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Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't fail to try...

“Try, and fail, but don’t fail to try.” (Stephen Kaggwa) from Jack’s Winning Words. Jack went on to talk about trying or doing things that might be on one’s bucket list, before it’s too late. I’d contend that as realtors we face this challenge every day. All too often at the end of those days there are too many things on or “coulda, woulda, shoulda” list because we find ways not to try.

Whether through procrastination or just fear of failure, sometimes we don’t even try new things. I certainly know that I’m guilty of that. Sometimes my wife and I use a phrase that my dad used to use a lot – “go with what you know.” Dad was not one to get very far outside of his comfort zone. We use that phrase most often when discussing choosing a restaurant for a weekend meal. Sometimes it’s just easiest to go with what you know, rather than trying someplace new. In that case, it’s a matter of getting a good meal of known quality, rather than taking the chance on a new place and a new menu. Fortunately we both have enough sense of adventure to overcome that conservative approach once in a while and try a new place. Many times to our great delight we “discover” a great new place to eat and add it to our “go with what you know” list.

In real estate there are probably lots of opportunities to try something new, whether it be a new prospecting approach or a new CMA analysis tools or a new listing presentation.  Many times there are things out there to potentially try that we don’t even know about or maybe don’t associate with our business. That’s why you also need to work at finding things to try. One easy way to do that is to make the effort to study the profession. You read about athletes who “study the game” or are called “students of the game”. Michael Jordan was one and LeBron James has been attributed with the same curiosity about the game basketball. Tiger Woods has been called a great student of golf.  Those athletes study the history of their game and delve deeply into the mechanics and strategies and other aspects of the game.  Often, after their playing days, these students of the game become coaches; sometimes great coaches.

In our profession, to be a student of the game one must study what makes real estate tick and what it takes to be good at it. For some that means reading, for some it means taking courses and for others it means picking the brains of mentors or others with more experience. For all it should mean never stopping the learning process and approaching that process pro-actively, rather than waiting for something to happen and then drawing conclusion from that. It also means trying and failing, but never failing to try. Hesitation to try new things in the early days of the current recession led many of us (and I count myself in this crowd) to avoid (or try avoiding) getting involved with foreclosures and short sales. Better that we should have tried and failed and then tried again to figure out how to work with the lenders through those trying times. Lesson learned there! I've since started a good practice in short sales.

So, now we face another challenging period as the real estate market tries to adjust to the new reality of dealing with reduced home values, low inventory and a still leery and recession weary population. One thing is for sure – trying to get by with a “same old same old” approach isn’t going to work. It’s not the same old market and the same old approaches will not serve the real estate practitioner nor the client very well. What will work? I don’t know, but as for me, I’m off to find it and try it. I do not intend to fail because I failed to try. What about you? Are there things that you are missing because yo don't even try?

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