Have you ever asked yourself, “Why do real estate agents work for commission? Wouldn’t my life be easier if I could just charge a fee?”
Every real estate agent I know has had this thought from time to time. Times get tough, and the market is not always on our side. But if you’re inclined to answer “Yes” to more than “No”, then this letter is probably not for you.
This is “small ball” thinking and prevents you from achieving your goals. But if you want to want a business that work for both you AND for you clients, then keep reading.
I’m not a fan of small thinking. And I certainly didn’t get into the real estate business to strike it rich. Neither have any of the best agents I’ve met. That’s why I decided a long time ago that I would abandon the class of small thinkers, “ambitious,” and borderline incompetent agents who only look out for #1 (themselves).
The way to grow as an agent in any market, up or down, is to surround yourself with the kind of people who share your vision and want to propel you forward in that direction.
And yes, you do need to actually believe everything I just said. No pretenders allowed.
1. Protect Your Client at All Costs
“If you want to make a billion dollars, you have to impact a billion people.” Peter Diamandis, founder of the private space travel program Space X, said that after investing years of his time, energy and passion into the revolutionary movement that is privatized space flight. We can all take a page out of Diamandis’ playbook and choose to define our success by the impact it will have on others.
We don’t sell houses. We solve problems.
• Solve great problems, and you’ll have great success.
• Solve small problems, and you’ll have small success.
• Solve no problems, and you’ll be lost.
Look at Steve Jobs.
He changed the world with a piece of equipment you can hold in the palm of your hand. Now, he has had two Hollywood flicks made about him, and 1.4 million people are using his software. His billion-dollar estate matches the impact of his products perfectly.
For your local Starbucks barista, the problem that needs solving is hiscustomers’ needto have caffeine before their drive to work. It’s not a huge problem, so he’s paid accordingly.
The good news is that a real estate agent, you are solving one of the biggest problems a person faces in their life: protecting their most important investment.
Focus on your client at all cost, and fight to serve their needs above your own. When you make it your end goal to be a servant leader, instead of a self-serving, opportunist salesman, you will solve more problems. Your client will spread the word, and more clients will come looking for the solutions you provide.
But you have to keep yourself in check and always keep your end cause in view. If you aren’t fighting for a cause that’s bigger than your needs, you will always end up looking out for yourself.
What do Jehovah’s Witnesses and car salesmen have in common? Everyone sees them coming. What I hate about the real estate industry is the way most agents fit within that mold.
I can already hear the naysayers who claim that cold calls, door knocking, and chasing ‘prospects and leads’ have brought them more business. And for every agent I meet who shares my outlook, that we are in the relationship business NOT the lead business, I meet fifty agents who claim they close deals by cold-calling. They are usually the same ones who rattle a sabre for them to celebrate the “kill” of a home buy. But I would just love, once, to ask them this question: “If a younger version of yourself met you today, would they like what they see?”
Desperate. Callous. Possessed.
It always ends the same. Within their first year on the “highway of high sales,” they’re defeated, destroyed. They’ve sacrificed every ounce of self-esteem and are light years from the enthusiastic, passionate agent they started out as. Most agents are taught to be “successful” by demeaning themselves and seeing home sales as a “numbers game” and prospects as boxes on their list to check. It’s poison. For the mind. The body. The soul.
And the worst part is that in losing your own self-respect, you disrespect your clients too. We don’t think of our clients as leads. We see them as potential relationships, family members.
Our clients need to understand that while we work for them, and we do bend over backwards for them that Family comes first. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries. Once you take care of your own, you can be freed up to give your clients what they need.
The status quo in real estate is to beg for business. Every potential lead becomes the prey. And the job of the agent is to hunt them down at all cost. Cold calls. Door-to-door sales. Begging friends for referrals. This is the life of the average agent. But we’re not average. We DO NOT cold call. We DO NOT knock down doors. And we certainly DO NOT beg for business.
In my mind, once you’ve reached that point, you’ve sacrificed any kind of “business” you had in the first place. That’s why Tenet #1 is so important. Once you have a cause to believe in – a problem to solve – you get to lay down the sword of the salesman and join the league of true entrepreneurs. Rejecting the status quo of the real estate world means building a business of your own. It also means giving your clients real content they can use, not sales drivel that only turns them away.
We believe in Creating a Movement, One Story at a Time. People are motivated by stories. It fuels their decisions and drives them by emotion. Give them a good story, an idea of how your services will help them live their lives better. It’s human psychology 101. When someone is about to make the largest purchase of their lives, they need an emotional connection. Not another pitch.
We do 180 degrees the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Instead of dealing with leads and cold calls, we deal with Content and Relationships. Every piece of content we write is about influencing people in a good way, for a good cause.
Once you start working by that philosophy, you will never look back.
4. Be a Giver
Positivity expert and psychologist Martin Seligman says there are three types of happiness: Pleasure. Passion. Higher Purpose. Tired of the worn-out idea that “happiness” is all we need, Seligman says, “the meaningful life is beyond the good life.”
Purpose will leave us better off than happiness alone. That’s why we only work with givers. Pessimists don’t understand this. To Seligman, pessimists blame themselves for the problems they face. Givers don’t care about their problems, only the solutions they provide.
It keeps them moving ahead, facing new challenges and fighting for something more than what’s right in front of them. This kind of thinking builds self-esteem. Pessimism robs you of self-esteem and makes you feel like the world owes you something. We don’t do business with takers.
We give value to our community and to our clients. We serve. And we want to partner with you if you share that mentality, if you believe you have something to bring to the table.
Are you that person? If you want to truly enjoy your life and be proud of what you do every day, culture an attitude of purpose. When obstacles come your way, think about what you’re here to do. Not what’s standing in your way.
5. Always Be Curious
In October 2011, Physiology and Behavior published a study about rats that ate junk food over healthy food when given a choice. Apparently, even the rats are brainwashed by commercials and addictive “food-like” substances.
The same is true about the content we “ingest” on a daily basis. Comedian Jim Gaffigan makes fun of people who flock to McDonald’s, yet anytime he tells them he just ate a Big Mac, they look at him like he just murdered someone. “McDonald’s sells a million burgers a day!?” says Gaffigan. “Someone’s eating there, or we’re just all liars.”
Now, let me ask you, what’s your McDonald’s?
Maybe it doesn’t involve French fries and Big Macs. Maybe you’re McDonald’s is spending more time on your Facebook feed than reading Motley Fool. Or, maybe your McDonald’s is listening to your clueless friend Dave drone on about his infinity pool instead of spending time with people who actually challenge your point of view.
Whatever your McDonald’s is, know this: it’s making you “mentally” obese. It’s keeping you down. Every time you “indulge” in something that feels good in the moment, it’s not going to leave you feeling that way for long.
If you’re reading this far, chances are you have a little more in mind for your future than your friend Dave or what you see coming up on your Twitter feed. And just like the Olympic athlete who puts down the hamburgers and fries before an event, you need to put away the mental garbage that’s standing between you and your own victory. Don’t worry – your “McDonald’s” will be there later. Your next win won’t. It’ll be snatched up by the next guy who’s better prepared or more mentally lean in a second.
Don’t do that to yourself. And, if you’re following Tenet #1, definitely don’t do that to your client. You should always be learning, growing and reading as an entrepreneur. We don’t expect our members to stick with the status quo. We encourage them to expand.
6. Follow the Steve Jobs Approach
No rogue agents allowed. If you don’t believe in working together to execute a shared vision, you need not apply. Henry Ford, automobile and assembly line pioneer, once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress.”
Of course, Ford said this BEFORE achieving worldwide fame, becoming a millionaire and alienating everyone he worked with because of his Steve Jobs-like pride. So, even success has its drawbacks. That’s why we’re here to keep each other on point.
We believe in the Steve Jobs Approach to buying and selling real estate. Jobs is recognized worldwide for being a creative visionary, but he was also a master marketer.
Think about it this way: Have you ever seen a corporate leader or CEO sell his or her own products?
No, they hire a sales team to do that part for them. For them, “selling” is an everyday task relegated to those ten rungs below them on the corporate ladder.
But this was not the philosophy of Jobs. For him, selling was an art.
Jobs crafted stories around his products that were so powerful they created an almost religious response. He was the maestro, and his buyers sang the song he conducted perfectly to tune.
Jobs used the power of Storyselling to create a multi billion-dollar industry around a product you can hold in your hand. Don’t you thing the same philosophy can be applied to selling homes – the biggest purchase anyone will make in their lifetime?
I’ve seen it done. We’ve created an entire approach about Steve Job’s method. In fact, I’ve laid all seven of his master marketing strategies out in my book, The Psychological Approach to Sell Real Estate.
That same Approach has helped me and numerous others break records on the price per square foot we achieve for our clients. But it has to be followed correctly to see these kinds of results.
And no, I’m not telling you to think like a robot. The Approach is not about being a slave to some system. It’s about paying attention to the details. It’s about keeping yourself in check.
Having a value mindset is what helps us when we get a little too “big for our britches” and want to deviate from our clients’ needs. As stated in Tenet #1, if we’re out for our clients’ best interests (instead of our own), executing this approach will get us there every time.
7. Purpose Above Profits
I knew an REO agent awhile back. He was flipping houses in D.C., and his website was riddled with fake testimonials and false promises. Sure, he made really good money for a few years. But that was it. Now, he couldn’t sell a house to homeless billionaire. Not in the northeast anyway. He sold himself to the devil and didn’t get a fair price if you ask my opinion.
Real estate is a long-end game. It always has been. Short-end players rise fast and fall even faster. If you don’t care about your purpose, you will fail. But if the temptation of fast results and easy money still entices you, fine, go for it. Here, we do things a little differently.
Impact. Results. Making a difference. These are the things that fuel our fire, get us up in the morning and get us the kind of business you want to have. We don’t work with clients we don’t respect because we refuse to sink to the level of an unrespectable agent. So, we have choices. We choose to “do no harm.” We choose to give up begging our family and friends for business or sending cheesy newsletters, slick magazines with our Photo-shopped pictures in the mail.
We choose to connect with people on a deeper level and give up the desperate and sad gimmicks used by every Tom, Dick and Harry in the biz. Sure, we might lose the “low-hanging fruit” because of it. We might lose the clients no one wants to do business with anyway or the easy sales.
But we win the long games. We always win the war.
8. Check Your Ego at the Door
While you’re at it, check your Bluetooth headphones. Check your protein shakes. Check your slick business cards and “power” handshakes. When I see someone coming with any two of these, I know they just picked up the “Cheesy Agent Starter Kit” and have no idea how to connect in this business. They also think they’re the star of the show. They want their names tied to every sale, plastered across every landing page and postcard.
I’m sure you know the type. This is the agent who sees his business as the end. His reputation is more important than the success of his clients. Pretty soon, this ego-driven agent’s business starts to decay from the inside out. Sure, you could psychoanalyze him. In some Freudian world, his ego is probably the result of too much criticism from his father. Or, not enough love from his mother.
We, personally, don’t care how these agents dripping with cheesy sales lines and self-interest were made. We care about what that ego does to the business. The ego is the enemy of the soul. And it’s the enemy of your clients’ success. Lao Tuz once said, “If you care what other people think, you will always be their prisoner.”
So, checking your ego at the door sets yourself free.
We believe in servant leadership. Being a servant leader means you get your strength from sacrifice, instead of a need to have someone boost your self-esteem. It worked for Seal Team VI. It worked for Abraham Lincoln. It works for us. Ego doesn’t sacrifice. Ego doesn’t think of others. Ego only thinks for themselves.
Just ask yourself, Would you rather spend your days looking yourself in the mirror, trying so hard to change what you see? Or, would you rather push yourself to take risks, live on the edge and feel what it’s like to change someone’s life because of it?
If what you just read resonates with you, at the core, then enter your contact information below. You will be sent an application to Join The Movement. Only a select few will be accepted as our philosophy is to grow an elite core of like-minded individuals, not an army of average people.
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Impact’s philosophy is based off the 8 Core Beliefs. If our company believes resonate with you, personally and you would like to learn more about joining Impact Maryland Real Estate we’d love to chat.