Doing Average Well

OK, admittedly, my last couple of posts (here and here) have been a bit on the motivational speaker side of things. That’s not really the style on this blog, so let’s get back to some tactical, f-bomb laden posts about your real estate business, shall we?

The other night, my son came home from his first basketball camp. When I asked him how it went, he replied that the first half of the camp was boring, but the second half was fun. So, I asked him what was so boring about the first part and what made the second part fun. “Well,” he replied, “the second part was fun because we played a game, but the first part was boring because we just worked on all the, you know, boring stuff like dribbling and passing. It’s more fun to play the game.” As you might imagine, a discussion ensued about the boring stuff being the important stuff. I mean, he teed that “good dad” moment right up for me.

Let’s talk about the boring stuff, the average stuff, the stuff that gets no glory for a few minutes. There are a number of reasons why the average old boring day-to-day is so vitally important to how we play in the big game, regardless of whether it’s basketball or real estate.

Practice Makes Perfect

Look, I have no delusions about my son playing NBA basketball. He’s a short, white kid that lacks what most doctors would refer to as “athletic talent”. But, what he lacks in ability he makes up for in heart, effort, and a true belief that, despite all evidence to the contrary, he is the best player out there. While court-side with Spike Lee probably isn’t in my future, it’s sure fun to watch him.

For those that do make the big leagues, the ones that are the superstars of their field, one thing is undeniably true. They are experts at the average. They are artisans of the boring. They take thousands of shots in practice, missing a lot of them, to be ready when that opportunity comes in the game. They spend hours dribbling, passing, studying, and devoting themselves to their craft.

So, if we want to be the stars of our industry, that’s what we have to do. No reel or social media post is going to make up for a lack of expertise. No designation or certification is going to cover bad service. No, we have to be the best. To be the best, we have to spend hours role playing, practicing, reading, studying, and paying attention to the markets we serve. If part of your real estate practice does not currently involve actively practicing, start today. Like right now. Stop reading this, call another agent or your best friend and practice a script on them. Then come back because there’s more good shit in here.

The Average Makes Things Easier

You know what I never have to worry about? What I am going to say when someone asks me about the market. Or, how I am going to make sure that I am actively communicating with my clients. I don’t lose sleep over how I am going to stay in communication with the important people in my business. Why? Because I take advantage of the slow times to do boring better.

Look, I have yet to meet a ton of agents that tell me how much they look forward to database management. You know who does though? The superstars. Why? Because they know that sitting there doing that boring shit means that they will close more business than the ones who don’t. They understand the power of consistently placing their brand in front of their clients. They have built systems and process that have become habits that drive their business to success year in and year out, regardless of the market conditions.

Be the best at the boring and you will never have to worry about where your business is coming from, your level of service, and your income.

The Average is Where Your Value Lies

If you have read my writing or heard me teach or talk for any length of time, you know that I am huge on value. If you can’t justify it, you can’t ask for your compensation or referrals. Period. Read that last part again, please.

Here’s the truth: real estate agents have done an amazing job of commoditizing themselves. In some cases, organized real estate and regulatory bodies share the blame, but the overwhelming majority of that blame goes on the shoulders of the agents themselves. What the hell am I talking about? Let me illustrate.

The average consumer believes that you go out and open doors and show fancy houses. Then, you get in your expensive car, because all Realtors are rich, and go to happy hour with your friends. A few weeks later, you show up at the title company and take a picture with a big key and then get back in your fancy car and go to happy hour all over again. What a life!

The problem is that the important things happen between the opening of that door and the trip to the title company. Yet, that dumb shit is what we post on social media. Start talking about the boring in your marketing and on social media! Start showing your value and not the results of it.

The Average Puts You in Position to Win

Did you know that if you took away about 10 stocks from Warren Buffett’s portfolio, he would have been a really very average investor? Did you know that Walt Disney produced over 400 cartoons and bankrupted his first studio before hitting it big with Snow White? Did you know that before going on a tour or recording a special, Chris Rock will do dozens if not hundreds of unannounced drop-ins at local comedy clubs? Why do these random bits of trivia matter, you ask?

They matter because if Warren Buffett wasn’t in a position to take advantage of opportunities in front of him, he would have never invested in those ten stocks. It matters because if Walt hadn’t told so many stories, we wouldn’t have his legacy today. I mean, can you imagine a world without Mickey Mouse? It matters because Chris Rock gets paid $20 million per Netflix special.

Neither Warren, nor Walt, nor Chris got to the place where they found success without a whole lot of average and quite a few misses. Imagine if Warren Buffett, the most famed investor ever, gave up after his first loss in a stock. What if Chris Rock got heckled and never told another joke? In our lives we will miss more than we hit. In between those hits and misses, though, will be a hell of a lot of average. That average puts us in a place to win. That preparation, paired with opportunity, comprises what other people call luck. Do average well so you will be prepared to do exceptionally well.

The Average Gives You Leverage

As you begin to win more and more because you’re better at average, there is a negative consequence. You will begin to stretch yourself thin. Look, there are only so many hours in a day. For your sanity to hold, there are only so many hours in a day that you can do your best work. I tell my agents that, at some point, time will become your biggest asset and your worst enemy.

If you are good at the average, it becomes less of a problem for two reasons. First, you leverage tools and tech to build systems that automate as much of your business as you can. We already talked about that in this post. More importantly, because you have these systems in place, you can offload things onto other people. Whether it’s a virtual or live assistant, a transaction coordinator, buyer’s agent, or whatever you need, they should be able to take your system and implement it with a minimal amount of interruption in your business.

The important lesson for this section is to write down your systems as you create them. Edit or scale as necessary. Then all it takes is handing someone your playbook and saying “go do this”.

Boring is called boring for a reason. There is a reason that there are no holidays named after or statues or monuments built to the average people of the world. It’s lame, I get it. Executing the dotted i and crossed t better than the person next to you is what puts you in the position to be the superstar. Who knows, maybe my kid will be the next Steph Curry.

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