Underdog-Does Everyone Want the Underdog to Win?

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® TX License #0566780

Underdog"There's no need to fear, Underdog is here." I remember that tag line from the Underdog cartoon show.


It's often said, Americans have a spot for the underdog.  Well, that's probably true, sometimes.

I remember thinking when I first became a Realtor, "Will anyone let me help them with their real estate needs? In looking at some of the local real estate publications, some Brokers and Realtors had page after page of listings.How could a new guy, an underdog so to speak, hope to be successful against such competitive forces?

That was one of the questions I asked myself throughout the course work preparing for the state real estate exam. Some of the marketing course work warned that prospective clients may ask questions like "How many listings do you have, or how many houses have you sold this year, etc." As a new guy the answer wass zip, zero, or nada. Hardly the kind of number to inspire confidence, right? Did sellers want to have an underdog in their corner, marketing their home for the best possible price?

The answer was, probably not. So what was my answer. I had no listings, but I wasn't an underdog. I had a marketing plan that was very detailed and showed how I could market their home and provide consistent feedback on what was going on in the marketplace. I gave a commitment to be available should the client have questions during the time their house was on the market.

What I had found was some of the agents with several listings had too much activity to provide the level of personal contact that some clients needed. By being responsive, and having a good plan, an apparent underdog could turn a potential negative into a positive. Show up and deliver.

Sports Underdogs

The subject of this post came to me last night as I was watching the last few minutes of the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints. If you know anything about sports and the NFL, you either love the Cowboys or hate them. There is no middle ground. It's a franchise that has been living off some slick marketing beginning in the 1970's when someone called them "America's Team." They had a long string of success in the '70s and '80s with a number of consecutive trips to the playoffs and a few Super Bowl appearances and wins. They followed that up in the '90s with three more Super Bowl wins. But since then, not much success. Pretty much everybody is an underdog when it comes to playing the Cowboys, especially in their new over $1B stadium in Arlington. The Cowboy-haters always pull for the underdog playing the Cowboys.

In baseball, the New York Yankees have been the dominant team over the years. Most teams facing them have been labeled underdogs. The Boston Red Sox have given them a run for the money a few times over the recent years. But more often than not, teams facing the Yankees in the playoffs and the World Series have been deemed to be the underdogs because the Yankees pay top dollar for talent and sometimes top dollar for low performance. Most teams facing them have lower payrolls and less marketing clout than do the Yankees. Teams are celebrated as underdogs who were able to dethrone the mighty Yankees.

Several teams have cycled through as being dominant in basketball. From the Celtics, to the Lakers, and the Bulls during the Jordan years.  Maybe because it is a younger sport than either football, or baseball, the underdog label does not seem to be as associated with many teams going up against the usual champs. (Maybe the New York Knicks are an exception.)

It's up to the underdog to out play, out score, and out work the dominant or perceived dominant team. No pity points are awarded to the underdog.

Real Estate Underdogs

So, I've figured out that the number of transactions, or listings one has can be an indicator of success, but beginning with the low number does not make one an underdog. While some may feel sorry for an underdog, its up to the underdog to find a way to win. Nobody is going to roll over and give points or a transaction.

National and regional brokers may have some advantages that local brokers lack. But local brokers have some advantages that larger lack too. Same with agents. I know that agents who have been in the business for a number of years have a much larger number of contacts than do newer agents. So they may have a larger number of clients but there are still clients to be handled if the underdogs are willing to do the work. No pity points are awarded in real estate.  


Re-Blogged 2 times:

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  1. Dana Devine 12/23/2009 11:18 AM
  2. Rosemary Brooks 12/25/2009 07:00 AM
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Susan Thompson-Solomons
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services McNelis Group Properties - Solomons, MD
Southern MD Real Estate-Solomons Specialist

As a new agent, I was concerned about these questions, but always relied on strong presentations and marketing plans ( as you mention), conveying how important communication is and establishing that I am committed, and presenting the knowledge I bring to the table via my prior work experience ( in my case it was mortgage banking, but there are many other areas of knowledge that can be extremely valuable in real estate).

Over time, I have tried to make careful observations about experienced agents and learn from what's good - and more importantly, maybe, what's bad.

Dec 21, 2009 01:12 AM #6
Martin Kalisker
Greater Boston Association of REALTORS - Boston, MA
Professional Standards & Legal Assistant

The key to being a successful underdog is not being defensive.  It's ok to say that you have recently started your career in real estate, but that you have joined one of the leading firms in the nation (if that's true) to help you help your client's to sell their home at the best price and in the most effective manner.  As a broker/owner, I always follow up my agents' meetings with a personal visit or phone call to let them know how important their listing will be to our office and why we are the solid choice to be their real estate agent.  I indicate that my agent will not be alone, that I will supervise his activities and ensure that the seller is actively engaged in a two-way discussion regarding the marketing and sale of the home.

Usually, the underdog comes out ahead, because Sally Seller with 24 listings does things only one way -her way, and her office is too bashful to rein her in for fear that they will lose her and her listings.

Dec 21, 2009 01:21 AM #7
Ginger Moore
Wilkinson & Associates Realty - Gastonia, NC

I have always been an advocate for the "underdog".  nice blog. thanks for sharing

Dec 21, 2009 01:30 AM #8
Doug Patterson
Park Place Real Estate, Broker-In-Charge - Winston-Salem, NC
CRS, ABR, Broker-In-Charge


You're not alone with your "underdog" feelings.  I suppose all of us have felt that way.  Your marketing plan has obviously gotten you past that hump!  

Great post!

Dec 21, 2009 01:47 AM #9
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I don't normally root for the underdog....I tend to root for the winners who "deserve" to win after all their success. I don't like to see chance overcome achievement. But maybe because I'm competitive by nature....and agree with you on the definition of "underdog."

Dec 21, 2009 01:59 AM #10
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Wayne, 'You got to believe'! It can be tough being the underdog but you are correct, keep trying and take advantage of the over confident!


Dec 21, 2009 03:21 AM #11
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Wayne,  I remember when I was just starting out too.  I worked out reasonable answers to the same questions as you did and emphasized what I could do for them.  Not an easy business to break into is it ?   Hope your Holiday Season is the best ever !

Dec 21, 2009 05:50 AM #13
John J. Woods
Aardvark Appraisals - Palm Desert, CA

I rarely consider myself anything but the underdog in anything I do.  I'm afraid that if I didn't, I would lose my incentive.  I consider almost everyone else my (or my team's) competition in most things and I am a very competitive person.  I think of myself as a winner most times, but only in the sense that I drive and aspire to 'win' and get out of the underdog position.  Once I 'win' in any, however minor (even with myself), competition, I move on and put myself mentally back in the position of the underdog.  In my upbringing, the cards never seemed stacked in my favor, so I guess that 'underdog/come from behind' attitude is just ingrained in my nature.  Where's that great sense of satisfaction if the oddsmakers already have you picked as the winner beforehand?


Dec 21, 2009 06:20 AM #14
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Rosemary-Thanks for your comment.

Marchel-Right you are. The smart underdog works hard and delivers the goods. Thanks.

Joetta-I wonder what the percentage will look like at the end of 2010? Why are the Broncos flaming out at the end of the season? I loved the orange crush uniforms from way back when.

Bob-That AFC West has been very entertaining over the years. Even lowly KC puts up a fight in its division games.

Lenny, Lenny, Lenny-I know you have some hate for the Cowboys. I credit or maybe charge George Allen with stirring up the intense frenzy around Wash-Dallas games. Glad you got past the first year.


Dec 21, 2009 06:55 AM #15
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Susan-Good point, learning what to avoid can be just as important as learning what should be done.

Weichert-Synergy-Having team support is a good point. Few of us can do it all by ourselves.

Ginger-I agree, but the underdog has to compete.

Doug-It didn't take long for me to get over it. Too many of the old sports cliches cycling through my brain. You know, things like-"there's no crying in baseball", or when you get a little bump or bruise, "walk it off."

Karen-Weren't you once involved in snapping some guys neck for messing up one of your deals? I heard that what you call competitive others call relentless (smile). But good for you.

Ty-You got it.

Janet-Great answer, under five years. That's so obvious. There are some great high activity agents, but they can't handle all the business, so there's room for us too.

Bill-It is relatively easy to get in, but staying in, and making a profit, that's the challenge. Are things looking up in your area?

John-Interesting points. Your perspective keeps you hungry and working hard. I agree.



Dec 21, 2009 07:57 AM #16
Deborah Grimaldi
Albert Realtors - Cranston, RI
(401) 837-9633

Hey Wayne,


I must say you sound like a really nice person and someone I would want on my team, keep up the good work and focus on yourself and building your own empire, only the good survive in this business. Differenitiate yourself and you WILL SUCCEED!!

Dec 21, 2009 08:05 AM #17
Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux
Keller Williams Suburban Realty - West Orange, NJ
Where Buying & Selling Works

When I need pity, I go to church. Never expect it in business, regardless of what the profession is.


As for underdorgs, I like your analogy, especially since my husband is a die-hard Saints fan.


Here's to the underdog! You are what you make it.

Dec 21, 2009 08:06 AM #18
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Deborah-Thanks, I try to be nice.

Bev and Bob-The Saints are having a nice run and it's a long way from the 'Aints of old. Tough loss last Saturday.

Dec 21, 2009 12:26 PM #19
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Good point Wayne about the pity points. You've got a solid company behind you so you don't have to overcome that objection.  Set up your marketing plan and just mention 'you've got lots of time to help them'.  I am not sure if the general public is with or against the underdog.  Everyone likes a winner and the 'underdogs' get a spotlight if they come out on top.

Dec 22, 2009 03:11 AM #20
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I always focus on the personal service I will provide and the focus on them.

Dec 22, 2009 03:52 AM #21
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Lyn-I think you are right. Underdogs can be winners too.

Gene-Agree, the key is what can and will you do for the client.

Dec 22, 2009 04:52 AM #22
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc - Gulf Breeze, FL
Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl.

Wayne good post, I would think we all like the underdog from time to time. Merry Christmas to everyone.

Dec 22, 2009 02:55 PM #23
Ed Vogt
Midwest Properties of Michigan - Grandville, MI
Grandville, MI Midwest Properties

I had to comment since I live in the state with the biggest underdogs - the Lions.  Yet, we still root for them.  BTW - I'll be in your lovely city for Christmas! 

Dec 23, 2009 01:16 AM #24
Karen Winters, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Koenig Rubloff Realty Group - Chicago, IL - Chicago, IL
Chicago, IL

Hi Wayne,

I miss the fun times when Jordan was here.  ;-)

Not so sure I feel like an underdog, just someone drowning in a sea of Realtors.  I live and work near many of the more established, veteran Realtors. But as you say, they can be so busy that they do not have time for a more personal touch. Thanks for a reminder to stay focused and to keep driving for the net. 

Merry Christmas!

Dec 23, 2009 01:18 PM #25
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Joyce-Merry Christmas to you too.

Ed-You've had quite a dry spell with the Lions. Had some great individual players like Karras, Lem Barney, Billy Sims, and Barry Sanders. Just couldn't get it all together. Spend lots of money in San Antonio. Help our economy. It's usually about 25 degrees warmer on Christmas.

Karen-Things go in cycles. The Bulls will be back on top some day, and you'll be one of those established realtors the new realtors talk about.


Dec 25, 2009 02:35 PM #26
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