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‘Maybe’ kills our careers one letter at a time.

I have been selling real estate for a while now. Not as long as many of you who are frequent contributors or readers here, though. When I got started in real estate, it was the outcome of my last falling out with Corporate America. What my last experience with working for someone else finally taught me is that I am unemployable. I am a great worker; I have a constant flow of ideas that would be of potential value to a business. I simply do not play well with others who are in positions of responsibility and who insist on being a choke point either for my career or for the flow of good ideas to benefit the company. I experience many of the same frustrations in real estate, but at least in real estate I am free to move myself into alignment with others of like mind. I find the choke points to be less restrictive and the potential for personal growth and development to be unlimited.

When I earned my real estate salespersons license (what the State of Washington calls me) I thought that the business would be simple. Just tell people that I am selling real estate and they would say “well, we need to have you help us.” What I found out very quickly was that EVERYBODY knew a Realtor. I was constantly being told “Oh, that’s great but <Insert name here> is selling real estate too.” That response stopped me dead in my tracks. I know that many of you will respond to me that this response should have never stopped me. You are right it; it no longer does, but it did then. I was terrified of rejection or so I thought. What I found out was that I was terrified of everything but the word “Maybe.” No meant that I was being rejected and my self esteem took another blow beneath the belt (I was also going through the long slow decline of a marriage and self esteem was in short supply). Yes meant that I had to deliver value, and frankly I did not have a clue what value to deliver. Maybe, oh sweet maybe. I could go home and tell my wife “So and so said they might need to sell!” I lived for maybes. I cherished maybes. I nourished maybes. I did not want them to grow into yeses. I did not want them to wither into no’s. I wanted an abundance of maybes in my life.

Then one day when I realized that I could in fact deliver value, and that I was actually someone who knew a bit more than the average barista about real estate, it hit me. I wanted yeses. I was still terrified of nos but I wanted to get to that yes.  I started reading BHB and people like Chris Johnson and Jeff Brown were talking about pounding phones and skinning cats. I read what they had to say, and it seemed like they had no fears. I read what Brian Brady and Russell Shaw had to say. Russell was the first one to say things in a way that I could relate to. Then, over time more and more of the posts made sense to me. Just pick up the phone, call, rinse, repeat, again and again as necessary. I’ve read most of the posts on this site at least once and many of them multiple times. Even Greg Swann’s posts that make my brain hurt! The reason I am a Realtor today is because of the posts here on BHB.

Once I realized that I was wasting my time and working much harder and longer to attract the maybe I was hoping for I started realizing that I needed to move to yes.  The fastest way to yes? Ask the questions that will uncover the yes or the no! Simple right? Well on paper it is. I am great at getting in my own way. I second guess everything including the second guesses. It took me a number of months to move out of my own way and to begin to grow a business that today I am proud of. I’m not yet one of my area’s top producers but I  own and run a business that I am happy with. I have a business plan in place for 2010 and I expect that it will be my best year yet.  All it took was to stop looking for maybes.

Related posts:
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  • Will NAR’s Latest 3-Letter Word Be Another Failure?
  • Bleg: What kind of Direct Mail letter works best?

  • 3 comments

    3 Comments so far

    1. Jeff Brown November 23rd, 2009 8:17 am

      Scott — It’s been my contention what you’ve called ‘maybe’ is the ‘puttin’ in the time’ syndrome. I love how you’ve captured the essence of the journey from spending time at something to spending time skinnin’ cats.

      At some point you must’ve asked yourself the question: Does anyone care what I’ve been doin’ all this time if I can’t point to a wall of freshly skinned cats?

      You’ve nailed this particular cat to the wall. Great effort.

      You’ve made my week. Much appreciated.

    2. Greg Swann November 23rd, 2009 11:18 pm

      > Ask the questions that will uncover the yes or the no!

      A rockin’ post. This is your best yet, and a whole bunch of agents should send you gifts this time next year. The bone goes home with the dog who wants it most.

    3. James Boyer November 24th, 2009 5:58 am

      Yes, this is a good post. I think that most Realtors who eventually reach success will go through those stages. I also find that it is best to just get to the point, and forget about maybe. To me maybe means no because maybe means I will think about it, but most people never think about it when they say they are going to think about something.