Can an Introvert Be a Successful Realtor?

 
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(By Guest Blogger: Erin) The title of this post is a bit of a confession. Could you tell? I am totally, unashamedly, proudly an introvert.

Introvert is not the same as shy, although I think you can be both. And I probably am a little shy too. It doesn't mean you don't like people or lack social skills.

The truth is that there are wonderful things about being an introvert and there are loads of successful and influential people who reportedly join me under that introversion umbrella. People like: Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Meryl Streep, JK Rowling, Warren Buffett, Dr. Seuss, and many more.

Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert really speaks to which kinds of activities energize you and which kinds drain you. Introverts find social situations draining, and are energized by quiet, solitary and creative pursuits. That doesn't mean we can't be social and charming (we totally can!). It just means that we'd prefer not to and when we are required to be, we have to plan for lots of quiet downtime afterward to recover.

All of that brings me back to the question posed by the title of this post--is being an introvert at odds with being a Realtor? I think to answer that accurately, we have to bust the myth that as Realtors we are primarily in the sales business. While it's true that we are helping people with the biggest purchase they will ever make, at its core, this business isn't about selling; it's about building relationships and connections. Something, incidentally, that introverts are really good at.

Here's a great example of an introvert in action. If I attend a networking event or a cocktail party, I will tend to have longer conversations with just a few people. Small talk isn't my thing. I'm kind of in awe of people who can work a room, meet everyone and end the party with a big stack of business cards in their pocket. I can't do that. And that's okay. If I tried to do that, my discomfort would show and I wouldn't make a great impression. So my goal generally is to meet five people; have a conversation where I learn something about them that can also be a point of follow-up; and exchange cards.

Hosting an open house is probably the most challenging task I do as an introverted Realtor. Those are the events where I'm most often having to interact with lots of people I don't know and where the amount of time I have to establish rapport is limited. So far what I've found is that having my scripts down pat is the most helpful preparation I can do. And I tell myself that it's okay if I can't make a connection with everyone who comes through. If I can have a nice conversation that leaves some avenues for follow-up with three couples/individuals, I'm thrilled with that outcome.

Introverts tend to be really good listeners and tend to spend more time doing that than they do speaking. Sometimes I think this comes across as aloofness, but it really isn't. We're just internal processors rather than verbal processors. And in a real estate context, where so much of your success depends upon listening and understanding what a client wants, that tendency often comes in handy.

So the short answer to my question is, yes, I think introverts can be great Realtors. And extroverts are too! I just think the strengths that extroverts have are much more celebrated generally, and seen as much more desirable than those of introverts. In an industry like real estate, I think it's important to highlight that introverts strengths are different but can be just as advantageous.

For more information about why it's great to be an introvert, check out Susan Cain's book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. Another book I love that has a business application is Beth Buelow's, The Introvert Entrepreneur. That's been really helpful to me too.

And please leave your comments below! I'd love to hear from introverts and extroverts alike about how they leverage their unique strengths in their real estate careers.

 

 

I Secret-Shopped Open Houses.

 
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Hi all! Erin writing again this week. This might be my first non-studying-themed blog post and my first new agent-y post. Hadn't thought about that until just now. You know how you have markers for new experiences that make it all seem more real or more official somehow? I think this is one of them. Anyway... I secret-shopped some open houses last weekend. It was really fun. Here's what happened.

 
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Windowboxes
 

Well, first let's start with why I did it. Part of my job on Rebecca's team is to capture the new Realtor experience and document it. I do some of that on this blog, but the rest of it we're using to create a roadmap for new agents in our office to follow. We want to create systems that anyone could jump into and feel confident in the process, be efficient and see success no matter how new they are to real estate.

Much of what I've been doing is taking myself on little field trips and then turning it into something that will be helpful and useful for other brokers. The open houses was one example. I'd shadowed Rebecca at a couple of hers, so I knew how she did things. But I wanted to see how other agents conducted theirs. I thought maybe there were things I could take back to Rebecca and the team that we could adopt.

 
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House 2
 

But what I found in my, admittedly, relatively small sample was not particularly inspiring. Here's what I noticed:

Not one agent introduced themselves by name or shook my hand.

Not one agent asked me to sign-in or leave a business card.

Not one agent kept me chatting to see whether I might need their services. (And at most of these open houses I was the only person walking through, so distraction wasn't an issue.)

With a couple of them I even volunteered information that, had an open house attendee shared it with Rebecca, she would have used as a point of conversation and follow-up.

 
House 3
House 3
 

Maybe you read the above and think there's nothing wrong with what I describe. And you're right--there's nothing technically wrong with any of it. None of the agents were unkind or unfriendly, I want to make a point to say that. But there was nothing particularly right about it either.

Here's what I mean.

When we host an open house we always do three things: we introduce ourselves with a handshake; we ask people to sign-in; we do our best to connect with them somehow through conversation; and then we find a reason to follow-up.

Why? Well, let's take each of those things in turn.

We introduce ourselves because most agents don't, and doing so makes an impression.

We have people sign-in because that's how we collect contact information so that we can follow-up with them later. Following-up might be an email with the answer to a question we weren't able to answer at the open house. It's always either a handwritten note (if they leave their address) or an email, thanking them for coming and letting them know we're here to help them with anything real estate-related. It's proactive and you'd be amazed at the benefit we get from something so simple. It's also a way to track how many visitors we got, so we can share that information with our seller.

We engage them in conversation. We want to connect with them. If they're looking to buy or sell, we want them to like us and choose to work with us. If they aren't looking to buy or sell, we want them to remember us the next time someone asks them if they know any good Realtors. We also do it because we want to be of service. If there's something we can do--information we can share or whatever--we need to know what that is, so that we can help. We only find out those things if we talk to the person. The talking also often gives us our follow-up reason. We try to make note of something they said that we can mention in our note or email afterward.

If we have slow times during the open house we use that time to start on our thank-you notes. If we don't get at least 5 people through the open house, we knock on neighbors doors or we find some other way to meet someone new. We don't ever just sit in an open house doing nothing. It's lead-generation time, whether people walk through the door or they don't.

 
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House 4
 

The point of all of this is really being efficient and effective. Leverage your time so that you never look back on that two or three-hour block of time you spent at an open house and think it was wasted time. Some of these things seem simple, but you'd be surprised how many people don't do them. Don't miss out on relatively easy, relatively quick things that can make a huge difference in your business.

How I Make My Big Dreams Come True in a Day

 
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(This post contains Affiliate Links.)

What do you dream about? A happy life? A peaceful one? A financially successful one? One where you have control over your time and energy? What would your life look like if you achieved all of the things, large and small, that you yearn for in the quiet moments when it's just you and your thoughts. Those moments when you allow yourself to dream as big as you can about what life could be? Would you believe me if I told you that whatever your dream is, you can have it, or at least a piece of it, before the sun sets today?

You can. I swear.

Finding your dream.Have you ever made a dream board that depicts your hopes for your life? I am a very visual person, so I have made many over the years. And it isn't just because I love crafty projects, although I do :-) It's because until I identify what I want, I don't know how to get there. And I need to know what I want--I need to know my big why--because that's what drives me to work as hard as I do. So the pictures and words I paste on to that piece of poster board are the visual representations of my why. And looking at them every day cements that why and motivates me to keep going, even when things are hard. 

But frankly I don't want to wait years to experience the dreams depicted on my dream boards in my real life. I want to bring some of my future in to my present. So, I seek out items or experiences that symbolize the big dream and give me a taste of it while I wait.

 
Joy
Joy
 

My process for identifying my dreams is pretty simple. I ask myself: What do I enjoy most? What brings me joy? When do I feel most at peace? I write my thoughts in a journal and I create dream boards of images and words that line up with those answers. During this process, I don't edit myself at all. If a thought comes into my head I write it down. If a picture grabs my attention, I cut it out and paste it on the board. Even if I'm not sure why I'm having that thought or being drawn to that image, I still document it. As the process goes on, the extraneous things kind of filter out and I'm left with what's really important.

 
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Waterfront
 

My big dream of 2015. "I feel most at peace when I'm near in on or around the water. I enjoy music of all kinds. So, surrounding myself with wonderful music, and having a waterfront or water view property would bring nourishment to my soul." That was my takeaway for 2015 and I shared it with my coach. 

Don't wait. My coach had lots of questions for me, urging me to dig a little bit deeper. Why should I wait until I owned a home on the water to get the feelings I imagined waterfront property would give me? Why couldn't I go and meet the need now by getting into a boat or kayak? One afternoon my coach told me my homework was to get on the water over the weekend. I went down to Thea Foss Waterway and rented kayaks with a friend.  At first we were reluctant to go too far out, but eventually we got some confidence and really enjoyed our time. We saw people bringing brand new boats out of the warehouse and into the water.  And I thought to myself how nice it would be some day to own a boat of my own.

I saw a woman unfolding a kayak and I thought to myself, "Wow, she found a way around every excuse I would have come up with (no space at home for one, no roof rack on the car to transport it). And now she has a foldable kayak!" 

After that afternoon it was clear that the water really was my dream. But while I couldn't buy a home on the water that day, I began to surround myself with items that symbolized it. I looked for watercolor paintings. I looked for beach cottage-inspired décor and found the most magnificent burlap lampshade and a driftwood table lamp for my office space. I eventually found a art piece that fit the part perfectly and painted a wall in my house a color that gave me that same feeling of peace I felt that day on the water.

What you focus on expands!2016 brought a new home for us...on the water! And love into my life. Right now you may not have exactly what it is you desire (i.e. house on the water) but if you can identify your dream, you can surround yourself with a piece of it today regardless of how far off that dream might feel. And you get a daily dose of motivation for the work it's going to take to get there.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. A few more of my favorite coastal-themed décor items are below :-) 

Making Money in Maui

 
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"I do it! I do it!" Do you remember when your kids were at this stage of life? Or maybe they are right now... Anyway, I remember my daughter, Bella, saying, "Bella do it. Bella do it. Bella do it," a lot when she was little. That first flash of independence--of wanting to do everything and wanting to do it now--can be such a moment of bittersweet pride for a parent. But that "I can do it all myself," instinct can be destructive as we transition into our professional lives, especially for us business-owners, can't it?

One of the blessings that being a Realtor has given to me is the freedom and flexibility I've needed as a mom. In fact, one of the reasons I chose this career specifically was because I knew I could structure my day in such a way that I could work while my kids were in school and then be at home when they were.

The reality of this business though is that it can take over your world 24/7 if you let it. It will take up the space it's given, which is why we have to be so careful about setting boundaries where and when we can.

You may be asking whether setting boundaries on your business is also limiting what you can achieve. And the answer is that yes, it probably would, but for leverage.

Many agents function in real estate solo. They've structured their business in such a way that if they themselves are not actively doing something, money is not being made. This is just as limiting as setting boundaries, if you think about it. There's only so much one person can do with the hours in a day. And there's only so much you can do before you burnout.

The shift comes when we embrace the idea of hiring people and establishing systems that allow you to leverage other means of productivity to run your business. In a practical sense, leverage means you could be on the beach in Maui while still making money for your business at home.

Do I have your attention now?

Thought so :-)

When we shift from I do it, to we do it to THEY do it, then you know you've arrived. I took a 2-week honeymoon last year. Two weeks of almost no wi-fi or cell reception and my team had sold 4 homes by the time I got back. It's so important to surround yourself with trustworthy individuals who can cover you when you need it, and systems that would allow anyone to come in and keep things thriving, regardless of your presence.

Here are examples of how to leverage your time and effort, taken from specific things I did in almost exactly the order in which I did them.

Pay for transaction coordination as-needed. Once a sale was under contract, I turned the paperwork over to people in my office who would act as a transaction coordinator for a fee. That freed me up to generate leads and meet with prospective clients.

Hire a part-time (or full-time), licensed executive assistant. Give anything that doesn't require your active involvement to someone else. Scheduling, maintaining your website, ordering office supplies, dealing with vendors, marketing tasks, etc. can all go to a skilled and trained assistant. They can get you involved in a task when you're needed.

Take advantage of automated systems. Keller Williams has tons of systems in place for agents to use, including email campaigns. I enroll everyone in my sphere of influence into one campaign or another. The campaign sends out regular communication to my contacts and reminds me of important follow-up activities. My team and I also create systems, customized to our business. We make everything as simple as we can and follow the procedures we establish. We have procedures for responding to client leads, for developing CMA's, for hosting open houses--you name it, we've probably got a system for it.

Hire other team members as dictated by your business. This may mean brokers, listing coordinators or contractors to help on specific projects that you don't have the expertise to complete efficiently. It doesn't help my business if I spend 100 hours designing a website, when a professional would have done it in 10. Those 100 hours are hours I'm not meeting new business leads, so it's not the highest and best use of my time. Speaking of which...

Find your highest and best use. This will be different for everyone, but for me, my highest and best use is generating client leads. Almost everything else can be delegated to someone else on my team.

 
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iPhone Laptop
 

Maybe you're a mom like I was, looking for extra income. Or maybe you're not a parent, but are ready for a career change and love the idea of having your own business. Real estate could be the answer! Contact me and let's chat. I'm happy to share my experience with you.

Mega Mom Event!

 
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Are you a Realtor,  balancing your business with your role as a mom? I am too! If you're in the Greater Seattle area, consider joining me and other mom-agents for my Mega Mom Mastermind event.

I'm hosting this opportunity for collaboration and support on Monday, October 2nd from 12-1:30PM. Lunch will be provided by my friends at Eagle Home Mortgage, Stephen Wright and Sunny Wilson. Just bring yourself, your ideas and your questions and we'll have a great conversation.

The event is free, but seating is limited. To reserve your spot, RSVP to Kate Roussell Favaloro at k.roussellfav@kw.com today. Contact me with any questions.

Hope to see you there!

 

The Story of Strings

 
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Just stopping by the blog quickly today to share something I thought you all would appreciate. It's about the power of sequential mastery, which is a really interesting concept and the focus of Gary Keller's (yep, the "Keller" in Keller Williams) bestselling book, The One Thing. I'd highly recommend you read the book, but in the meantime, you can check out this quick video.

Click the link below to purchase The One Thingthrough Amazon. (In the interest of full disclosure, if you use this link I do receive a small commission on the sale.)