RISMEDIA, April 15, 2011â€”Starting each day with enthusiasm comes easily to most agents when the housing market is booming. But when times are tough, even the most experienced CRSs can struggle to maintain their drive. â€œItâ€™s hard to get motivated when youâ€™ve been hittingÂ the wall, but those who get frustrated and slack off or quit are simply creating opportunities for those who donâ€™t,â€ says Fawn Germer, a global speaker on leadership and performance and the best-selling author ofÂ Finding the Up in the Downturn.
â€œJust remember that the window is wide open to succeed when others are giving up. Motivation is a personal thing. You can find it in books, meditation, athletics, affirmations, friends, natureâ€”just about anywhere. Know what inspires you and tap into that.â€ While some agents have a sound motivational strategy in place that works for them, many others may feel like theyâ€™ve tried everything to no avail. But experts and highly motivated professionals agree that persistence is the key. Whether their motivation comes from positive thinking, mentoring others or seizing obvious opportunities, successful CRSs know that good motivation can lead directly to success in any market.
Accentuate the Positive
The power of positive thinkingâ€”as described in scores of self-help and business booksâ€”serves as a common touchstone for many professionals. For example, the popular book and movie The Secret touts â€œthe law of attraction,â€ which contends that positive thinking can bring positive outcomes, including wealth, health and happiness. And although skeptics may dismiss this line of thinking as New Age malarkey, Germer says positive thinking most certainly can work.
â€œThe science of the brain is that it believes what it is toldâ€”whether it is true or not. If you wake up and say, â€˜This market [is terrible], and Iâ€™m going under,â€™ youâ€™ll be going under in a market that [is terrible]. But youâ€™ll get an entirely different result if you repeat affirmations like â€˜I have what it takes to be successful in any climate, and I am proving that now.â€™â€ Germer suggests that agents come up with a routine to help them remember to stay on a positive course.
â€œCome up with 10 positive statements and repeat them at least 10 times every day,â€ she says. â€œSoon, your brain will believe what you have told it and will create exactly what you have told it you are creating.â€ For Beth Jaworski, CRS, GREEN, with Shorewest Realtors in the Milwaukee area, some simple daily strategies help her maintain a positive attitude and outlook on her work and life. She begins every day by reading the motivational and inspirational emails she receives each morningâ€”one from Motivation in a Minute and another from an animal shelter charity, which provides inspirational stories of animal rescues. â€œItâ€™s a positive way to start the day,â€ she says. â€œIt doesnâ€™t have to have anything to do with real estateâ€¦itâ€™s like exercise, it just brings your attitude up.â€
Jaworski limits the amount of negative news she watches and spends minimal time in her officeâ€™s computer room, where she says everyone goes to complain. She also takes time throughout the day to stop and think how lucky she is. â€œI choose to believe itâ€™s a great time and opportunity for real estate,â€ Jaworski says. â€œStaying positive is a choice you have to make every minute, every hour, every day. There are REALTORSÂ® who tell clients, â€˜I havenâ€™t had a check in five months.â€™
That wonâ€™t inspire them to want to work with you. Clients want someone who is upbeat, but informed and realistic.â€ Her approach seems to be working. Jaworski says she usually averages about 40 property sales a year; last year she sold 49 and achieved her best year ever.
Lend a Hand
Sherri Teepen, CRS, ABR, with Keller Williams Realty WCMC in Austin, Texas, experienced a slump in business when a family illness occupied her time at the beginning of 2010. She credits the skills and strategies she learned at a motivational course she took last summer for getting her back on track. For example, the course inspired her to form a mastermind groupâ€”essentially a supportive group of colleagues who give each other feedback, brainstorm new ideas and keep each other focused and accountableâ€”with nine young agents in her office.
The group meets monthly to discuss the progress of their transactions, their successes and their challenges. She also invites mortgage, insurance and title professionals to speak to the group, and then they discuss how that information can be used in their business. Teepen says itâ€™s especially important forÂ real estateÂ professionals to have a support system and a process for accountability to help them stay motivated to succeed. While most real estate offices are ultracompetitive, she says the mastermind group provides a more collaborative space for professionals to share their insights and learn from one another.
â€œFor me, itâ€™s more of a ministry to help the young ones be successful. That keeps me motivated,â€ she says. â€œThereâ€™s nothing better or more energizing than helping someone else. When they have overcome adversity, itâ€™s a huge adrenaline high for them and for me. I canâ€™t imagine not getting excited about someone elseâ€™s success.â€ Teepen also belongs to another mastermind group of more experienced agents from other offices. â€œThese people have been through the ups and downsâ€”we challenge each other by asking, â€˜Are you making your calls? Are you asking for the business? Are you joining organizations?â€™ That little nudge of accountability spurs you on. You donâ€™t want to go to a meeting without doing your homework!â€
Eyes on the Prize
Terry La Scola, CRS, ABR, an associate broker with Real Estate Teams LLC in Frederick, M.D., admits it can be challenging to stay on track, especially since theÂ real estate marketdownturn has lasted longer than many experts had forecast. But she says itâ€™s been easy for her to stay motivated because she has a drive to search for opportunities to succeed. La Scola recognized early on that the market downturn presented not only a challenge, but also an opportunity. â€œI saw where others were cutting back and melting, and I thought, â€˜Iâ€™ll work harder, Iâ€™ll work longer, and Iâ€™ll figure out how to work smarter.â€™ I wanted to grow my team and take more market share.â€
To do that, La Scola knew she needed to make some changes in the way she motivated herself and her team. For example, La Scola drafted a clear set of specific goalsâ€”everything from broad annual targets to monthly and weekly goals and daily lists. She required her staff to present their own goals at the weekly staff meetings. â€œDay by day, week by week, I love seeing our progress,â€ she says. â€œThere is nothing more exciting than looking at the bulletin board and seeing you have accomplished most of your goals.â€ A clear vision and high standards keep La Scola on track. â€œMy sales have increased every year since 2004, and I donâ€™t think this year will be an exception to that. My motivation is, â€˜Am I doing it better today than at this time last year?â€™ And thatâ€™s what really jazzes me.
You stay motivated because you constantly remind yourself where you want to be.â€ But motivation isnâ€™t a one-size-fits-all proposition. If you know what inspires you, use it. If you donâ€™t know, donâ€™t be afraid to be open-minded and borrow a strategy from a colleague. Forward motion starts with a single step in the right direction. And it canâ€™t hurt to smile and stay positive along the way.
Mary Ellen Collins is a writer based in St. Petersburg, Fla., and is a frequent contributor toThe Residential Specialist.
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