A “Klock” that’s still ticking

record-front.jpgI never cease to be amazed at what, and who, you can find on the Internet – and the sometimes unexpected connections you can make.

About a month ago, I was at my friend Jacqueline’s yard sale and naturally gravitated to the small box of old vinyl records. One of my finds that day was a quirky-looking disk containing a motivational sales speech by one Joseph P. Klock, of Coral Gables, Florida, about selling real estate and how to find new listings. There was no year indicated, but it looked to be from the 60’s and was just bursting with kitsch value.

Getting home and putting it on the turntable, I found it to actually be a pretty good listen. Joe Klock was an engaging speaker and his humour had the audience in regular fits of laughter. There were just a few subtle hints as to when it was recorded – references to card files, mimeograph machines, and such – but the principles he talked about still seemed to hold up quite well.

I studied this record, with its black-and-white artwork, photo of young Joseph Klock, and also its quirky crest-like logo referring to Klock as “The Aardvark Man”, and I wondered if I could find out anything more about this guy. So of course it was off to the Web!

First to come up in my search was Joseph Klock Jr. – apparently a big-time lawyer in Florida who was involved in George Bush’s legal wranglings around the 2000 election results. That was a good bit of trivia, and I thought it might be as close as I’d get.

Then I found joeklock.com.

Joe Klock is 80-something years of age, and has had a very successful career: “fifty-plus years of experience in sales, management, training, lecturing and counseling.” And he’s still going strong – with a syndicated column, books and CD’s and of course the website.

So I wrote him!

The next day his reply was in my in-box. Clearly his wit and sense of humour is still very much intact, as evident in his replies to my various questions and comments. He quoted my letter in his reply, so I present it here for your enjoyment.

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Greetings Mr. Klock!

I’m so pleased to have found you thanks to the wild and wonderful Internet. How indeed did we ever live without it!

Good question. BETTER one, how to live WITH it!

A few weeks back, I was at my friend’s yard sale and, as always, I made a beeline for the vinyl records. One item jumped out of the pack as something offbeat and unique – a disk called “Selling Real Estate: Where and How to Find Listings”… by none other than yourself, Joseph P. Klock!

It is also featured in landfills throughout the world.

I’m in no way connected to the real estate industry or even in sales particularly, but it seemed like an interesting artifact of a particular era, probably the early to mid 60’s, I figured. I happily placed it on the old turntable when I returned home.

I was frankly a bit surprised to find that it was still a great listen after all these years, quite entertaining, and in fact the principles you discuss are still very much valid! Of course the functional details of keeping track of potential contacts have become way more sophisticated, but the underlying ideas are certainly the same. (Your smooth delivery and radio-friendly voice didn’t hurt either!)

Thanks for those kind words. I agree that the basics have changed little with the advances in technology. Real estate is still a contact sport.

Anyway, I see from your website that this disk has long since been supplanted by more contemporary offerings, but I thought you’d be pleased to know that something you put together quite some time back was still providing enjoyment to someone out there.

More than pleased…it made my day.

There’s more: what should fall out of the jacket but a somewhat vintage-looking card indicating membership in the Calgary Real Estate Board! So, not only did the record end up in Vancouver – just about the opposite end of North America from your home base – but before that it was clearly used by a real estate professional in Alberta. Your words of wisdom seem to have travelled far and wide, and clear across Canada!

Among many speaking engagements in Canada, I fondly remember visits to Calgary and Edmonton, including one unforgettable Klondike Night, from which I almost didn’t recover.

This is also a golden opportunity for me to inquire a little more about some details of that recording. When was it made? (There was no indication of a year anywhere, but judging from the look of it and some clues in your presentation, it seems to be the mid-60’s.)

Probably recorded then, but the 33-1/3 you found was a later re-pressing after we moved to Florida in 1969.

Where was the presentation done? (The audience can be heard laughing at your humourous asides throughout.) Was this your first-ever such recording?

Not sure where, but I’m guessing it was in Ohio. Info might be buried in the archives back in Florida (we summer in NH). It WAS at a live seminar, but not the first one. Earlier, I recorded “Selling Real Estate, BIT by BIT,” the “BIT” being an acronym for “Business is good, I am the best damned salesman in the world and This buyer will buy.”

record-back.jpgAnd finally, perhaps the biggest question of all: what’s the “Aardvark Man” business all about? There must be a story there…

The Aardvark has been a trademark of mine for more than 50 years. Its story is told in this prefatory passage in my book, “The Real World Of Selling Real Estate.”

About the Aardvark

Now, then—regarding the cartoon character who graces the cover of this book and festoons its inner pages:

I have heard and read many descriptions of the “ideal” real estate salesperson, but the one I like best describes not a human, but an obscure mammal called the Aardvark.

Not, by far, the most glamorous of creatures, its characteristics may, nevertheless, be a standard by which marketing skills can be measured. Supportive observations follow.

(NB: Although the neuter gender is being used here, the following description applies to both sexes):

A notable feature of the Aardvark is its large, sensitive, pointed nose, which is quite useful, since it exists by constant sniffing and burrowing.

It has a long, extendible tongue, which is often observed hanging out, indicative of a constant hunger.

Its large, rabbit-like ears and penetrating eyes are ever on the alert for new opportunities.

Although not highly regarded as a sprinter, it can, when motivated, move with astonishing speed.

It operates comfortably and efficiently at night, when its sources of sustenance are most available.

Powerful claws and enormous energy contribute to its efficiency in digging for opportunities and hanging on to its prey. It has a tail, which it energetically, but seldom sits on while pursuing its occupation.

Even as you and I, the Aardvark has shortcomings, but its positive attributes constitute admirable assets for selling in a competitive market.

In its present image, the Aardvark first appeared in the late 1950s, after its rendition by famed author, artist and party animal Jack (The Bear) Hebenstreit, who now scribbles, sketches and scotches in active retirement at Buxton, NC. Thanks to Jack for midwifing my unique trademark.

It (the Aardvark, that is) accompanied me on the learn-and-lecture circuit over five continents, appearing in publications throughout the Free World before entering the extended hibernation from which it emerges with this book.

In the following opusette, the author salutes this noble beast and its human counterparts, especially those who inspired and/or contributed to the contents hereof.

At any rate, I’m just thrilled to have located you on the Web and to have the opportunity to contact you.

Good of you to do so, Adam!

Thanks and all the best from Vancouver, Canada!

A beautiful city, indeed, which I have visited several times. Thank YOU, Adam, for your interest and kind words. Best from here to there!

Joe Klock, Sr.

One thought on “A “Klock” that’s still ticking

  1. Hi Adam,
    how fascinating to see your e mail and Mr. Klock’s responses.
    you really did make his day!
    TTYS,
    David

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