There's No Whining in Real Estate - 2 Ways to Differentiate Yourself

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Exactly 3 years ago yesterday, Seth Godin posted a blog post entitled: Advice for real estate agents (quit now!)

First of all I love Seth’s blog. I love his wisdom and take on technology, business and the world around us. So when I saw he specifically wrote an article for real estate agents, my ears perked up.

He begins by saying:

“You should quit selling real estate.

I’m serious.

Quit being an agent. Get a job doing something else.

Some of you have been waiting to hear that. My pleasure.”

Anyone who has ever worked in a real estate brokerage, knows that there are some people that just don’t belong in real estate.

We all know these agents:

  • The part-timers
  • The ones who thought they could “get rich quick”
  • The ones who act like the stereotypical smarmy salesperson
  • They got their license to sell a house to their mom/grandparents/kids/friends
  • The ones who got into real estate to “try it out”
  • The one who comes to the office to “work” all day and spend most of the day chit-chatting with everyone, having lunch, and updating their Facebook status.

Those people probably don’t belong in real estate and it boggles my mind why any broker/owner would keep them as part of the “team” – but that in and of itself is a whole other topic!

If you look inside the walls of any brokerage across America, you are probably going to find some of these agents. For those people, they should take Seth’s advice above.

But I know, the readers that read FOREM, are not those type of agents.

I am so proud of the caliber of agents and brokers that read FOREM and Inman News. The people that read our blog and our news, work harder and smarter than just about anyone in the industry.

You are the one who are up early working, squeezing in phone calls and emails to clients throughout the day, you understand the need for technology and embrace it, you multi-task on your iPhone, Droid or iPad, you make time for educational training events and networking, you have a social media plan in place, you care about details, you are extremely skilled in valuation, you “go to bat” for your clients every day, you know when to ask for help, you have a strategic marketing and branding plan, you spend your money wisely, you are genuine and understand that this is a people business, and you understand that money can’t buy everything.

In addition –  you are not whiners.

As Seth says,

“Whining is not an option.

In fact, I think this is an extraordinary opportunity for you.”

A few years ago when many agents started leaving the business, many of the successful agents cheered and said “FINALLY!” I know I did!

Three years have passed since Seth’s original blog post was published and a lot has changed in the industry, but many things have stayed the same.

How do you differentiate yourself?

Seth says two things:

Number 1:

“Become the expert in what you do. Which means micro-specialization. Who is the single-best agent for condos in your zip code? Or for single family homes for large families? Who is the one and the only best person to turn to if you’re looking for investment property in this part of town?

No, you can’t also do a little of this or a little of that. Best in your world means burning your other bridges and obsessing.”

I love that. Too many time we see agents try to be all things to all people. You see that everyday, right? The “Expert in Foreclosures, REO’s, Short-Sales, 1st Time Home Buyers, Investment Properties, Luxury Homes, and More!”

Many agents think by being an expert in everything they are widening their net of prospective clients. They couldn’t be further from the truth. Narrow your focus and be the expert in the one area that you really are passionate about. Become laser focused about that one area and stop trying to catch “all the fish in the sea.”

Think you have no time? Seth says,

“Of course you have that time available.  Invest that time in building up your expertise and becoming the person people who don’t even like you turn to for insight.”

Number 2:

“The second asset to build is permission. It turns out…that 91% of all Realtors never contact the buyer or the seller of a home after the closing. Not once. Wow. Someone just spent a million dollars with you and you don’t bother to call or write?”

Read that again – now granted this was written 3 years ago, but still…. 91% — unbelievable!

“The opportunity …is to find, one by one, the people who would benefit from hearing from you and then earn the right to talk to them. Earn the right to send them a newsletter or a regular update or a subscription to your blog. NOT to talk about what matters to you, but to give them information (real information, not just data) that matters to them.

The opportunity, in other words, is to stop waiting around for the phone to ring and instead figure out how to do what you do best… connect buyers and sellers in a way that makes them both confident.”

I love that: “Stop waiting around for the phone to ring.”

The most successful agents are the ones that make something happen, that don’t just accept mediocraty because of “the market” or “the economy.” They push through – they make more calls, they door knock, they reconnect with their past clients and new prospects on Twitter and Facebook, they do whatever they need to do to get business. They understand the fundamental key in success – it isn’t luck – it’s hard work.

I always have said that – you may be smarter than me, but I will out work you any day of the week.

This has never been more true for real estate agents and brokers than it is now.

“Some of you will stick with the standard business card with the standard photo, the standard office and the standard ad strategy and the standard approach to making the phone ring. It’s going to be a long haul if that’s your route.

I’m betting, though, that the best of you will end up with a business model that will survive, thrive and prosper. Best time to start is right now.”

There is no better time than right now to shake it up, to do things you’ve never done before, to work harder and smarter, to narrow your focus and to achieve the success you deserve to achieve. Don’t let one more day, or one more negative market report get you down. Make this the year – YOUR best year ever!

I’d love your thoughts on this post. Agree or disagree? Please leave me your comments and feedback below. Thank you again to Seth Godin for his timeless advice!

Written by: Katie Lance, Senior Marketing Manager, Inman News @katielance