What is it that you do? This is a question often asked at first meetings in social settings. Go to a business meetup and chances are you'll get one to three minutes to tell your name, name of your company and state what it is you do. What is your answer? Do you reply, "I am a real estate agent" or "I am a loan officer"? Truly these do not answer the question.
Self identification is the struggle teenagers, and most humans, face all over the world. Even the animal kingdom, it seems, marches through a phase where each individual is "trying to find himself." One of the joys of being a thinking mammal is we individually have the opportunity to continue our search for purpose in phases or ad nauseam.
"What do you want to be when you grow up" is a question often heard in primary schools and between young boys and girls in their own language everywhere. The training to answer with a title or career path begins then and is generally not corrected early on.
"I want to be a fireman!" Most little boys shout fireman with great glee as if on command. Oddly this has not changed over the years since fire trucks, probably even horse-drawn ones, were invented. Since we in the United States still live in a country where we have some choice in what we become it still is amazing how fireman is yet the number one answer. But it still does not answer the question "what do you do?"
We answer with our industry title or what it says on our license. "What do you do" is not "I'm a real estate agent". A real estate agent is what you are. Not all real estate agents are created equally regardless of what the public conception is. In fact most real estate agents, at least the more successful ones, have identified a niche and perfected how they do what they do ... not what they are. People inside the industry and in the same market can identify other agents by "what they do".
What you do is really what purpose you serve. Right now there are more real estate short sales experts than there have been ever. This is because there are more short sales opportunities than there ever have been. People who had not heard the term short sale three years ago have now carved out a niche and begun to serve the purpose of moving these short sales along.
Loan officers can become niche market specialists in thing like Georgia FHA Home Loans for example. In so doing they begin to serve the purpose of providing information about, in this case, providing information regarding FHA home loans in the state of Georgia. That becomes their purpose for that part of their life.
The next time someone asks "so what is it that you do" how are you going to respond?
*Photo credit: Ines Hegedus-Garcia