How I got into Real Estate, Realtor Marathon, Florida Keys
"I don’t sell bricks and mortar.
I sell the essence of life here in the Florida Keys."
I would be totally remiss if I didn’t devote a brief chapter to the real estate industry, which has given me such a rewarding career. My work as a realtor is fulfilling because I help people find their own piece of paradise. In the beginning, I didn’t know what this country and this community had to offer me. I knew that I had a “can do” attitude. I worked into the wee hours of the morning studying maps, handpicking homes that were selling, and doing comparables for the right sales. In the long run, this country and its people have given me so much that I want to give back. The inspiration and pure love that I have received from friends, neighbors, managers, brokers, co-workers, attorneys, appraisers, and clients is literally too great for words.
Early on, I learned that I had to do it myself, but that I also couldn’t do it alone. I was selective with whom I entered into a business relationship. I made sure they had the same mindset and were in harmony with the system that I had developed to market and promote properties. I worked with people who were happy with the services that I rendered. I kept nurturing my strategic alliances, sharing with them, educating them, and being educated by them. I have a team of loan officers, inspectors, attorneys, and service providers on whom I depend to serve my clients just as I serve them. My customers are thrilled to refer others to me during and after the transaction.
Because English was my fourth language, I often had a problem keeping my thoughts together, but I was very patient and persistent in getting past this problem. My poor background was always my greatest motivating factor. My broker, Brian Schmitt, once asked me what kept me so enthusiastic, motivated, and charismatic. My response was, “I will never be poor again.” When we treat our profession seriously and treat it as a business, we become a leader in our chosen field.
Real estate is a numbers game. I prospect five days a week on my business, and on the sixth day, I work in my business. Prospecting means calling on people whom I know or who have found me either through my website or through mutual friends, neighbors, acquaintances or business associates. I increase my referrals by staying in touch with my customers, truly connecting with them, and understanding their needs.
The Love Business
I love what I do, and I do what I love; that secret of success escapes probably 95% of Americans, who toil at a job or career they dislike or in conditions that don’t foster their growth. To those people who hate what they do, or go about their work in a robotic way just fulfilling the basic requirements to get a paycheck, I would say, “If you don’t like your vocation, get out of it immediately! Find something you love to do and become a master in that particular area or profession.” Among the lessons that I have learned in my real estate business is that I’m truly in the “love business.” When you love your job, it’s easy. I love my profession, and am happy and grateful that I’ve succeeded in doing what I love to do.
When I get discouraged about not being able to get a listing or close a sale, I remember that I’m in the love business. The less I resist it, the quicker I will reach my goals. Release, relate, and relax; the good things will fall into place. All things come together for good when our intentions are good. We receive in proportion to what and how much we give. It’s the law of cause and effect. We should never worry about what we’re going to get, but rather concentrate on what we’re going to give. When we plant seeds, we have to honor the gestation period. Just because we can’t see anything above ground yet, doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. As Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Whether it rains or shines, whether hurricanes come or go, I have one purpose and one goal, and that is to make a difference by serving the Higher Power. A goal is merely a slice of pie from our vision, and our vision is the pie of our life purpose. We all strive to achieve goals. It’s natural for us to do so. Setting goals fires our inner self with enthusiasm, which furnishes us with energy. We all need both short-and long-range goals. Working on short-range goals gives us the confidence and patience that we need to work on the long-range goals until we achieve them.
A technique for programming the future involves writing down ten things we personally want to achieve. We can take each goal separately, and ask ourselves why it is important for us and what we will gain by achieving it. If we’re merely trying to impress our boss or co-workers, it may not be a goal worthy of achieving. If it involves making the difference in the lives of other people, however, chances are that we will achieve that goal and much more.
In The Science of Getting Rich, Wallace D. Wattles explains the difference between having a competitive mind and having a creative mind. He recommends that we ask ourselves several questions in order to help us set proper goals. These include: What is the single most important thing I could create in my life right now? What is the best and highest use of my time at this moment? What qualities do I hope to gain by having these goals? When we ask ourselves these questions, our subconscious mind goes to work for us to achieve what we have set our sights on.
If our goals are not big enough to frighten us, then they are not true goals. They should loom ahead of us like huge mountains, high cliffs, or deep oceans, requiring determination to get to the other side. If we have nowhere to go, no challenging goal to achieve, what’s the point in getting out of bed in the morning? It’s also important, however, to be careful of what we ask for. If, for instance, we want to have someone to love, we need to include “and who also loves me” in that wish. This rule is just as true when it comes to business. I have to fall in love with my clients to do business with them, and they in turn have to fall in love with me as their agent.
In the real estate business, an agent can’t collect a commission until they make a sale. They can’t write the offer until they have had a showing or made a presentation. And they can’t have the showing or presentation until they have made the call. The foundation of the business, therefore, is in making the calls. For this, it is necessary to approach the customer with an open heart. I don’t try to sell my clients. I put myself in a relaxed state, and make up my mind that if I give them what they want, they will respond in a positive way. I fall in love with my clients’ wants, needs, and desires by putting positive energy into realizing their goals. When I practice this technique, my clients fall in love with me. They are drawn to me magnetically and refer other customers to me.
When I interview a buyer or a seller, I tell them how I work and what I will do for them to make their life easier. I gain an understanding of their needs and desires, what makes them unique, their special talents, and their passions. All of this energizes me to do my best for them. It’s a team effort. I ask my clients to communicate to me their vision of their dream home, and then we develop the steps to achieve that goal. During my presentations, I make sure to convey to the homeowner that when I agree to show their property, I speak for them and represent their best interests. Property owners want an agent that will not misrepresent them. They look for such qualities as enthusiasm, tenacity, persistence, and honesty.
I’m convinced that it’s necessary to have a non-linear way of thinking in the real estate business. That means being unconventional and creative, sometimes taking radical steps, and always trying to look at things from a different angle. At times, I’ve gotten frustrated when things were not happening the way I expected, especially in marketing my services. I would be doing everything right—sending cards, prospecting on the phone, doing direct marketing, educating myself, and staying positive. Still, I wouldn’t see any results. Nothing visible was occurring. Finally, I started understanding the laws of the universe and began to honor the gestation period for success.
For instance, let’s say I was trying to get a listing by prospecting, advertising, and all the other techniques practiced by my associates in the business. This is the linear approach—doing the same thing and getting the same result. If none of these were working, I might go outside my comfort zone and begin a non-linear action, facilitating an FSBO (for sale by owner) by educating an individual on how to make a sale without listing their property with me, having faith that they, in turn, would refer me to their neighbors and family members.
I try to see myself right at the upper edge of success, like a kernel of popcorn in boiling oil, so hot that it’s almost ready to pop. I don’t judge myself when I’m in the middle of trying to make a sale. I don’t evaluate myself by what I have not done by conventional means. The numbers don’t represent me. Because I’m non-conventional and thinking in a non-linear way about doing business, there is no way but to succeed.
The joy is in the process of the journey, not the destination. The goal is progress, not perfection. Linear thinking always dwells on money. Non-linear thinking emphasizes how I can serve the customer, how I can love what I am doing, how free I can feel, doing something different, being authentic, honoring myself, and honoring God. I don’t just depend on God to take care of everything. Rather, I’m continually moving, making things happen.
Having a web site that offers prospective clients and current customers access to vital information about listings and keeps them up to speed on doing business with me has worked for me like a stroke of genius. I keep it fresh and interesting, so that regular visitors to my site don’t become bored. My mission statement is a succinct introduction to my way of doing business and what I expect from relationships with my business clients. With the global impact of the Internet, marketing through a website is highly effective. I’ve received great customers from all over the United States and the world at large just from people browsing my website. I can hardly imagine how long it would have taken me to find those people through more traditional forms of prospecting!
My mission is to provide a smooth, understandable, and stress-free experience when helping someone buy or sell a home. I treat all of my clients the way I would like to be treated. I listen to each person with a true desire to understand his or her wants and needs, and I offer exceptional service and respect, which is what we all deserve and should expect from each other. I work every day to focus on my clients’ goals. I fully explain all options available in every situation, giving them the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. In exchange for this high level of service, I expect my clients to refer me to their friends, family, and work associates.
A noted life coach, Stephen Covey, has written that we tend to trust people for two reasons: because they have character and because they are competent. Both are vital qualities. If they have one but lack the other, then we will tend not to trust them. My mission statement is a reflection of this principle, embodying both my character and competence. It means that my clients can trust me to provide them with the best possible service.
My “hero” is Lela Ashkarian. I have molded myself into the person I am, in the same way that God created me in His image. As Stephen Covey said in one of his lectures, “I believe that when we were born, our work was born with us.” Every couple of years, when I feel that I want to expand, that I no longer fit the position that I’m occupying, I do something different and exciting. I like to be around people who know more than I do, who have more experience than I have had, who have more money, a higher position in life, more intelligence, more patience, and so forth. To enjoy the same success as these people, I strive to be honest, audacious, detail-oriented, confident, authentic, happy, caring, persistent, understanding, and committed to continued growth. These virtues, I feel, will bring me to the top of the pyramid where there won’t be any competition, merely the certainty, clarity, and freedom to enjoy the fruits of my labor. In a sense, all things are created twice, meaning we begin with an end in mind and are bonded with our goal again when it comes to pass.
My life coach, Bob Proctor, has said, “Don’t slow down; calm down.” This is how I measure my success: by progressive realization. If I have a worthy goal, a purpose in life, and focus on my personal goals and those of my clients, then I can take the time to count my blessings in the meantime. I suggest to other agents to read at least two books a month that educate their mind and spirit. In his book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino says, “You have mastered the art of living not for yourself alone, but for others, and this concern has stamped thee above all as a man among men.”
If there’s one thing I dislike about the real estate business it’s dealing with dishonest, disloyal people who think they can outsmart me. In such cases, I use my God-given intuition and boldness to look them in the eyes and tell them I can’t work with them. I let such people go, because I prefer to spend my precious time assisting honest and loyal clients. Another thing I dislike about the real estate business is that when things go wrong, the seller or buyer points their finger at the only person they know, and that’s me! That’s why I have prepared a list of reactions to avoid when a transaction goes sour, which I hand to clients before we enter into a working relationship.
How I got into Real Estate, Realtor Marathon, Florida Keys