One development from the real estate market slowdown centers on the growth in education and training for those of us who work in the industry. Professional REALTORS – agents and brokers who are committed to the industry, their clients and REALTOR values – have made a conscious decision to commit to a higher level of learning. The knowledge gained allows them to keep up to date on developments in real estate and the business worlds, and even creatively modify their business model.
Education can be the inspiration that can change your future. When you’re not learning, you’re not growing. Although it may be challenging to constantly learn new things and adapt, it allows you to better serve today’s client most effectively.
Here’s an example. I recently taught a one-day course through NAR called “Generation Buy,” which examines the buying habits of people from different demographic groups, from the Generation X and Millennials to the Boomers and the Matures. Most homebuyers today are very well educated, and there’s a totally different methodology regarding how you should effectively communicate with each group. They all want to receive your message in a different way.
As an instructor, I know I can serve my clients best by becoming better educated myself. I prefer to opt for the so-called “masters” level of education that transcends the general required continuing education courses needed for broker/sales license renewal. It might be a class offered through the Council of Residential Specialists, REBAC or the Masters Certified Negotiation Expert course, which I also teach. I systematically choose which skill set will best enhance my business today and in the future.
As REALTOR leaders, we have to inspire other REALTORS, including younger professionals, identify those who have a true passion for this industry and encourage them to participate in their local and state association leadership communities. We need to lead by example and encourage these young REALTORS to get involved with the development process on their local association education committees. And, we need to serve as mentors, but we also have to learn how and when to get out of the way!
In addition to constantly honing our own skills as REALTORS, we need to know what’s happening in our own marketplace and our business. REALTORS should be shining examples of what’s happening in the marketplace. If you don’t know what’s happening in the marketplace, you’re not “in the business.”
Looking to local business networks is a great way to build leadership skills and stay on top of what’s happening in your market. Many organizations – like the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce in my market — have awesome leadership academy programs that are not REALTOR-centric, but focused on local business and business professionals.
These programs provide the knowledge, but let you step outside the box to build your business by growing your network. I may have lunch several days a week, but not always with fellow REALTORS; I try to make appointments with other business people. These relationships help me sharpen and develop my leadership traits, learn new skills and build my business.
Deb Greene, ABR, CIPS, CNE, CRS, GREEN, GRI, SFR class of 2011 from Minneapolis, Minnesota
There’s an interesting story from the Middle East I want to share with you. A dying man leaves his 17 camels to his three sons. To the first son he leaves half, to the second son he leaves a third, and to the third son he leaves a ninth. Well as the three sons do the math they find that none of their portions divide very well into 17 camels. Arguments ensue and before blood is shed they decide to consult a wise old woman who tells them she’s not sure if she can solve their problem, but instead she offers them her one camel, thus giving the three sons 18 camels. This gives the first son 9 camels, the second son gets 6 camels, and the third son gets 2 camels. Well… 9+6+2 = 17 camels, so the three sons return the 18th camel to the wise old lady!
In real estate, life, and in leadership positions I often find myself searching for that 18th camel. It’s interesting how we as humans tend to focus our time, energy and thoughts on the problem versus the solution. Getting to yes shouldn’t be as hard as we tend to make it on ourselves.
I used to work at The Little Nell hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain in Colorado. This amazing resort hotel is owned by the Aspen Skiing Company and is rated a 5 star/5 diamond property. Guests pay top dollar for just a standard (insert luxurious) room. With that, they expect amazing service (insert treatment). One of the challenges posed to us as employees was to never, ever tell a guest ‘NO’. This gave us the unique opportunity of always finding ways to say yes, or offering different options/solutions that kept us away from the dreaded ‘NO’. Unfortunately that experience was many moons ago and I have sadly fallen away from the practice of always finding the yes or solution and avoiding the ‘NO’.
Much of the difficulty in getting to yes is our mindset. Lewis Pugh , who swam at the North Pole and also at the base of Mt. Everest (check out his TEDtalk), shares three interesting thoughts on the subject of mindset. First, there is nothing more powerful than the made up mind. Second, just because something worked in the past doesn’t mean it will work in the future. And finally, what type of mindset do I need to have to complete a task? Remember the 3 brothers and the camels – their mindset was focused on the fact that 17 camels can’t be dived by 2, 3, or 9… thankfully the wise old woman gave them an 18th camel, which she knew she’d get back!
This real estate market is ripe with opportunities disguised as problems. I would suggest that the most successful REALTORS® will be those that can find those elusive 18th camels!
From front row left to right: Victoria Lowry, Pittsburgh, PA, Kathy Haddock, Duluth, GA, Janice Shows, Ridgeland, MS, Patricia Ohmberger, CRS, GRI, LTG, PMN, Lincoln, NE, Patricia Ohmberger, Lincoln, NE, Leigh York, Weatherford, TX, Laurie Rushing, Hot Springs, AR, Zola Szerencses, Winter Park, FL, Karen O’Donnell, Mayfield Heights, OH, Sherri Souza, Livermore, CA, Matt Ritchie, Alexandria, LA, and Linda Lee, San Diego CA.
Back row right to left: Chris Tenggren, St. Charles, IL, Ansel Crombleholme, Rochester, NH, Veronica Seva-Gonzalez, Washington, DC, Sean Moore, Columbia, MO, Keith Kanemoto, Longmont, CO, Craig Ragg, Castro Valley, CA, Suzanne Sherer, Cape Coral, FL, Mike Craddock, Tulsa, OK, Deb Greene, Minneapolis, MN, Matt Case, Benzonia, MI, Louis Baldwin, Winston Salem, NC, Jason Wright, Tyler, TX, Hagan Stone, Brentwood, TN, Rei Mesa, Sunrise, FL, and David Raphael, Essex, VT.
“REALTORS® bring value to home buyers, sellers and investors, and the NAR Leadership Academy gives REALTORS® the skills they need to bring value to the association and the real estate industry as a whole,” said National Association of Realtors® President Ron Phipps, owner of Phipps Realty and Relocation in Warwick, Rhode Island. Now is the time to ‘seize the day,’ and the Leadership Team and I are confident that the 2011 Graduates of the NAR Leadership Academy have the strength, wisdom and skills to shape a bright and positive future for our industry and our nation.”
Best wishes and Congratulations to the class of 2011!