As Jay Thompson watched the Super Bowl halftime entertainment, he couldn’t help but think about the striking similarities between the show and the real estate business. This thought stream invoked the four P’s that it takes to make it in this industry, and at the halftime show for that matter.

Jay Thompson is a former brokerage owner who spent six years working for Zillow Group. He retired in August 2018 but can’t seem to leave the real estate industry behind. His weekly Inman column publishes every Wednesday.

Somehow in the span of four commercials (at the cost of millions), a football field was converted into a Vegas-style stage. Multimillion sales recording artists Jennifer Lopez and Shakira worked that stage for 15 minutes to an estimated audience of 103 million people.

Watching the spectacle unfold, I turned to my wife and said, “Tomorrow, more people are going to be talking about this halftime show than the game itself.”

Why? What drove the feeling this show would be the subject of discussion that would no doubt include a healthy dose of controversy and strongly worded opinion? 

Too much time spent on the internet drove that feeling. There was a lot of skin on display, though much of what looked like skin was actually a body suit, and some shots and angles of the production were what many would deem risqué. Add in some political symbolism, and it was painfully obvious that the internet was going to light up.

And light up it did.

The social media sites were abuzz. Many loved it, many did not. Some were appalled, and of course, legions were offended. There were some rather hateful comments directed at the performers, while others praised their talent, drive and independence. 

Personally, I found it entertaining. Though that style of music and dance is not really my thing, the talent it requires is unquestionable. Somewhat disassociated with the festivities, my mind wandered.

To be honest, I think I might be the only 1 of 100 million viewers who sat there thinking, “You know, there are some striking similarities here to the real estate business.”

Yes, really. Real estate is like a halftime show. What this show particularly evokes are the four P’s of real estate sales (which until seconds ago, have never existed). Here’s what it takes to make it in real estate, and on the halftime stage for that matter.    


Put the musical aspects of the halftime show aside, and just consider the production itself and what is required to pull off a show like this.

Including building (and 15 minutes later disassembling) a stage (complete with props for dozens of performers) sound, lighting, choreography — just getting that many people onto the field in the right places at the right time takes an extraordinary amount of preparation. 

Just like your real estate business.

You don’t just walk around with a file full of blank purchase agreements and a pen, hoping to get one signed. You don’t drive off to a listing presentation without extensive preparation. If you’re a broker, you don’t hire agents without upfront preparation and investigation


All the preparation in the world does no good if you don’t practice. Do you think J-Lo and Shakira just waltzed onto that stage at halftime, stood in front of 100 million people and flawlessly executed their choreography?

No, they practiced. For hours. Include what it takes to stay in the physical condition that’s required for their performances, and you’re looking at literally a lifetime of preparation and practice. 

I think many agents miss the mark when it comes to practicing their craft. First, few people enjoy practicing. It’s typically rote repetition, which means boring. It takes time, time that could be used otherwise for you, your family or direct income-producing activities

And how, exactly, does one “practice” real estate?

The ink on my license wasn’t dry when my first broker gave me a stack of blank forms and had me practice filling out purchase contracts, addendums, disclosures and other such forms that are the base of a real estate transaction.

Surely you practice your listing presentations, right?

Are you one who cold calls prospects? You best be practicing those scripts. For that matter, all “scripts” should be practiced extensively.

How you approach and interact with an open house visitor is a script. Ditto for your objection handling. The more you practice different scenarios, the more comfortable and confident you’ll be when they actually happen. Practice after all, makes perfect.  


You’ve prepared, you’ve practiced, now it’s time to perform. After all, ultimately it’s the performance that counts. It’s what writes the paycheck.

Shakira and J-Lo are by definition performers, it’s basically their job title. Whether you liked the show or not, it’s difficult to deny that they executed their performance flawlessly. Both are in remarkable shape to physically do what the performance demanded. They prepared, they practiced, and they performed. They did their job.

Your job as a real estate professional is a little harder to identify and nail down.

Ultimately, you help people buy and sell real estate. The makeup of your job, however, requires you to perform well in many capacities — marketing, branding, prospecting, sales, client interaction, negotiation, contracts, the list seems endless at times.

Under-perform in one of those areas, and the entire transaction can collapse, sometimes the day before payday. You have to perform, and perform well, just to eat. No pressure. 


Shakira and Lopez not only performed, they produced. Their fans went crazy, downloads and streams of their music are up.

Two days after the halftime show, the main banner on Spotify screams, “Latin Vibes” with headshots of both performers. They are all over the media. Yes, there are some haters with loud mouths — welcome to the internet age where every voice has a platform whether they should or not.

By almost every measure, these ladies nailed it, and their careers will be better for it. 

This wasn’t the first performance for either star, and it won’t be the last. Their consistent preparation, practice and performances over time have solidified their stances in their industry — they aren’t just performers, they are producers. 

You too should strive to be a producer. Not just one as measured by gross sales, GCI or transaction sides. Those are all fine and dandy and help put food on the table and shoe the children.

But strive as well to be the producer who proactively solves problems, advises and guides their clients, helps others within the business get better, and gives back to this whacky industry we all love. 

Jay Thompson is a real estate veteran and retiree in Seattle, as well as the one spinning the wheels at Now Pondering. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He holds an active Arizona broker’s license with eXp Realty. “Retired but not dead,” Jay speaks around the world on many things real estate.

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