If you were to ask any one of the real estate agents who have known me over the past 30-plus years how they’d describe Susan Paul, the answer would most likely come back: She is fabulous.
How did I — and they — get to this point? Fabulous, frankly, is a state of mind. In the beginning, it was a conscious decision. At an early stage, I realized that life is too short to be negative or to have negativity around you.
That isn’t to say that I don’t acknowledge the inevitable challenges life and work presents — everyone has them. But my differentiation is that I try to come at each such hurdle with a win-win philosophy, and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.
From a business standpoint, this means knowing our field better than anyone else: understanding all there is to know about contracts, lenders, inspectors and being the utmost professionals, so that we can negotiate to the best of our abilities for our clients.
Now, after many years in the business, this approach really embodies who I am. And this quality isn’t just about me. The real reason it’s important is that my approach to those around me cultivates a positive morale for others.
As a designated broker and owner, my areas of focus and priority are our agents. While part of my role involves coaching colleagues through the nuts and bolts of this business, the most important thing I (and most brokers) do is talk agents off the ledge.
We are the calming voice of reason when everyone else is panicking. And I have found that to keep morale high and people calm, you need to be creative, flexible, and most importantly, yourself.
Here are a few of the ways we work on being better:
1. Hold a sales contest
We all know agents are competitive, and a contest is a fun way to both indulge that spirit and keep agents engaged in real estate-related activities. Create a contest around a theme: a time of year, sporting event or holiday.
We, for example, just finished our “Swing for the Fences” sales contest, which started during spring training. In this contest, agents earned points for taking a listing, closing a home, conducting an open house and using our brokerage tools.
Each week, I sent out an updated score sheet so they could see where everyone was. Then, at our monthly sales meeting, they redeemed their points for spins on the “Wheel of Wonder” and had chances to win anything from lottery tickets to a special dinner at the broker’s house (a continued favorite)!
2. Provide recognition
Everyone wants to do well, and people love to be recognized for their achievements. Real estate agents can be lone soldiers at times, and they need that pat on the back to keep them engaged and motivated.
Hand out awards for sales achievements as well as small victories. It could be for someone’s first closing or a successful closing on a difficult transaction. Maybe someone got an appointment with a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) or crushed an open house. These are all worth celebrating. If you have a private Facebook group, it is great to also post these celebrations so others can be inspired.
3. Schedule ‘out of the office’ events
Whether a field trip to new home communities, volunteering for charity events or just having hours of happiness get-togethers, it is important to set aside a time and place where you are not in an office environment.
People let their hair down, and they get to know one another on an entirely different level. Conversations flow, and cohesiveness naturally occurs, which makes your team stronger and more supportive.
When you feel that you are part of something bigger and better, you are going to be happier and more positive, which in turn makes you more effective in your work. Ours isn’t an industry where success comes from toiling away quietly in an office — real estate is truly a team sport, and engaging and supporting one another is key to our collective success.
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