Real Estate Success Doesn't Look Perfect. So you don't have to be.
Being genuine (not perfect) is the key to success in real estate.
Appearances matter, especially in real estate. No one is disputing that. In the real estate industry, the bar for professional standards is higher than in other industries, and for a good reason: our clients are making serious life decisions and spending a lot of money while looking to us for advice. That said, there is a difference between taking your professionalism seriously and presenting yourself disingenuously just because that’s what you think you need to do to get ahead. Unfortunately, real estate is one of those industries (among many) where folks spend a lot of time acting and behaving like they think a “Realtor®” should versus being authentic to who they really are. At the crux, the problem isn’t just in real estate. It’s part of a larger narrative in contemporary hustle culture that says you must sacrifice everything, your time, family and even yourself, for success. But what happens if you reframe this narrative with a different mindset?
Conventional Models Set Conventions
Most of the problem begins with how we collectively define success as an industry.
In the conventional real estate model, success is typically defined by status markers such as the number of homes you sell in a year, the size of your real estate team, the suits you wear, the house you live in, the car you drive, etc. Early in my career, for example, I felt pressured to act and appear a certain way to succeed. I cut my hair short, changed my dress style, and always wore a suit.
And it doesn’t always end there. Many new Realtors® feel they need to showcase a level of knowledge or experience they haven’t yet achieved to appear to be experienced and successful agents to clients and colleagues.
What if we Redefine Success?
When I look at what makes a successful Realtor, I look at more than just the number of houses sold.
Don’t get me wrong, production is a part of it, but there’s more to success than that. The most successful agents I know are those who’ve not only sold a ton of houses but have also been able to do it without compromising on the values that are most important to them.
They have a work-life balance and keep their health and well-being in check. They don’t all drive fancy cars. Some do. And they don’t all wear suits to work. The point is that when you consider what’s important to you, being who you are — “doing you” — is not an obstacle to success but rather the key to it.
The Secret to Being Genuine
The conventional notion of success puts an unnecessarily high value on the appearance of perfection. Nothing kills authenticity like the pressure of perfection. How are you supposed to be yourself when you are constantly worried about making a mistake or trying to be something you’re not? The secret to being genuine is striving for excellence, knowing that you will inevitably make mistakes at some point along the way.
When you shift your focus away from perfection, you’ll discover people actually appreciate someone who is genuine and isn’t afraid to admit if they don’t have an answer to a question and then go out and find the solution.
This little story sums it up: One morning before a showing, some family stuff came up, and I didn’t have time to put my suit on before running out the door. I thought, ‘screw it, this is me today.’ At the end of the showing, the client said, “You know, I appreciate that you didn’t wear a suit. I felt much more comfortable and trusting of you right off the bat.’
Moral of the story: be a professional, strive for excellence, and just be you.