After four years without a furry friend, we finally got a puppy today. As much as we loved our last dog, we took our time with the grieving process and did our best to determine when was the best time for a new addition. We researched breeds, talked to family and friends and finally decided on what we felt was the right dog for us.
Callie Carpenter is a yellow labrador retriever. We got her from Shannon Valley, a professional breeder east of Newark, Ohio, who came highly recommended from one of our neighbors and good friends. Callie was one of 5 in her litter (2 boys, 3 girls) and came from a very quality lineage of great dogs.
We chose her name after the Calibogue Sound, the body of water that separates Hilton Head Island from mainland South Carolina. I have been visiting there since the mid 80’s, my wife and I spent our honeymoon on Hilton Head Island after our wedding in 1993, and our family has vacationed there for the last 13 years, so this name will remind us of the peaceful setting and laid back approach to life you can find when you visit Hilton Head. Hopefully Callie’s personality will be just that…peaceful and laid back.
While we’ve only had our new family member for less than a day, here are some things that I’ve quickly realized that Realtors can learn from a new puppy…
1. If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll probably never pull the trigger – Most people don’t jump into anything that involves a huge decision…and they shouldn’t. If something is going to have a major impact on your life, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. But many times, some of our biggest decisions involve a mixture of excitement and doubt. It’s really hard to know the outcome of anything until you get started, so quit waiting to make the next big thing in your career happen.
We waited 4 years to replace Hogan with a new dog. Are we 100% ready for Callie? I doubt it. But if we waited until we were 100% ready, we might never have another dog.
Press the button. Hit “send.” Ship! Just do it!
Hire that assistant. Change that CRM system. Reach out to those past clients, neighbors or for sale by owners. Call that competing manager who has been building a relationships and she what she has to say.
2. Take advice from others, not instruction – Have you ever had people tell you what you should do? If they aren’t you’re spouse, significant other or immediate family member, they probably won’t have to live with the consequences of your decision so listen with caution.
Anyone who has a dog (or has ever had a dog) will be quick to tell you what kind to get, from who and when. Pure bred? Rescue? Humane Society? They’ll share advice on what to feed it, how to train it and where to let it sleep. No one’s free advice is necessarily “wrong” but it’s usually worth exactly what you paid for it.
Educate yourself then make your own decisions because, at the end of the day, you’re the one who will live with the results.
3. You can only “get ready to get ready” for so long – We all know that many people over plan everything. As soon as we made the decision to get a new puppy, we started getting the house ready. We threw stuff out, cleaned rooms up and got as many of the leaves, sticks and loose items out of the yard. We set aside money for the vet, the new cage and the dog food. When we left the house this morning to get Callie, we didn’t have any more time to “test our plan of attack.” She was coming home with us, ready or not.
This is also true with Realtors. They sharpen their pencils, fill their coffee cup and readjust the height of their chair 20 times before they will ever dial the telephone to make a prospecting call.
Quit researching blog platforms, just start blogging. Stop thinking about a new farming area if you haven’t reached out to your past clients in over a year. If you haven’t touched base with your sphere of influence yet in 2013, worrying about what CRM you’re going to use in 2014 is a waste of your time.
4. People will want to see, share in and support your new initiative – Want to see people come out of the woodwork? Get a puppy. In the first few hours of having Callie home we had neighbors visit, family members stop by and social media connections send us well wishes, “likes” and virtual support from all over the world. I think anyone out there is willing to support people in their endeavors as long as those people aren’t asking them to do the actual work. I’m not really expecting to hear any volunteers willing to cover one of the “potty shifts between midnight and 6am.
As you begin to look ahead to 2014, have you thought about how many people are willing to help you? It’s a great idea to let them know about your new marketing campaigns, invite them to your client appreciation event that celebrating your successes of 2013 (anyone who has done business with you, sent you business or could send you business is a potential invitee) or tell them how many families you are aiming to help this year and how much their referrals would mean to you.
5. Expect the unexpected – You want to play yet your puppy wants to sleep. You are ready for bed and your puppy thinks it’s play time. It should be time to go potty yet they are only ready to sniff every blade of grass, tree stump and blowing leaf passing through the yard. It’s a puppy so what can you do except roll with the punches.
In the real estate business, one of the best things you can do is not be surprised when things don’t happen the way you expected. Delays happen. Plans change. Buyers aren’t “liars,” they just don’t know what they really want. Most experienced agents have learned not to spend a commission before the check has been deposited, so get in the habit of taking things as they come.
6. Live in the now – It’s been said that most dogs only remember the “now.” If they peed on the carpet, they weren’t trying to make you mad. They just had to pee. As soon as they were done, they were looking for the next opportunity to get a belly rub or a treat.
When can we go for a walk? Do you want to play fetch? Can I sit in your lap now? How about now…? Now…? Maybe now…?
Too many Realtors spend their time worrying about things that have already happened or things they have no control over. Stop worrying about the deal you didn’t get or that transaction that isn’t going to happen. Don’t ask why the lender didn’t approve the loan or the appraiser didn’t see it the way you did. There is too much business out there waiting for you to worry about the past.
Four simple words to “live in the now”? Spit and move on.
7. Keep it simple – We’re going to spend the next few weeks helping Callie get used to being a member of our family. Learning bedtime, potty time, dinnertime and playtime will be a huge step. Responding to her name, listening to commands and being a good dog is all we can ask for.
Sit. Stay. Speak.
Then do it all again the next day.
It doesn’t take a dog whisperer to tell you not to over think what it takes to be successful in real estate…or life.
Build relationships. Solve problems. Have fun.
“Good girl…now who wants a treat?”
Match Photo Credit: Derek Gavey via Creative Commons
Additional Photos from iPhone 4, filtered with Camera+