So they say to stick to your strengths. That's great advice. My strengths lie in not knowing exactly what my strengths are. I am fairly good at a lot of things, not so good at a fair number of things and really good at not so many things. I have done so many things that I do not really know which ones I am strong at and which ones I am not. I'm the guy who can "kind-of" play the guitar. I am the guy who writes occaisional poetry but hates to read it. I am a pretty good softball player but can't play basketball. I am obsessed with sailing but own a speedboat. I love to hunt- I have done it once. I am great with people and really enjoy it, but have a teensy bit of social anxiety in crowds.
Stick to your strengths. As a real estate agent, this provides an interesting and dumbfounding place form which to do business. In real estate, everyone is an expert. Not only is everyone an expert, but everyone is "the best". This makes me uncomfortable. And sometimes a bit, well, depressed. I know a lot of good agents out there that would never qualify themselves as "the best". However, they have been smart, kind, savvy, and wanting to work together to get their clients the best solution possible. They are certainly experts. And I have dealt with a lot of the "best" with whom I have been sorely disappointed at what the best now must mean. I mean, I am "experienced", I am "knowledgeable", I am "personable", I am "educated"...And the list goes on. (Well, at least it goes on a little bit) But am I the best?
I don't ever really getting to a point in my career where I could say that. Wouldn't the best be the best for everyone? I mean, some people may not like me. Maybe short Irish guys scare them? And my wife says I wear too much cologne sometimes. What if they have allergies to that sort of thing? Who knows? I sold my expensive Mercedes for a pick-up truck because it was more practical. It is a horrible real estate vehicle. But I can put a lot of wood or beauty bark in the back.
My wife was right about that one.
What if they think the truck shows a lack of expertise? Sometimes I truly feel like I must have something wrong with me because it doesn't feel right for me to say I am the best, yet the field seems to exert such implicit pressure to say that I am. I think I do a great job for my clients, and feel that they would have a rough time finding better service and understanding. But how can I verify that? There may be somebody better out there for them- there are 25000 agents in our area! Some even advertise on billboards and host golf tournaments and drive really expensive cars (and some, admittedly, drive pick-up trucks). And all of them seem to be the self-appointed best.
I used to think I needed to get to a place where I was the best. I have learned it is impossible. At least for me. I continue to educate myself and try to be on top of the market so I can give what I perceive to be the best, most up to date information with a dose of wisdom and insight that I have gleaned form being I the business for 10 years. I try to listen. I try to help. I have learned if I go for the highest volume, I have clients who feel left in the dust. If I go for the highest dollar sales, I have clients who really need my help and can't get it. If I go for being the friendliest agent in the world, I lose my edge in negotiation and get afraid of being truthful due to the fear of offending my clients. If I go for being the toughest nosed negotiator, I become a jerk who loses deals out of prideful postulating.
So I have learned that I am here to be who I am. A jack of all trades, a master of a few, and someone who really feels care and concern for his clients. So maybe I am "the best". But I would have to say it as "the best that I can be". I don't think I'll ever be on a billboard. That would be cool if I was, though! I would take a picture of it and send it to my Mom. She would be proud of that ;-)