January 2015 Article

Competing with Yourself

When I see agents advertising themselves as “Number 1,” or “Top Producer,” I wonder who they are comparing themselves to.
Several years ago I had the pleasure of meeting with the world-wide top producer for an international real estate franchise. He worked for a brokerage in a middle-class New York neighborhood, and as a Romanian immigrant he found America to be the ultimate land of opportunity. He told me that he had never tried to be the organization’s top producer, and he never distracted himself by keeping track of other agents’ production. He only competed with himself, trying constantly to beat last week’s, last month’s, last year’s production numbers. That, he said, is what makes the real estate business so much fun.
What kind of competitor are you?
The chronic competitor
Agents and brokers who are competitive by nature sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of competition in the real estate business. Seeing a competitor’s “For Sale” sign in their neighborhood will grate on their nerves. A FSBO’s sign will be a personal affront. The chronically competitive agent sees real estate ads everywhere, and frets that his or her name (or brand) isn’t dominant.
Burnout on the real estate race track
Overly competitive agents often feel dissatisfied because they always compare their production to someone else’s—and there’s always someone else doing better at any given time. A chronically competitive attitude can distract from the small, but important tasks that actually lead to personal success. Spending too much time and energy on competition invites stress and resentment: a prescription for eventual burnout.
Birth order
First born people are often not very competitive, but they like to maneuver themselves into positions where they can be in control. For instance, they like to be the boss. (Ask your broker or manager whether he or she is a first born.) Second born people are often very competitive, and frequently interpret setbacks as “not fair.” They would love to win the top producer award.
Occasional friendly production contests with your colleagues are fine and fun, but forget about competing relentlessly, or with the world at large. You’ll waste your creative energy if you worry about what other agents or companies are doing. Keep your focus on your clients. If you help them meet their goals, you will achieve yours.

By Jim Luger, CDEI
Certified Distance Education Instructor
Continuing Ed Express

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