Whether you’re a rookie agent, a rising team leader or an established veteran broker, we can all benefit from sharpening our skills. Follow our “Back to Basics” series to learn fundamental strategies, tactics, philosophies and more from real estate pros across the industry.
To find success in the real estate industry, you will need to succeed in your ability to interact with people. I have worked in the real estate and finance industries for over 30 years — most of that time with JP Morgan Chase and my brokerage Quasar Property Management and Real Estate — and I have been able to find success in business and in my personal life following three rules:
1. Never lie
Although this might seem like an obvious rule, some people in our industry find it acceptable to tell “white lies.” If you are willing to lie about the small things, people will find you likely to lie about the big things.
If you are honest in your business, you’ll find clients more willing to refer you to their network. No lie — big or small — is worth the risk of getting caught and tarnishing your reputation as a trustworthy real estate professional. And aside from violating people’s trust, you might also subjugate yourself to legal trouble if caught in a lie.
While working in the mortgage division at JP Morgan Chase, I had a client tell me that he did not like me. He said he continued working with me only because nobody else would give it to him straight. It was not my likability but my honesty that allowed me to get his continued business.
2. Do not make excuses
Never try to shift the blame if something does not go your way — always take full responsibility. If you notice you’ve made a mistake, notify everyone affected by the mistake and fix it.
The most common excuse heard in this industry is: “Sorry I am late — traffic was bad.” It is not traffic’s fault you are late. You are late because you did not allow adequate time to get to your appointment. People would much rather do business with someone who takes responsibility than someone who shifts blame onto others.
At JP Morgan Chase, I came to the realization that I forgot to punch in several mortgages that would cost the company several thousands of dollars. The moment I realized the mistake, I collected the paperwork and drove to our superior’s office.
I brought him the documents and let him know that I screwed up and I was not sure how to fix the mistake. I even offered to pay for what was lost. He told me that he appreciated that I drove to his office to notify him of my mistake. He said that in all his years working, that was the first time he saw someone respond to a mistake the way I did. In the end, he offered to address the issue and take the hit.
3. Always do your best
Your clients and coworkers expect you to be giving it your all. If you are not trying hard and are unable to deliver on expectations, you are failing yourself and those around you.
During my time at JP Morgan Chase, a great loan officer closed three deals a month. During my tenure, I was closing about three deals a day. I would set a daily goal and work toward attaining that goal. I would conduct daily cold calls in which I treated each call as a lesson.
I would figure out what worked and what didn’t. I would better myself with each call, which then resulted in my ability to close deals. My efforts allowed me to become a top performer on a national level and awarded me recognition from Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
Success in this industry does not happen overnight. It takes years to build your clientele and relationships. If you incorporate these rules into your daily life, you will ensure the strength of your bonds with people — and having strong bonds is the only way to succeed.
Kenneth N. Brown is the broker-owner of Quasar Property Management and Real Estate, Metropolitan Funding Group, which serves the Washington, D.C. metro area and has offices in Rockville and Baltimore, Maryland. Follow him on Facebook and connect with him on LinkedIn.