I met with my new mentee today. In the business only six weeks, he had many questions, all common and pertinent given his short tenure as a Realtor®. We laid out a game plan for next week’s meeting and I set him to task on completing a short “to do” list which he and I will review together next time accordingly. In the course of our conversation, I asked him which hurdle he thought he needed to overcome most. He offered a very familiar answer, common amongst fresh licensees, “fear”. I probed further. “Fear of what, exactly?” “Fear of asking for business. Fear of being told ‘no’ “
In my experience, it is this one issue lying at the core of a new agent’s challenges which can be most difficult to overcome. Many of us come to real estate from other fields, often times ones which are not directly or obviously sales-related. For good or bad, we bring with us preconceived notions of what it means to sell real estate. For some, it’s stigmatized; selling real estate is comparable to selling snake oil. Others fear that being in real estate will forever alter the relationships they have with friends and family. And there may be truth this to some degree. Despite the risk of alienation, when your livelihood depends on aiding people in the purchase or sale of their homes, then every conversation may be business-related. Bottom line, ours is an industry built on relationships and asking the question, “will you hire me to represent you and your real estate interests?” Fearing “No” as an answer is not an option.
For me it took time to reconcile old notions and habits with new disciplines and fears. I transitioned from life as a well paid employee to that of an entrepreneur with major trepidations about career and income. So, to shore up my confidence and in the face of hearing “no”, I conducted a personal inventory of previous employment and looked for instances of where I had to sell something. Usually, it was me. Whether interviewing for a job, petitioning for more responsibility, selling a project to my peers or encouraging people I managed to deliver on ridiculous schedules and milestones, I was selling something. With that epiphany, I was able to embrace my profession entirely.
Still today, I do not consider myself a natural born sales person. I see myself as providing a crucial service, one which requires I act on my client’s behalf with utmost care and consideration for their best interests while managing the project that is their real estate transaction (a component of which entails selling). With this clarity, I hear “no” a lot less often. I am fortunate in that my business has matured and is largely by referral, (a topic to be explored in future blogs). Now, I am often spared the task of conveying my value to a prospective client from scratch because I come well recommended. Indeed, what I have learned through the years is that “no” has become my good friend. I use it often. It makes room in my life for the caliber of client I chose to serve. It insures I have personal time with friends, family and for myself. It sets crucial boundaries in every aspect of my business and private affairs. Instead of fearing the word, I say use it with alacrity. Let it be your companion and your business will thrive.