Columbus Day: Lessons for Real Estate Agents – by Dana Sparks
On Monday, October 8, 2012, we celebrate Columbus Day! On October 12, 1492, Columbus “discovered America!” We have all studied Columbus in elementary school and we all memorized the poem, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” What can we learn over 500 years later that is applicable to our real estate business?
1) Adventure: An adventure is defined as “an exciting or unusual experience; it may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.” Sounds a lot like today’s real estate market! You do not necessarily need to be a thrill-seeker or adrenaline-junkie to enjoy adventure, all you have to do is take that first step! Where will that first step lead you…. commissions, referrals, excitement, confidence, knowledge, experience, friends, ideas… who knows? The adventure of real estate that you have chosen will lead you to discover your dreams, freedom and so many rewards you have yet to imagine! Approach each real estate transaction as a new opportunity to discover new things about your career, yourself and your new clients. There is an adventure for everyone and a moment in each adventure that will inspire you and touch others long after the experience is over.
2) Risk: Your voyage of discovery involves taking many risks! The higher the risks, the greater the rewards. Today’s real estate market poses many risks… multiple offers, lenders who will not finalize a loan, titles that are not marketable, properties with multiple offers, co-op agents who do not communicate, properties that may or may not be available, clients that disappear, deals that do not close after months of being under contract, etc! You must be bold and confident to take action in spite of these risks, but consider the alternative. In real estate, these are “calculated” risks so you may prepare your clients for some of the possible outcomes for every action. Your willingness, however, to venture into the veritable unknown of each transaction will lead you to increasing rewards… commissions, referrals, knowledge, enhanced confidence, expanding your “comfort zone,” sense of accomplishment, and the list continues!
3) Support: Columbus could not have made the voyage nor discovered America without a lot of support! Who supports you in your daily adventures; who is your “Queen Isabella?” Whatever the enterprise you involve yourself in, you must find support from others to assist you in achieving your dreams! This support may take many forms: spouse, friends, co-workers, brokers, family, coaches, mentors, teachers, etc. Additionally, this support may be financial or emotional. Regardless, revel in the reinforcement and rely on those who back you on all of your adventures!
4) Courage: Can you imagine how brave Columbus was to set sail from Spain and sail across the ocean towards “the end of the world?” Most at that time thought the world was flat and that Columbus would fall off the edge into oblivion! There are many real estate deals that too seem like we are about to fall into oblivion (or wish we would!) Have the courage to stick to your (business) plan, follow your beliefs, work towards the greater good and achieve your goals!
5) Negotiation: An explorer must negotiate through many obstacles throughout the journey. Physical obstacles as well as negotiating for goods and services in new lands! Consider the many “physical obstacles” in your transactions (which party will have the utilities turned on, the copper piping and AC compressor were stolen, the appraisal did not come in as expected, etc.) When you negotiate through the terms of the offer and contract with your co-op agent and the bank, there are many times that you feel as if you are in a new land dealing with people who speak a different language and have different customs. Approach these situations not with disdain, but as an explorer having to make yourself understood and having to discern what the others are trying to communicate so that all can co-exist in harmony!
6) Resilience & Perseverance: An explorer must be resilient in all situations and persevere in the face of adversity! Today’s real estate market poses many challenges and obstacles; as an agent you must be resilient every day and persevere through these situations. It is your job and responsibility to work through these issues and continually work towards your client’s best interest. You will be rewarded with referrals and closings by demonstrating these characteristics.
So be the Christopher Columbus of your real estate business adventure and remember that “you can never discover new oceans if you do not have the courage to lose sight of the shore!” Long after you help a client find their dream home or get out of a financially bad situation, they too will remember you in the years to come!