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By Dr. Cliff Baird

RISMEDIA, July 17 2007—“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” This famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt summarizes how each of us reason through decisions and problems. What’s your approach? The following are some of the questions I asked in a recent national survey of over 1,000 real estate salespeople. The answers reveal the problem.

Q: Why did you choose real estate sales?
A. I like people
B. I like homes
C. I like the freedom

Q: Do you feel adequately trained for all aspects of real estate sales?

Q: If yes, what skills do you feel are the most important for an agent to have to be successful? (Read the responses carefully)
• Knowledge of the current market
• A good listing presentation
• Web-based, computer skills
• Knowledge of financing
• Good time management
• Enthusiasm
• Good negotiating skills

If you don’t look closely enough at their responses you will probably miss the real answers. So let’s take a much closer look.
Question 1

These are the warm-fuzzy responses of most people who join real estate. They underscore the reason for the gross mediocrity of agents:

– “I like people.” What does that mean? So do morticians! 
– “I like freedom.” If you are really working this business to reach your first level of noticeable success, you’re not generally experiencing the kind of freedom that is being implied by this response.

What is truly remarkable is that no one mentioned money. We are intimidated into not openly admitting to it. If this is not near the top on your list you probably won’t make much of it. I can hear all the regular warm-fuzzy stuff right now: “There are some things more important than money.” That’s true until you don’t have any to pay your bills.

I always love this one: “Money can’t buy you happiness.” What an irony. The only people who really know that to be absolutely true are the ones with the money. You have to have money to know that.

Question 2

Interesting that most people felt adequately trained for the business. But did you notice that the list of lofty things to know in order to be successful did not include prospecting? Do you think this list merely reveals the things that most mediocre agents do all day long just to try to convince themselves that they are working in the business? Stay alert to just how easy it is to fall into that trap. The only way to secure your future is by prospecting. Can anyone guarantee that you will get a listing today if you prospect? No, but here’s a 100% guarantee. If you don’t, you won’t.

Cliff Baird, MBA, PhD, is a business therapist and real estate sales management coach, helping agents and managers for over 25 years. He recently introduced ReSTAR (Real Estate Sales Temperament and Aptitude Report) a customized, online recruiting program for brokers and managers.

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