As a real estate agent my success was the result of how well I performed in job interviews. Every time I sold a listing I was one step closer to the dole queue. And every time I put my case for a listing I was in a full-scale job interview. The seller was the boss, I was the eager, hopeful new recruit.
The more job interviews – listing presentations – I attended, the more skilled at the craft I became, the more success I enjoyed.
That’s the way it is with real estate.
There were many brilliant job interviews, ones where I was against the wall, fighting against price discounters, wrestling against the strength of bigger opposition and where I came out on top. When the odds were stacked against me I performed at my best. There’s plenty of ANZAC spirit in these veins.
But it’s the interviews in which I was beaten I learned the most. They gave me reason to look back and ask what I might have done better.
My worst job interview was, on the surface at least, my best. I thought I aced it. Up against an unknown opposition I put my case to market a townhouse in Burswood. I skillfully explained why I was better than the rest. I astounded the owner with the depth of my market knowledge. When it was over the owner shook my hand and said, “Peter, if we sell, you’re the man”. You’re the man? Yeah, I’m da man!
Another one in the bag!
After the “You’re the man” promise I felt no need to do more. I was supremely confident that soon the phone would ring and I’d be having my first home open. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Nothing. Still, I wasn’t fazed. Perhaps they’d decided not to sell, perhaps to wait. Either way the I was their man!
Driving down the street a few weeks later I saw a sight that snapped me back to reality. There on the front fence, shining brightly in the afternoon sun, was another agent’s sign. My car stopped. In a hurry. I reversed and checked again. Surely it’s for another property, perhaps someone playing a prank. I double checked. It wasn’t. The plain, hard-to-handle truth was…I wasn’t their man!
They lied to me!
I was perplexed, disillusioned. Can no-one keep their word anymore? Does a promise mean anything? Whatever happened to “let your yes mean yes”?
But the answer to my questions wasn’t with the owner, it was with me.
The fact is my process was defective. Rather than following up, as was my process, I allowed platitudes inflate my ego, to lull me into a false sense of security. Had they said they were giving the listing to another agent my process would’ve kicked in to try and save the day. They didn’t and I didn’t. My ego sowed the seeds for the lesson to come.
And yet sometimes, even with the best of processes agents miss listings. When that happens it’s important to respect the owner’s decision, to wish them well, then move on. Quite simply it’s not possible to have a perfect strike rate. After all, even Sir Donald was bowled a time or two.
Image credit: jcoterhals on Flickr