In high school I was a state wrestling champion and a National Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) champion. I didn’t accomplish this because I treated my sport as a hobby — I accomplished it because I was obsessed with success.
The makings of a champ
While most wrestlers in the mid 1970s wrestled November through March, I wrestled all year long, even during football season (which I also played) and summer (when most of my friends could be found at Corona Del Mar’s lifeguard tower no. 5).
I attended national training camps and wrestled guys much older and more experienced than me. I wrestled in the off season, and I studied every aspect of the sport. By the time I graduated high school, I was the best in my class, and I knew it. And the reason for my success was a relentless obsession with always learning more to accomplish more and keep elevating my skill set.
A rude awakening
Then came my hard life lesson. Fast forward to my freshman year in college where, due to my relentless mentality, I earned a full wresting scholarship to UCLA. Unfortunately, in my first year, I not only cost the school more money than I was worth, but I found myself losing more matches than I won.
If you’re curious about what happened, besides multiple surgeries and a bent ego, I stopped being obsessed with my sport. Maybe it was the distraction of a new girlfriend. Maybe it was my life at the fraternity house. Or maybe, if I’m being completely honest with myself, it was because I lost my commitment when the going got tough and I didn’t win every match I entered.
What went wrong
I became a hobbyist, a dabbler in the sport, and the end result was that I let down my school, my sport and myself.
If you follow my writing, you might know that when it comes to the hobbyists in our profession, I am not a fan. Perhaps my wrestling lesson explains my conviction, because I believe we shouldn’t treat our profession as a hobby or a part-time job.
We can’t quit on our clients when a property does not sell in the first few months. We can’t be frugal when it comes to marketing our properties. And we can’t be uninformed about the constant fluctuations in our market. When it comes to our clients and our profession, we need to be fearless and obsessive.
Reality check: If you want to be the best you must be obsessed.
In California, we have approximately 200,000 real estate agents. However, less than 20 percent make money in our profession. So what can you do to make sure you are not among the 20 percent of agents who make a good living in real estate, but rather the top 5 percent of agents who make a great living doing what they love?
The answer is found in the following seven steps.
The seven steps to creating commitment
1. Be obsessed with education. Education is key when we face a market that keeps changing or online entities that attempt to replace us. The rule of thumb when it comes to staying on top of your game is, “information in means information out.”
Therefore, to get into the top 5 percent, stay educated. Education keeps you relevant and gives you the ability to answer complex questions and offer solutions to complex challenges.
2. Be obsessed with passion. If you are going to get into the top 5 percent, you must be fueled by passion. Passion during good times and rough times is what will keep your engine running to stay in the business for the long haul.
3. Be obsessed with success. As a top five-percent Realtor, you must be clear on what success means to you. For me, it means not only making sure your clients desired outcome is achieved, but also being able to exceed their expectations.
4. Be obsessed with ethics. In a world where the line often gets blurred when it comes to morality and ethics, leaders in our industry are those who operate their business beyond reproach.
To me, ethics is knowing right from wrong and doubling down on right. This means you never compromise on the “grey” area of your fiduciary obligations, and you always put your clients’ interest ahead of yours.
5. Be obsessed with perseverance. If you start something, whether it is a new listing, a new branding campaign or a new farming campaign, make sure you have two commitments under your business legs: First, commit to finishing what you set out to do. Second, make sure you aspire to do it better than anyone else.
Let me use farming as an example. Farming can come in the traditional geographical form or within your social sphere of influence. No matter which form it takes, be sure you are in it for the long haul. Don’t send out two flyers and expect calls back.
Farming is a year-long process that should be done every two weeks for the first six months and then monthly after that (if you want to make a real impact).
6. Be obsessed with being compassionate. When it comes to walking in commitment, your clients must know you are not just selling an asset or commodity. This means your job as an agent is to be mindful of your clients’ family dynamic, their needs and, most importantly, the “why” behind the transaction.
For you, it is a commission; for your client, it’s a life-changing decision.
7. Be obsessed with reaching the top. Our profession is not a low-hanging fruit you pick out of default, but one that requires a ladder to climb to pick the best from the top branch.
Becoming the best version of yourself
The best version of you is when all of the above are met and you have created something that gives you purpose and identity. You should be obsessed with this too.
To make it into the 5 percent of agents who are making a great living and reaping the rewards and the lifestyle that our industry can provide, you must be an agent with an obsession. You must be a Realtor who obsesses over your business the way I obsessed over wrestling in high school.
My question to you is, “What percentile are you in, and are you obsessed enough to be the best?”
Spyro Kemble is a Realtor with Surterre Properties/Relegance Group in Orange County, California. Follow him on Instagram or connect with him on LinkedIn.