The Law of Attraction, the age-old idea behind the book and film The Secret (made wildly popular by its ensuing Oprah episode), essentially says the more air time you give an idea – either by talking about it, thinking about it, or otherwise making it a part of your existence – the bigger it gets, and the more likely it is to become reality.
What follows is pretty simple logic: if you spend time visualizing what you want to achieve in life, it’ll be more likely to happen for you. Conversely, if you obsess over all the things that could go wrong, they’ll almost certainly stand in your way.
I reference the law of attraction often to my audiences and coaching clients, and not in a way that discounts the value of hard work, or being in touch with reality. Nothing positive happens until you do the work – that’s a law, too. But there is a lot to be said for viewing your world and living your life with positivity and confidence.
It’s one of the first things that came to mind when I read the report published last month by the National Association of Realtors and authored by Stefan Swanepoel and his company the T3 Group. The D.A.N.G.E.R report is a 163-page ethnographic study combining in-depth interviews of 70 real estate CEOs and thought leaders with survey responses from over 7,800 agents and members of the public on the weaknesses of and looming threats to the real estate industry.
Just about every possible way our industry could be upended, every career-ender, every potential worst business nightmare of a company owner or agent was detailed in the report, which is available to the general public.
The opening threat reads as follows:
MASSES OF MARGINAL AGENTS DESTROY REPUTATION
The real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time, untrained, unethical, and/or incompetent agents. This knowledge gap threatens the credibility of the industry.
In the context of the book, the threats are prefaced by a disclaimer from each of the stakeholders: the author, NAR, and the committee that commissioned the project. But taken out of context they’re some pretty juicy sound bites, with potential to do real damage to our industry if given a lot of air time and head space among sales professionals, the media, and/or the public.
Though the author says “we tried very hard to keep the information objective”, the format of the report conflicts. Fonts, colors, and images all send messages, and the bold, condensed sans-serif fonts, the use of all caps, the reverse color scheme including the white-on-black cover, and the angry, scowling, and stressed-out illustrated figures throughout – including a couple rodents at the very end – all send a jarring and grave message. These are many of the same design choices you’ll find on a Google image search of hard-hitting ads.
In tone, voice, and design, there’s a heavy, heavy dose of sensationalism.
So in an effort to counteract some of that (including what I contributed by even bringing it up), here are a few other emerging game changers every Realtor and member of the public SHOULD be thinking about when they think about our industry:
GREAT PEOPLE SKILLS, RARER TODAY AND MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER, GIVE THE BOOMER GENERATION AN EDGE. In a world dominated by digital communication, analog natives have the potential to feel left behind. But the movement away from personal interaction means the people skills you’ve refined over a lifetime are more valuable now than ever before. Be a constant learner, and get comfortable with technology, sure – it’ll help you be more productive. But one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd today from your customers’ point of view is to be great on the phone and face to face.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND BLOG CULTURE GETS THE WORD OUT ABOUT THE KINDNESS AND GENEROSITY OF REALTORS, BOOSTING THE INDUSTRY’S REPUTATION. Show me a Realtor and I’ll show you someone who knows how it feels to break personal plans to make a showing happen. Or use their personal funds to buy a radon system their buyer clients couldn’t afford. Or stay on hold for hours and hours to negotiate a short sale for a hardship-stricken seller. Show me any Realtor, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t get paid until the deal closes, but does all of this anyway, willingly, because they care. The more transparent our lives become through the social media movement, the more these stories will get told and the better chance the good guys have of winning the day.
BROKERAGE MODELS AND BUSINESSES EVOLVE IN WAYS THAT MAKE SENSE, CREATING LUCRATIVE OPPORTUNITIES FOR TALENTED REAL ESTATE SALESPEOPLE AND IMPROVING OUR INDUSTRY. A lot of the threats in the report hinted at a tear-down of the existing brokerage model and the end of Realtors as we know them. But here’s the thing: no other industry is ditching its sales force, and whatever the predominant business model becomes, real estate will still need one. Homes are big, complex, wildly individual products — not commodities — and as such, they need individual, human attention to be properly marketed and sold. Unless we destroy our country’s existing housing stock and all build identical brand new homes, that’s going to be the case for a long, long time.
Yes, the world is changing. But with change – even disruptive change – always comes opportunity, and with challenges come solutions, and eventually wisdom. And perhaps that’s what’s really missing from the D.A.N.G.E.R. report. After expounding all the hypothetical ways our industry could implode, it doesn’t even touch upon the solutions, or the positive ways our industry’s next chapter could unfold.
The truth is, we work in an industry as rich in opportunity as it is in talent and heart.
Now that all the negative possibilities are on the table, it’s time for each of us to decide how the next several years are really going to unfold, and start talking about, thinking about, and living those outcomes instead.
Who’s with me?