it’s hard because they don’t trust you. You’re just a voice in the phone and they have no idea who you are. Expired listings are the same. It’s one voice out of the 40-50 they hear on the day it expires and they don’t know your true motive and they have no reason to trust you at all. It does not have to be that way and I think it can set you apart to earn the trust first.

Earning trust is not quick but it can be really productive. You don’t need to call 100 people to get an appointment. You don’t need to absorb all that rejection and negativity to get to one ‘yes’ if you work by referral. In our market, a single agent can do 20 transactions a year and make a decent living. If your business is coming to you by referrals then you have time to build real relationships. To see people for who they are and I know it is something they desire. To be seen. To be known is what we all really want.

All the talk about the ‘disrupters’ in Zillow, Knock or OfferPad or all the other start ups and billboard bottom feeders are going after the low hanging fruit and it’s a small portion of the over all business. NAR says that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts from previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal clients. 89% of buyers and 85% of sellers would use their agent again or refer them to others.

That means the disrupters are going after 18% and I say, let them have it!

I’m not going to try for any of that business. I do occasionally get a call from a stranger but it’s rare. They find me on the internet or call from a sign I have out and if that connection develops trust they get added to my sphere of influence. It accounts for about 5% of my business. Most of my calls are folks I know and who will answer the phone when they see my name pop up when I call them.

They know I care about them. It’s not about the money but they know my business works on referrals and they are generous with them. They trust me to care for their friends and family and to know I will take the time to see them. To hear them. Working this way will protect you from the disrupters.

If you want to know more about working by referral from day one then check this out.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson



Photo by archer10 (Dennis) 117M Views