In pursuit of his record-setting, 21st masters championship, Roger Federer, the third-ranked tennis player in the world, recently lost an epic and grueling five-hour, five-set tiebreaker in the Wimbledon finals.
After the celebrated match, Federer was asked by one reporter, “Are you considering retiring?”
Well, if the third highest-ranked and, to some, the greatest tennis player of all time, encounters pressure to retire as he nears the age of 38, or at least consider packing in his tennis racquet, then what should those in real estate who are in their 50s and 60s and who are in the 50,000th place in productivity rankings be thinking?
You can take it from this 70-year-old, grizzled industry veteran, and I am sure from your deeply appreciative broker as well, along with your many clients, that you should not even think about the possibility of retiring…too soon!
Listings expire, but you cannot prematurely afford to! Especially those of you who have enjoyed success for years—and here is why.
According to social scientist Arthur Brooks, there is a phenomenon that he refers to as the principle of psychoprofessional gravitation. This, according to Brooks, is how, “the agony of professional oblivion is directly related to height of professional prestige achieved.”
Each week, I am on an accountability call led by Gino Blefari, CEO of HomeServices of America. On our calls, after making our business reports, we are all asked by Gino to announce what we are doing to improve that week. Not wanting to call unwarranted attention to myself, I too mention my diet and exercise, but what I don’t mention is that I am really asking myself, as a former Boston Celtics draft choice, what I will need to do that week to slow my decline.
Therefore, to both you legendary brokers and iconic community real estate professionals, I respectfully suggest that you take a page out of the world of politics regarding how one’s inevitable declining years can be managed. Nobody works harder at managing their decline than our highest-rated presidential candidates. This is not to say that you should seek to emulate them in all ways – unless you want to become duplicitous, conniving and self-promoting.
Instead, I do suggest that you look to emulate the geriatric galaxy of presidential contenders in how they validate the fact that society values experience, resilience, career stability and longevity. Remarkably, our leading presidential contenders from both sides of the proverbial aisle, are of the following eye-popping ages: 77, 76, 73 and 70…according to 71-year-old cable news anchor Wolf Blitzer.
Clearly, our political aspirants, who like real estate professionals, must rely on brains versus brawn, did not receive or pay attention to society’s collective email delivered to all of we who are aging!
Accordingly, why would a professional REALTOR® who has spent decades developing experiential knowledge, invaluable skills, a considerable real estate retinue, and widespread admiration for their resilience and how they have withstood numerous watershed industry changes, retire now at the peak of his or her real estate powers?
Moreover, what an opportunity they have to engage in so-called reverse mentoring – that is, accepting technology advice from younger (and based on evolution) more intelligent generations to come.
My advice for our much younger agents is, rather than mocking your older counterparts for not being as adaptive regarding emerging technologies as you are, why not offer your more contemporaneous grasp of our digital world to them? They can then reciprocate through providing meaningful career and life lessons.
Given the importance of not only developing spheres of influence, but actually influencing spheres, our industry might not be able to withstand a massive exodus of long-tenured agents. This is due to how new-business-modeled entrants will at the same time seek to dislodge the relationships that many real estate professionals have built with home sellers. Indeed, if selecting a so-called listing agent now becomes as random as how buyers select an agent when they buy, then “industry beware.”
The most effective way for us to generationally move forward, as I stated, would be through the formation of symbiotic relationships. This is where in exchange for tech support from younger agents, aging agents can turn over or sell their career “book of business” to a younger agent who was helpful in its sustenance.
This transition, however, in my view, should only happen when our top and more seasoned agents are ready to retire and on their terms. This is in contest to being rushed to retire, based upon society’s pressure to speed up the beginning of the so-called golden years. Doing well in real estate and making a major difference in the lives of those you serve are your golden years.
Thus, I fervently hope that whether you are a broker, manger or agent, that you get to enjoy your real estate golden years for years, if not decades to come.
Allan Dalton is CEO, Real Living Real Estate and senior vice president, Research & Development, HSF Affiliates. For more information about Real Living Real Estate visit https://www.realliving.com/.