Just Shut Up Training for Real Estate Investors

by | BiggerPockets.com

My loveable Grandpa Leroy Martin Boardman went by the nickname ‘Gabby’. It was bestowed upon him because of his remarkable gift for gab. Grandpa Boardman would opine, debate, discuss and pontificate with anyone in earshot. His pulpit was a counter stool at the Beacon Diner in downtown Belvidere, Illinois, population 23,000. The men who would gather there for morning eggs, toast and coffee were subjected to my grandfather’s talks on politics, business, religion, farming and family. On Sundays, he hung out at Ike’s Cigar Store where he’d play pinochle and take the opposite point of view in every conversation. He would argue just for the sake of arguing.

I share my Grandpa Boardman’s insatiable desire to communicate, and debate with the masses. It’s in my DNA. But over the years I’ve learned the hard way that in business, and in personal relationships, success is not achieved by talking. History demonstrates the great ones, from Jesus to Benjamin Franklin to Abraham Lincoln, were all extraordinary listeners.

This is why I’ve spent the last 4 years training myself to shut up. No one ever learns, or earns much, by talking or arguing.

To begin the process, I bought Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ on audio CD. I listened to it in my car and on my iPod, over and over and over again. Since 2008, I’ve heard it about a dozen times. Still, genetics are very hard to overcome. Sometimes my instincts take over and it’s blah, blah, blah, blah, and more blah.

So, whenever I get the urge to debate, interrupt, or generally just talk for the sake of talking, I pop one of Dale Carnegie’s CDs in my car and listen to the entire book – again. The results that follow are often miraculous. After struggling with some excessive gabbiness in the month of August I decided it was time for another dose of Dale. With a renewed commitment to keeping my lips sealed and my ears open several new opportunities came up, including:

  • A $650,000 commitment from a new equity partner.
  • A possible strategic alliance with a successful real estate investment group.
  • Even more hugs and kisses from my daughters, who seem to be more consciously aware than anyone that I’m really paying attention to what they have to say.

One could argue that I would have gotten these same results with or without my mouth shut. But something deep down inside me says otherwise. And so does Dale Carnegie, who once said, “The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don’t like their rules, whose would you use?”

About Author

Marty (G+) is the Chief Financial Officer for Rising Sun Capital Group, LLC, a real estate investment firm based in Gilbert, AZ. His firm purchases homes at the courthouse steps and public REO auctions. They have two exit strategies, either fix and flip or seller financing.


  1. Silence is sometimes golden as you have recently proven. Often times we are urged by hard sell individuals to take action. In reality,, there are times when not taking action or zipping the lips get more results.


    • Dale, silence is awkward for many people. They need to fill the empty spaces with words. I’m embarrassed to admit I still do this from time to time. The irony is if we keep quiet, even if it feels a little strange, we actually appear more engaged to the speaker.

  2. Great article Marty. I have been listening to Jimmy Napier & Tom Hopkins lately and they both express the importance of silence. Not a week goes by that I dont talk to a seller or a possible listing client that I dont find myself going on and on. One specific area I am working on now is to listen to what one is saying rather than concentrating on my reply so much I miss what they are saying. Thank you for the article to help me refocus in that area and to buy ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’.

    • Gary, I’m guilty of “going on and on” in a conversation too. It is an illness commonly referred to as diarrhea of the mouth. I know you will enjoy How to Win Friends and Influence People. Dale Carnegie is the authority on understanding people.

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