This August, we had a chance to listen to the wise and savvy advice of three top-producing real estate agents at our annual Mindset for Success event. Emily Sachs Wong, @properties, Luis Ortiz, RE/MAX Partners, and Ryan D’aprile, d‘aprile properties, shared their experience on maintaining a positive attitude in business and how it was met with success. Their tips were both simple and doable, and we couldn’t resist spotlighting our favorites.
When you love your job, your business and your industry, it directly translates to your teammates. Luis recognized it’s not easy, and even he admits to hiding his blues, but it always comes back to how much he enjoys his job and how he can see his happiness affecting everyone around him. The entire team plays a role in company culture. The more who love what they do, the more positive the culture is as a whole.
Gallup reported that job satisfaction among Americans is notably higher in 2015 than it was ten years prior, crediting greater satisfaction with vacation time and health insurance benefits. But thinking about your job as a REALTOR® and what it is about the real estate industry that fires you up may be the best way to swing these stats higher. This idea of simply loving what you do may feel too idealistic, but staying vigilant and thinking big picture, as Ryan said, will pay off.
Whether you’re face to face or over the phone, smiles go a long way when spreading positivity. For example, when a client or team member calls you, have a smile on your face. Emily described it as having a smile in your voice. “Hearing that makes people want to talk to you,” she said.
Not to mention, forcing a smile has been psychologically proven to lift spirits and make you feel better. Ryan starts a viewing with clients and says, with meaning, “This is going to be fun!” Because selling a home can be stressful, he recognizes his responsibility to lead the experience in a positive direction, with something as simple as a steady smile.
Making a habit of walking around and smiling naturally breaks down people’s defense mechanisms. A study in Sweden exposed its participants to various pictures of facial expressions and monitored the participants’ facial muscles while they viewed them. The results demonstrated that the participants consistently mimicked the expressions they were viewing, even if they didn’t realize it. The first step to a positive culture starts with the face.
Meet other people in the industry such as interior designers, photographers, inspectors and appraisers; it’s not only a way to build your craft, it’s also a change of scenery and perhaps conversation. Ryan recommends the Houzz app to see what is trending, what the new color patterns are, and what would work for your clients, while Emily enjoys swinging by merchandise marts to “unplug” but stay relevant to real estate.
Luis puts client appreciation events into best practice, hosting happy hours for past and current clients. It gives him a chance to stay in touch with the people he values. Emily is very involved with multiple charities, spending her time going to events and sitting on a board. Both recognize it can be a challenge balancing the time they spend in the many facets of their business with the time spent with family and children, but their attitudes ensure us it is worth it. “The number one thing we have is we are not stuck in our office all day. We are out in our cars, out in the sunshine,” Emily said.
Good news for book worms: read to make you happy. The panelists were eager to share their recent favorites about positivity and success, and more importantly, they encouraged the practice of knowing what makes you as an individual happy. “Know what makes you tick, what makes you excited, what inspires you, and know what depresses you and what gets you down,” Ryan said.
Emily admits that she enjoys going to C.A.R. forums because it motivates her to hear people thinking and speaking positive about what they’re doing. Luis said, “I just go to the kids and do what they want, and that makes me happy.” Staying in touch with your self-motivation is so important.
The trick to positivity also relies on reminding yourself of your own effort. It is a straightforward form of reassurance and accountability. “You have to know you are doing the best you can, assuming you are doing the best you can. You have to look at yourself and say, ‘Yeah I have been slacking,’ and you have to be willing to admit that to yourself,” Emily said.
Staying in touch with personal effort and what can and can’t be done comes in handy when dealing with tense conversations. “I get the client that calls me and tells me something that’s not nice, and ‘You’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing,’ so I call back and say, ‘I’m sorry.’ It’s up to you to relax and just listen to them,” Luis said.
The future of the real estate industry is an optimistic one, according to Ryan, Emily and Luis. They see their futures and the industry future as predicated on what REALTORS® choose to make of themselves. “I feel like I support this industry by working with other agents and showing them what a rewarding and fulfilling career this is,” Ryan said. He was echoed by the other two, who firmly believe their satisfaction with their careers preceded their success. They also see their role as a leader in their office, their company and Chicago real estate as completely grounded by attitude and how positive they choose to make themselves and, therefore, their business.