BY ARI LAHDEKORPI
The real estate profession has the power to make anyone committed to the job a better person. It's almost a necessity. It seems that the best Realtors are those who are able to work through the foibles of personal demotivation, ridicule, stress, and disappointment…and still come out on top.
Because real estate is a people business above all else, there is a built-in incentive to take the “high road” in the interpersonal minefield we sometimes find ourselves tip-toeing through. After all, interpersonal relationships and networking are the core of a successful real estate career. The levels of trust and co-operation needed to be a successful Realtor extend from the interoffice politics within the brokerage, to the interbrokerage dynamics within a community, and then onto the streets dealing with the general public.
Our normal reactions and emotions must be kept in check for the betterment of the long-term professional life.
For example, consider this: Your best friend or a close relative doesn't inform you of his intention to upgrade his residence. You find out through reading the real estate periodicals. Obviously, your first tendency is to be upset and take it as a personal affront. Your options are: 1) Call him up and let him know how you feel; 2) Never speak to him again, or “punish him” in some way; or 3) Ignore the situation and carry on.
While your first tendency is to be upset or hurt, if you call him up, he will get defensive and of course you will be the bad guy. Seeing you as a victim is not an option in their mind because then they must face the possibility that they did you wrong…and no one wants to admit that they have wronged a Realtor. Believe me!
If you never speak to them again, you have just written off a lot of potential business. Remember that everyone is a potential customer in real estate. That was one of the great truths about real estate that drew me to this sales career over other sales opportunities. The potential in this business is not limited by anything but your own initiative.
If you ignore the situation and take the high road, you may get the business eventually, and maybe even some future referrals, but more importantly you have not sacrificed a human relationship for the love of money. One important rule of thumb is that people should always come before material things…and that includes your next deal! Unfortunately, that ideal has not always been met in the past. As a result, we are facing increased consumer protection statutes.
Our role as Realtors is to help put deals together. It is a skill and a special knowledge that is unique in the real estate transaction. Lawyers are involved to help with the clauses, registrations, and projecting how to be protected in a worst case scenario. Your neighbourhood banker also helpswith the dollars and cents issues and protecting the lender's interests…but it is the Realtor alone who is there to hold the buyer’s hand through the emotional roller coaster of the process, and it is the Realtor who will be there to comfort the seller when they must say goodbye to their home of many years. I am convinced that 80 per cent of the residential deals out there would not happen without the helping hand of the Realtor.
There is an old saying: “Painting a crooked fence doesn't make it straighter.”I like that saying because of the truth inherent in it. A Realtor may look good and speak eloquently, but if he doesn’t have the basics of human relationships down, he will not last in this business. It is of primary importance that a Realtor gets his life in balance if he wants to reach his potential as a long-term professional. Consider the burn-out rate among Realtors. Think of the top producers that seem to be on top of the world for a few years and then quickly fade away. Repeat business is the great equalizer in this trade. Referrals are the life blood…there is no better advertising than a sincere third party endorsement.
On the other hand, nothing kills a career quicker than poor reports about a Realtor. The stereotypical”snake‑oil salesman” doesn't exist for long in the real world of real estate. Real estate as a profession brings out the best in people in other ways as well. Studies have shown that one of the traits of a successful person is the ability to set and work with goals. In this
business, if you are not able to set a course for yourself, you will fail…no ifs ands or buts about it. Many Realtors have learned this the hard way over the years.
How do you get yourself going when you are demotivated? It is the strong willed, disciplined
person who can overcome the negative impulses and discouragement that real estate sales can bring. If you have a routine broken into daily, or weekly patterns, you can achieve your
financial goals in real estate. That is a fact proven daily in every market in Canada. I am always impressed how the top producing agents in our office make it look so easy. The simple truth is that if everyone you meet likes you, trusts you, and has a good experience dealing with you, the business will take care of itself as the years roll by.
In my view the most successful Realtors have these traits in common:
They sincerely care about and enjoy the people they deal with.
They are honest to a fault.
They are hard working.
They are disciplined.
They are motivated.
They are passionate about the profession.
They are committed to continually learning.
I believe that it is the job these professionals took as Realtors that helped to mould their characters into being the qualitypeople they have become. As Jack Nicholson said in the movie As Good as it Gets, “You make me want to be a better man”.
Thank you real estate!
Ari Lahdekorpi is a broker with RealTV Realty Inc. in Thunder Bay, Ont.