I am not sure when I learned the value of finding experts and listening to them, but I have a feeling I was pretty young. Expertise is a simple proposition to me, and it is probably best illustrated by telling the story of one of my first fishing trips in Beaufort, NC.
I have been fishing on the coast of North Carolina since I could hold a fishing pole, so I am not a newcomer to fishing. I even fished the Point at Emerald Isle when I waa a teenager, and the only way to get there was by driving a four wheel drive down the beach for miles.
Fishing is a challenging sport. Even in the best of conditions with expert advice, the best equipment and being in the right place at the right time, sometimes you can come up empty handed.
When I finally got the time to fish in Beaufort, I was smart enough to know that I could spend days trying to figure out the area, or I could pay to hire someone who already had the area figured out. I did some research, asked some people whose opinions I respected, and I ended up fishing with Captain Tom Roller of Waterdog Guide Service.
My first fishing trip with Captain Tom, I caught some fish, but nothing really to excite me. However, I did decide that I had picked the right guide. We went for another fishing trip in challenging conditions and came back empty handed. I knew the red drum we were after in that particular trip were a real challenge so I wasn't upset that we came back after a half day of fishing without any results.
I didn't give up on Captain Tom. Late in the fall of 2005, a much better time for fishing, we went out for another shot even though the weather was terrible. It turned out to be one of the best fishing trips I had ever done. It was a magical time, and if you are a fisherman or fisherwoman, you might enjoying reading the story of my Beaufort fishing trip.
So why did I put my trust and my money in the hands of Captain Tom instead of someone else. First and most important of all, I figured out that he was an authentic person. Not only did he know how to fish, he understood and loved the area where he fished. He valued the fish we were catching, and I could tell he was a true conservationist. Also he actually cared more about meeting my needs than meeting his needs.
In a sense he was what I call a professional sales person. I have been very successfully selling one thing or the other for most of my adult life. About six years ago, I wrote an article about what sales is really all about. As most people who have done a lot of sales know, sales is more about figuring out what people need and want than it is about convincing someone to buy something you just happen to have for sale.
Just like writing, part of being good in sales comes from being authentic. You have to know what you are talking about and actually steer people in the right direction for the right reasons.
Before becoming a Realtor® I sold a lot of things during my career from Angus cattle, Vermeer round balers, and Apple computers to email services. Not a single one of those products did I sell to another person until after I was using them and was convinced of the value proposition behind the product or service.
I came to the Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina and settled along the Crystal Coast not as someone who was already a Realtor®. but as someone who was searching for a certain kind of life style. My wife and I actually spent over three years looking for the right place before we chose our home in Bluewater Cove on the shores of the White Oak River.
After living in the area for several months, I became a Realtor®. I eventually chose a slogan, "Carteret County, A Secret to Share." I even have some tee-shirts printed up with that on them, and I use it on my Crystal Coast Life website. Most of the people who find me and use me as a Realtor® are looking for something similar to what I have found. They often decide to work with me because of something that I have written, and they have read it on the Internet.
While I don't come out and advertise it, if someone is looking for a place near the water, and they want to put a boat in the water, I can probably save them as much or more time as Captain Tom did for me.
I have tried to become something of a specialist. Now that I have figured out what I am good at in real estate, I will actually turn down properties which don't fit the dream that I am selling. Actually a fairly wide range of property can fit the dream, the property just has to be a good value and close to the water. If a buyer wants a condo on the beach, I have a colleague who is an expert at that.
I am most in my element when I am working with people who want to enjoy the area's waters. While you often hear of people who live at the beach and never go to the beach, I am not one of those people. I make time to go to the beach and enjoy it so I can share my experiences in writing and in person with my clients and followers. One recent Saturday I did a hike along the Point at Emerald Isle, I spent considerable time hiking the 3.5 miles and actually creating a map for others to follow.
Often I work with people who want to boat in the area. I am a boater, I write about boating, and it is not unusual for me to put clients in my skiff during good weather and prove that I really do know what I am talking about when I say it takes ten minutes to run down the White Oak to the Intracoastal Waterway from our subdivision.
I also fish, and I have had some great fishing adventures in the area where I live. When I talk fishing, I can tell you where you might actually catch some fish. Two of my former clients are now my best fishing buddies.
When I did my recent area guide and my Emerald Isle Travel Guide, the information didn't come from what I had heard, it came from my actual experiences. Had I done it any other way, it would not have been authentic.
Everyone is different and has unique needs, but staying authentic and telling people the truth based on your real experiences instead of what you think they want to hear or what will bring you the most gain will always win in the long run. Whether it is hot weather, frost when growing tomatoes, beach traffic or snow in our coastal paradise, the truth is a lot easier to keep straight.
Being authentic and true to yourself is a good way to be able to crawl in bed at night and sleep soundly. Remember if I tell you the beach is beautiful, it is because that I have been there, and you can count on me having a picture to prove it like the one at the top of the post.