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In the fast-paced world of luxury real estate, it can feel like you’re always trying to reach the bottom of an endless to-do list. And in the course of a busy day, reading can be one of the first things to fall by the wayside. But for agents who do make room for books, the benefits are myriad: creative ideas can be found everywhere from fiction to memoir, and taking in the experiences of other leaders ensures you’re operating at your best.
While social and economic disruptions are changing how we live, work, and connect with each other, agents can still commit to evolving their skills and developing as leaders. Here are reading recommendations to help you build on your existing skill sets, courtesy of two luxury agents.
Double down on real estate essentials
“I’m reading a book that many agents have been encouraged to read: Ninja Selling,” says Robert Sherman, a Real Estate Professional with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. “I believe it’s a book that not only motivates agents but also gives tools and promotes systems that are relevant to today’s associates.”
Jennifer Irwin, a Broker Performance Specialist with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty, also cites Ninja Selling’s Larry Kendall and his philosophy of “subtle skills, big results” as one of her favorite real estate thought leaders, along with Tom Ferry and Jay Papasan.
Other great real estate-related titles she has in her reading queue include Commission Impossible: Rogue Agent by Eric Simon, Mindset, Methods & Metrics: Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent! by Brandon Doyle, The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes, by William Ury, and Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by the Disney Institute. “I have always been an avid reader, but I do find myself curling up with a good book more now, rather than listening to my podcasts or Audibles.”
When in doubt, start with Simon Sinek
You’ve heard his name before, but if you’ve never read his books, Simon Sinek is an author that both Irwin and Sherman are reading right now. “Currently, I’m reading The Infinite Game, and I recently finished Start With Why,” says Irwin.
Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action was the impetus for Sinek’s much-lauded 2009 TED Talk, and brings his ethnographer’s lens to human behavior to explore what motivates people to buy a product or support a cause. His latest book, The Infinite Game, shows why organizations with a long-term, open-ended, big-picture perspective outperform their peers.
“I’m reading a fascinating book called Leaders Eat Last,” says Sherman — another Sinek classic. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t is a penetrating examination of why those in the business community need to serve their employees and customers with humility, empathy, and authenticity — qualities always top of mind for agents in the luxury market.
Keep your eye on the bestseller list
“I read The New York Times and look through their reviews of recently published books,” says Sherman. “Don’t just read books about business or real estate — expand your reading lists to include history, fiction, hobbies, biography, et cetera.”
The New York Times Best Sellers is the go-to source for a good book many people rely on, but other major periodicals also publish new lists of recommended reads. Browse through them and pay attention to titles you might not have noticed before; it’s always the right time to broaden your mindset and sharpen your skills.
Talk to each other and exchange ideas
When time allows, seek out a book club. “I think you need to ask as many other agents as you can what they are reading right now,” says Sherman — and if possible, coordinate your reading schedules so that you and your colleagues are tackling the same book at the same time.
“My goal for 2020 was to read at least 40 real estate or leadership coaching books and to always have a book club,” says Irwin, who joins a monthly discussion with other business and real estate professionals. “Get involved; there are so many great real estate support groups that have been created through online social platforms. Some are brand specific and many are open for agents of all companies to join and share their advice.”
Irwin notes that along with reading, you can use any unstructured time in your calendar to pursue other types of study, such as watching webinars or learning new programs that can help you push your practice forward. “For instance, find a CRM that works well for you,” she suggests.
“I take any brief lulls in my business to focus on tasks that were lower-priority,” Irwin says — though she’s quick to point out that even in the best of times, education and study should always be near the top of a luxury real estate agent’s to-do list.