55 years ago I helped put together a 12 page New England Real Estate Journal. I knew nothing about publishing. I knew nothing about selling ads. I knew nothing about interviewing people. Actually, as I recall, my career had been as a radio disc jockey, so I knew a lot about Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, and Percy Faith.
Getting back to publishing newspapers, I discovered that timing and luck are most important in any endeavors one undertakes. By the early 1960s only one skyscraper had been built in Boston in the past 25 years. One shopping center had been built. One industrial park built. No nursing homes. Condominiums had not been thought of. And no city’s economic development corp.’s had been founded.
Marty Berman’s father was just beginning to successfully Bermanize (clean up) old apartment buildings and selling them, and Maurice Gordon was buying up beat up buildings in Roxbury, fixing them up, and either selling them or renting them. That would lead him to doing the same thing in downtown Boston, and successfully becoming the number one real estate mogul in the area.
Thanks to a guy named Bob Lewis who immediately became my sales teacher. He just fortunately dropped by one day looking for a job and was the greatest salesman I ever met. His teacher had been Earl Nightingale, if anyone remembers him. Nightingale was on national radio at noon for five minutes revealing sales tips. From these teachers I learned that if you make personal goals for yourself (and you better do that) write the goals down on your bathroom mirror, your office wall, your girlfriend’s forehead, etc, etc, etc. Daily you will look at your goals and over time you will achieve your goals. I did that and it worked. And I’ll never forget the greatest sale I ever made. Fifty-one years ago Bob Lewis and I drove all the way to Cape Cod one nice summer day and visited a very successful real estate mogul, Rene Poyant. He listened to our sales pitch and very politely sent us into the man who handled his company’s marketing. “Give these boys what they want,” he told the Poyant marketing person.
So we sold him a very inexpensive ad on the weekly New England Real Estate Journal’s Referral Network listing his company exclusively representing Cape Cod. And another ad on the cover of the weekly Classified Billboard in the upper left hand corner, 55 years later both spaces are still filled weekly by Rene L. Poyant LLC.
Thank you Mr. Lewis and thank you Mr. Poyant, neither still with us, but I am sure still watching and guiding us every day. And both of them were a very important part of how the New England Real Estate Journal became the largest weekly commercial real estate newspaper in the country.