What Realtors Can Learn from William Shakespeare

Monday Morning Match is a quick post – maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea – intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

Happy Birthday today to the great William Shakespeare. The famous English playwright and author has had a huge impact on many of us through his writings, poetry and of course his iconic plays which many of us studied in high school or college. Shakespeare, born on April 23rd, 1564 is credited with writing 37 plays (comedies, tragedies and histories) and over 150 sonnets.

To honor Shakespeare, Carp’s Corner looks at 10 of his famous lines from those plays and relates them to the world of real estate.  (Please note that if you don’t like my selections I will probably just shrug and say “thou doth protest too much.”)


  • “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.” As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

When it comes to being a full-time Realtor, you must play many roles. You go from salesperson to counselor, from negotiator to therapist. You wear one hat to work with home buyers and another to service your home sellers. You spend time on property marketing, personal marketing and social marketing. And that’s just counting your time when you’re focused on your real estate business. Many of us are fathers or mothers, spouses and friends beyond the practice.

  • “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.” Hamlet, Act I, Scene III

The best way to succeed in sales (and never forget that to be a Realtor is to be a salesman or saleswoman) is through questioning. Success is less about knowing and more about knowing what to ask. The best in our business are the ones who ask lots of questions. The more questions you ask, the less talking you do. The less talking you do, the more talking the customer/client does allowing you to identify wants, needs, motivations and urgency. Some of the best transactions you’ll have in your career you won’t have to sell at all. You will actually “listen” your clients into the sale.

  • “I am not bound to please thee with my answer.” The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I

It’s always best to tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. This is certainly true with those clients you may get who are unrealistic when it comes to their expectations. Perhaps it’s that home seller who wants $25,000 more than the house is really worth or the home buyer who feels that every home on the market should sell at $50,000 less than the asking price. Just like a surgeon needs to explain to a patient and his/her family the diagnosis, good or bad, as well as the prognosis for what happens next, a good Realtor should be prepared to be honest and ethical…even when it’s not the easy thing to do. “Mr. or Mrs. Seller, you may not like what the market tells us but it will never lie to us.”

  • “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II
Should a man wait for success as if it is predetermined? Are you going to leave your future up to free will? (Let’s not get into a philosophical argument now. We need a few cold beers to get into that discussion)
It’s much easier to wait for the phone to ring than it is to use the same unringing phone to contact our next client, but we all know that our success is up to us. No one will give you anything in this business. Any success you have you will earn.
 We must continue to build relationships with our clients and ask for referrals. Exposing ourselves to every opportunity to meet new people is one of the best ways to ensure we become “top of mind” to others who might have a real estate need.
  • “Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.” Othello, Act II, Scene III
Haven’t you ever had those days where you are laser-focused in everything you do? You have appointments all day long; your clients seem to be on the same wavelength as you; you and your assistant are almost finishing each other’s sentences; then you look at your watch and it’s 6pm and time to head home to the family. It’s amazing how fast the time goes when we stop focusing on the time.
  • “Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.” Hamlet, Act III, Scene II
There is a dialogue for every scenario and a scenario for every dialogue. Get comfortable with the words you need to help your customers and clients make the best decisions that will help solve their problems. Just remember…there are no new objections. Every single objection – price, commission, terms, contracts, competition, etc. – has a solution and it’s already been written, said and perfected. You either need to remind yourself of it or learn it.
I’ve always said that agents have a mental Rolodex of scripts and dialogues in their heads that they spin during every sales situation. As the question becomes clear, the brain send the proper answer to the mouth and we recite it. The problem is, when you’re a newer agent, the Rolodex only has a few cards and the wheel spins too slow. By the time the card finally makes its way into your mouth, it’s too late. “D’oh! That’s what I should have said,” is a statement uttered by every single Realtor as some point in his or her career.
Just keep loading that Rolodex with cards and know that experience is the grease that oils the wheel to spin faster and pull the right card out when the time arrives.
  • “Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast” Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene III
There is no silver bullet or secret code in this business. There certainly isn’t  a “get rich quick” scheme, no matter what a fast talking traveling salesman or speaker visiting from out of town might try to sell you. This job is about doing what works, over and over again. Don’t rush through everything and be sure to stop yourself every once in a while to enjoy the ride. It goes by quickly once you start getting busy.
  • “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Hamlet, Act II, Scene II
How’s your attitude? When your alarm clock wakes you up each day do you jump out of bed and say “Let’s rock and roll. Today is going to be a great day,” or do you pound the snooze button and moan “Ugh, not another day of this“? Shakespeare said it, as did Henry Ford – “He who thinks he can and he who thinks he can’t are both usually right.”
  •  “Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, which we ascribe to Heaven.” All’s Well that Ends Well, Act I, Scene I

As much as we’d love to attribute our success to a higher power or get pure luck, we have everything to do with our results.

Do you have systems in place? Do you follow them religiously? It’s amazing at how much confidence you can gain when you start understanding the product you are selling and the processes that go with it. It’s also amazing how an increase in competence will boost your confidence. There is rarely anything to be afraid of when you have confidence. 

  • “To be, or not to be: that is the question.” Hamlet, Act III, Scene I
Perhaps one of the Bard’s most famous lines ever. There are just under a million Realtors out there competing with you each and every day. My guess is you didn’t get started in this career with the goal of being a mediocre agent, did you? So what’s it going to take for you to excel in the title role? Are you ready to rehearse, day in and day out, so when the curtain is opened you’re the star that everyone came to see? It’s time to break away from the little community theatre group and aim for the bright lights of Broadway.
The audience is ready. The theatre lights have been dimmed. Dress rehearsal is over.
Cue the orchestra. It’s time to take the stage.
Act 1, Scene 1
(A Realtor enters, stage left, and begins building relationships, solving problems and having fun…) 
Photo Credit: Derek Gavey, Creative Commons 2.0
Photo Credit: BaronBrian, Creative Commons 2.0
Photo Credit: ell brown, Creative Commons 2.0 
4 Responses to What Realtors Can Learn from William Shakespeare
  1. Jim Flanagan
    April 23, 2012 | 2:47 pm

    “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Sean, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorr’d in my imagination it is!”

    How many agents do we both remember, filled with promise and enthusiasm, who are here no longer?

    Hopefully, those who read this post will not suffer their fate!



  2. Deborah Caamcho
    April 23, 2012 | 3:54 pm

    Great post, thanks!

  3. Rosemary
    April 23, 2012 | 3:58 pm

    Awesome post! So very true, we must do in order to receive the things we seek!

  4. Lenzel
    May 1, 2012 | 7:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing; these are things to ponder upon and might I say adhere to