"What a babe!" I said.
"He’s so old!" she countered.
This was the exchange my daughter and I had while watching the most recent (2,895th) Annual Academy Awards. Sure, this was months ago, but I am still stinging from my youngest one’s carbon-dating methods. And the object of my art appreciation wasn’t Martin Scorsese or even Jack Nicholson.
George Clooney is old? Tell me it’s not so! But, then, all things are relative. To a 15-year-old, 46 is beyond medieval; it’s positively ancient. And the producers know this, too, which is why they at least try to mix it up. This is a show where the Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by an actress who wasn’t even born when the honoree’s biggest achievements were being realized. My daughter wasn’t out of diapers when Robert Boyle was celebrating his 85th birthday party, but Nicole Kidman is someone she can relate to. OK, Nicole Kidman is in fact older than Mr. Clooney, but you get my point. At least in the mind of my Modern Day Millie, she is young. She has stayed relevant.
All things are relative. In the 1980s, we didn’t have the Thighmaster, or Pilates, or Donny Deutsch with his Big Ideas. "Were you allowed to take your cell phones to school?" she asked me just this week. "If you mean our tin cans with the strings attached, well, no, but we would sneak them into class in our Partridge Family lunch boxes." She thinks I’m joking, of course, because I am relentless in my quest to be her Facebook friend. At least I’m trying to get it.
Back in the day, we didn’t have our Web sites or our instant chat; we didn’t blog our business or mash-up our message. Today, the majority of real estate agents still don’t do these things. They are vying for the Lifetime Achievement Award at the expense of staying relevant. They are so old.
On a post I once wrote, Ardell DellaLoggia made this comment:
We have to walk side by side with whomever we are walking with. If it’s granny, we walk differently than if it’s our children. There’s no one way that suits "US" best that also serves the needs of all of the people we come in contact with.
There is undoubtedly someone out there, a potential home buyer or seller, who still uses their Thighmaster, someone who hasn’t yet offered it to the garage-sale gods. And we know that there are too many agents who still use their trappings of the past century in their businesses, refusing to jump on the treadmill. They will work well together. Unfortunately, the prematurely graying agents are playing to a very small crowd and, too often, giving their tired performances to the thunderous applause of their mentors, acting coaches still clinging to the old methods. My daughter doesn’t know them.
I’m just not good with computers. I just don’t understand technology. Most agents just aren’t tech savvy. I hear these things every day. Excuses. No one is born understanding these things, much like no one is born with the knowledge required to pass the licensing exam. You learn it if you want to. You learn it if you want to be a success — or continue to be a success.
It wasn’t too long ago that I had a broker tell me, "I don’t need to blog. I would rather spend my time serving my clients." Well, this is fine, as long as all of your clients are still reeling from the news that "The Wizard of Oz" beat out "Gone with the Wind" for Best Picture. In the meantime, your daughter is reading my blog.
Relevance is about knowing your audience, and your audience is a mixed bag. They come to you with different backgrounds and different proficiencies, and from different eras. Someone as "old" as George Clooney may not notice or care that you still carry a Daytimer and can’t send a text message or manage a dynamic Web presence, but the crowd is getting younger, and resisting change will only limit your future opportunities to succeed.
As for me, I don’t want the Lifetime Achievement Award just yet; I want to be the presenter. So, I will continue to learn.
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