— Francesca Vavala (@francesca_homes) January 27, 2015
It was a good question. One that made me think and one that at first made me sad.
In business it does seem that the entire point is to have one more sale. The point of sales is to create goals to beat sales from last year, last quarter, last month. Always be selling right? It feels heartless and cold. Where is the human factor in sales and in business?
Then add in the fact that sales is a brutal double-edged sword. When sales are good the high from it is like no other. You are happy, you are moving forward, nothing can stop you. You are at the top of the mountain! But what goes up must come down right? The other edge of that sword is the life sucking, soul crushing experience of sales. You feel awful, you feel like you aren’t good enough and you get into a funk. Sales is the highest of highs, the lowest of lows.
A Different Perspective
Earlier that day I had a talk with my friend Pat. Pat is older and wiser than me and he taught me something interesting during this chat. It was something I already knew, he just explained it to me in a different way. Pat has four boys and he taught them that there is more to life than work. Sure, a message we have all heard countless times. Pat took it one step further. He said to me “In 100 years you will be gone. Your kids will be gone. Will anyone know what it is that you did for work day in and day out? Will anyone remember the name of your business?”
The answer is no they won’t. This got me to thinking even more. Last fall my mother-in-law passed away. Shortly after she died my husband and his brother spent time going through her things. My mother-in-law must have had 5,000 pictures in boxes. No joke, she kept a ton of photos. What was sad is that maybe a quarter of them had labels on the back. We have no idea who these people are in the photos. But when they were taken these people meant something to my mother-in-law. This speaks to Pat’s point. In 100 years, maybe even 50 years, you may be a forgotten person in someone’s box of photos.
Then Pat said something to me that changed the mood of the conversation. “No,” he said, “people will not remember what it is that you did. So what’s the point of working everyday? Why do we do it? The point is that it is our job while we are here to help as many people as we can. We are here on this earth to take care of each other and to help each other.”
Now an interesting thing to note about Pat. He’s a sales guy. He has been selling for 20 years. He now has his own business teaching people to sell and hosts a podcast called Sales Babble. So here is a sales guy, one that pushes for more sales, saying the entire point is to help each other. To take care of each other.
Help Each Other
We all love Zig Ziglar’s quote “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” Do you feel the “will just help” part of that quote though? Help people. You have to help people to get what you want. Helping people is how you leave your mark on this world. How you let people know you were here. How do you give that kind of help?
You give your clients so much value that they are blown away. You work to make a difference in their lives. You work to make their lives better. You have to give that help, that value, knowing that you may never see a penny in return. You have to be okay with that and take it one step further and feel good about it. So good that you feel warm right down to the tips of your toes that you helped someone without receiving any financial gain.
Let’s take this blog for example. I research ideas to help real estate agents grow in their business and in their lives. I look for the hot topics or ideas that agents are struggling with. Then I write my ideas a couple of times a week. Each blog post takes a good 3-5 hours to research, write, edit and add graphics. Do you know how much money I have made since I started in November? $4.73. I know, don’t spend it all in one place right?!
But do you have any idea how much I love it and how much fun I am having? This has been great! You want to know why? What makes me happy and what feels good right down to the tips of my toes? That I am helping people. Before blogging I owned Automated Marketing. I was creating postcards, websites, etc. for agents. I didn’t feel like I was helping people. I was creating a product for their financial gain. I was creating this tool that was judged on whether it would make someone money. I was good at it, I made more money doing it than I do blogging, but it did nothing for me. No warm toes feeling at all.
Now when I write a post about the funk or what can you do in six minutes I get the warm toes feeling. It comes from people reaching out to me about my writing and not from the money. To have people tell me that something I wrote moved them or changed their outlook is incredible. When someone tells me that something I wrote made a difference in their lives I know I have helped someone. That feels good. Scratch that– that feels amazing! How do you know you have really helped someone? You feel complete humility in their praise. I am humbled by the people who are telling me that what I am writing makes an impact on their lives. I really am.
Are You Passionate?
When you first start blogging, seasoned veterans will tell you, if you start blogging just to make money, you never will. You have to help people. You need a passion for what you are writing about. You have to love what you do. Isn’t the same true for real estate? Yes we all know the rock star real estate agents that are making a ton of money. But if that is all you are chasing, a dollar amount, will you ever be happy? Will the dollar amount ever be enough or will you always want more? I noticed something when I sold mortgages. When times were lean and I started to see clients as dollar signs they knew it and I always lost the deal. The times when the money didn’t matter to me, the clients came from everywhere.
Now think about your real estate business. Is this all about another sale like my friend Francesca asked? If so, does that motivate you and make you feel good to the tips of your toes? Or is this about helping people? Is this about providing so much value through real estate that you are changing people’s’ lives every time you help them? If the point of being here like Pat said is to help people, then no, it shouldn’t be about another sale. It should be about people. Real estate is and always will be a people business. That is why the giants like Truila and Zillow will never replace you. You are alive, warm, kind, knowledgeable agents.
Does that mean you shouldn’t set goals? No, I think written goals are critical to success. I love helping people through this blog but I have written business and financial goals for it. But I don’t think success as an agent should only be about the numbers. My definition of success is about how many people I have helped. How many people’s’ lives I have made better. It’s about getting to know people, finding out what they need and figuring out how I can help them.
I think the same is true for real estate. Listen to your clients. Listen to what they aren’t telling you so you can help them more. Give them more than what they expect. Show up for them, give them extra tools that can help them during the home buying and selling process. Go the extra mile and be intentional about it.
So to make a long story short Francesca and my friends, no I don’t think it is always about another sale. I think it is about helping people, making an impact on their lives and giving back. That’s what the world will remember us by long after we are gone. If you are passionate about selling real estate and love helping people then the sales part will take care of itself.
Do you think real estate is more than sales? Do your goals include how many people you can help? I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please leave me a comment below. Thank you for sharing!