Lessons from Gettysburg - What Mattered in 1863 Still Matters Today!!
Yesterday on the 150th anniversary of South Carolina seceding from the Union, we visited Gettysburg National Battlefield. Both events were pivotal in making America what it is today!
After touring the museum and taking a guided bus tour of the Gettysburg battlefield, we took away many key elements from the tour that matter just as much today as in 1863, and hold value in both our real estate professions and personal lives.
- Location, location, location. Having the right location gives you tactical advantage on the battlefield AND when trying to sell your home.
- Training. It matters. The average Civil War soldier needed 20 to 30 seconds to reload their rifle. Training cuts precious seconds off that time and changed tactics and response times. Knowing how to do our real estate jobs requires training, and that training helps us make needed adjustments.
- Experience matters. Training isn't enough by itself. A general in the field might misinterpret positioning and tactical advantages due to lack of actual experience. Sitting in a classroom isn't a substitute for performance in the field. Just reading about short sales doesn't make you an "expert". Performing sales is where we gain needed expertise. We all start somewhere, but the agent who's done it before should be able to do it even better the next time.
- Communication is key. There were numerous examples during the battle where instructions were misunderstood or not adequate. In real estate, communication is key to keeping our clients informed, and keeping deals together. Sometimes the right phone call placed at the right moment can prevent a major catastrophe.
- Know your enemy/competition. Many of the Civil War generals trained at West Point, had served together, knew each other well and knew what to expect. We need to know how our competition operates too. If we know the what/how they gain market share, we may be able to effectively campaign and win back the share.
- Hold the high ground. On the battlefield holding the high ground was key. In large part the Union won because they controlled Little Round Top, Cemetery Ridge and Cemetery Hill. If you can establish yourself on the high ground as a leading agent, it's critical to maintain that position or others will knock you off your position.
- Things out of your control happen. Just because you didn't plan for it doesn't mean it won't occur. Generals Lee and Meade never intended to have a key battle fought at Gettysburg. A chance encounter of lower level troops triggered a cascade of events that led to this crossroads of the war. In real estate, our lives are often altered by unexpected events. Our ability to react and plan on the fly is often critical to our success.
- Sometimes the perceived "reality" isn't reality. The Confederate troops thought the Day 3 bombardment had disabled the Union artillery prior to Pickett's Charge. What they didn't know was the Union had stopped firing to conserve ammunition. That assumption's error was paid for heavily during that last attempt at victory on the field. We often think we know what is going on in our market, with a particular transaction, what someone else is thinking. Those assumptions can be wrong and fatal to our success if we're not correct.
- Speed matters. The Union troops beat the Confederate troops to Little Round Top by about 10 minutes. That difference gave the Union the high ground that shaped the remainder of the battle. We have to be able to rapidly gain advantages presented to us, to make use of any opportunities to gain our business edge.
We hope you find our lessons learned helpful!
Learning from the past prevents mistakes in the future!
Liz and Bill aka BLiz