We’ve all seen the various, unfortunate posts about less-than-stellar behavior, unprofessionalism, and missteps taken by some of our fellow real estate agents. These posts are never pleasant to read – and they certainly don’t paint the rest of us in a very positive light. We all strive to be successful, ethical, and well-respected real estate professionals. And, whether you're a brand new agent or a seasoned veteran, we're all "works in progress" -- always. Professional growth and development are not options -- they're necessities. Continuing education classes and industry-specific seminars and workshops are all fantastic ways to teach us new techniques, and to remind EVERYONE of the do’s and don’ts – and ever evolving complexities – of the real estate business. Personally, I think it might be a lack of the fundamental stuff that too often gets a few of these agents into trouble. And, in my opinion, the fundamentals can't always be taught in a classroom. So, here’s a sampling of how I gained valuable knowledge about some basic, business-related skills -- all of which have served me well throughout my real estate career:
- Babysat for families in the neighborhood (.50/hour)
- Sold Kool-Aid® from a folding table in front of my house (.02/glass)
- Walked door-to-door selling Girl Scout™ Cookies (.50/box)
- Typed documents on a manual typewriter (.25/page + free lunch)
- Out at 4:00 am every Sunday to help my brother with his paper route
- Waitressed in a local ice cream parlor throughout Junior High School
- Retail Clerk at a local department store throughout High School
- Earned a PhD from the “School of Hard Knocks”
And, I am not alone -- how fortunate for many of us to learn about work ethics, accountability, discretion, integrity, responsibility, professionalism, and meaningful respect for others, early in life. All invaluable lessons which have helped me to become a better real estate professional … and a better person too.
Do I make mistakes? Yes. Do I make stupid mistakes? Sometimes. Yet, when I see some of the posts in question, the main themes swirling around in my head often scream 'common sense', 'professional courtesy', 'cooperation', 'relationship building', 'problem solving', and otherwise fairly simple concepts. I have discovered that the best lessons in life don't always come from inside the classroom. In fact, some of my greatest learning experiences happened long before I filled in the tiny, little circles on my Salesperson’s Exam Answer Sheet with a No. 2 pencil.