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How to Apply the Six "Es" of Success

By putting these six success strategies to work in your business, you can reap the financial and personal rewards associated with healthy growth.

Mary McCall
I’m no cheerleader, but when it comes to selling real estate I know that having a high level of energy and enthusiasm shines through. I also know that the cornerstones of education, ethics, experience and empathy work together to form the very foundation of my real estate career.

I talk with other sales associates about these six “Es” of success, which I practice myself while helping other real estate professionals integrate them into their own businesses. Some are easier to get and use than others.

Experience, for example, will come naturally as you progress through your career. Enthusiasm, however, must be found and cultivated on a daily basis, even when things aren’t working out in your favor.

Here’s a breakdown of my six “Es” and some advice on how to fold them into your own business: 

1. Education
I didn’t start out as a real estate salesperson. For the first year, I was everything from the receptionist to advertising manager to bookkeeper. I had an insider’s view on how the most successful agents operated, and learned quickly that the best ones weren’t in the office very much and were instead out doing presentations and networking.

When I got licensed, I learned from my broker that while pre-licensing education helps you stay out of trouble, it doesn’t teach you how to run a real estate business. For that, you have to enroll in classes and get involved with online education. Knowing this, I’ve earned my CRS (Certified Commercial Investment Member), GRI (Graduate, Realtor® Institute), PMN (Performance Management Network) and e-Pro designations—the Internet certification program sponsored by the National Association of Realtors (NAR)—and continue to enrich myself by frequently taking updated and new designation courses.

Recognized by other sales associates and brokers, as well as many consumers, these designations set me apart in an otherwise crowded field. I know that to be successful I have to keep learning and continuously hone my skills in areas like international real estate, technology and marketing.

2. Experience
Back in the 1980s I was a young, inexperienced sales associate sitting at a desk sending out announcement cards, not understanding how everyone around me could be so busy. Not wanting to “miss the boat,” I volunteered to accept the “overflow” business from the office’s top sales associates. These were the customers that everyone felt were too much of a long shot in which to invest their time and money trying to cultivate as buyers or sellers. I also volunteered to cover for them when they were out of town, and took their floor duty when they were busy.

It was then that I learned there is no substitute for experience. From the beginning, new licensees must constantly strive to gain as much of it as quickly as possible. In your early years, avail yourself of every opportunity to accompany an experienced sales associate or work with a mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or call a help desk.

As your business matures, the experience gained from exposure to multiple real estate scenarios and advice from seasoned veterans will help you become a confident, knowledgeable sales associate.
 
3. Ethics
I’ve worked with real estate professionals who were oblivious to NAR’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice publication. They failed to call ahead when they’re not going to show up for scheduled appointments, they left the thermostat turned down to 60 degrees in a home that they’ve just shown, and otherwise ignored the need for a professional demeanor. They may be able to get away with this behavior for a while, but it all catches up to them and eventually translates into a failed business, complaints and even fines.

I see ethics as a lifestyle choice. I listen to that inner voice that tells me I’m doing what’s right in a given situation. Professional ethics and personal ethics are so intertwined that they cannot be separated. The Realtor Code of Ethics simply defines and reiterates what I already know is proper business behavior.

4. Energy
When someone calls from Oklahoma looking for a home in Tampa, I’m always ready to serve as an ambassador for my area. I’m their link to Tampa, and if I’m not upbeat and energetic, it shows. Multivitamins and Coca-Cola help me through the day, as do frequent glances in the mirror to remind myself that I have to put on my game face or I won’t convey the right attitude to the buyers and sellers that I work with.

It’s not always easy to wake up in the morning feeling energized, but this is something we must strive for as often as possible.

Whether you work 20 hours a week or on a 24/7 basis, you must have energy in order to prosper.

Getting it could mean taking a half-hour off work every day to go for a walk in the park, recharging with a good book in the evening, or taking part in a group meditation class. Eat right, take care of yourself and be sure to balance your workday with enough personal enjoyment to stoke your fires for selling real estate.

5. Enthusiasm
I constantly remind myself that I’m in a “helping” business rather than a “selling” business. I firmly believe that people want to do business with people they know, trust and like. So every time a former customer calls, or another sales associate sends a referral, I get enthusiastic because that means those people like and trust me. I don’t want to let them down, and I always strive to exceed their expectations.

No matter how experienced you are, occasionally a deal falls apart. If it goes awry because of something you can’t control, stifle your disappointment, throw yourself into the next deal and resolve to work twice as hard to usher that one to the closing table. If you really enjoy the business and the challenges that come with it, your enthusiasm will shine through.

6. Empathy
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes isn’t always easy, particularly when your buyer is downsizing due to illness, death, divorce or other life-altering situations. No one really wants to leave that spacious waterfront home for a villa, but sometimes he or she knows it’s the right thing to do. I have to be empathetic to these situations, even when the client is moving against his or her gut feelings and wishes.

When I’m empathetic, I can detect my clients’ wants and needs and try to fulfill their requirements. I always listen and understand what degree of handholding or assistance a particular client needs to get through the home sale or purchase process. When I have empathy, I can help clients manage life situations like divorce, accidents, job loss and even a loved one’s death while remaining professional and ethical.
 
Mary McCall, CRS, is a broker associate at RE/MAX ACR Elite Group in Tampa.