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What Do You Bring To The Table?

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Years ago I attended a conference featuring a chat between Brad Inman and Dave Liniger, co-founder of Re/Max. As most conversations with Brad Inman are, there were some hard-hitting questions that gnawed at the meat of issues we face in the real estate industry. And, from my half-tuned in ears, I heard a statement that I've carried with me ever since: "You don't want to bring a fork to a potluck. You have to bring something people want to dig into." Truth be told, I can't recall what the exact question was that prompted Mr. Liniger's response, but it was referencing the value of the agent in the transaction. 

Often times we get caught up in the idea of someone questioning our worth and proposing discounting our commission or the idea of a portal "stealing" our business (which is a topic for another day), but the reality of the situation is that whatever comes and goes in our industry, so long as we are bringing something to the table that people want to dig into, we're assuring our spot at the table. We spend so much time focused on the potential threats to our business that we're ignoring the one variable that we can control: our own value. 

One of the biggest things I work with agents on is how to articulate their value proposition, and moreover, how to deliver on that value proposition each day so that no one questions your pitch. The key to bringing value is to always ask yourself "what would help them in this moment?" Sometimes that is more properties, sometimes it is a realistic talk about expectations and commitments, while still other times, it it merely helping them navigate a stressful decision. As agents, our role isn't clearly defined - no matter who tells you otherwise. Our role is what we choose to make it. I hope you make it worth it. 

Things That Matter

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I've spent the last week at Inman Connect - the bi-annual gathering of the real estate industry's best and brightest. This conference always has an electric energy to it. It goes beyond the buzzing billboards of Times Square or the headline speakers and extends to the conversations between attendees. Say what you want, but this place is pure magic. 

We all move a million miles an hour on any given day and at conferences, we speed up even more to what I affectionately call "conference speed." But what this week has reminded me of is the magic of slowing down and having those personal conversations with people. Over the last week, I have reconnected with wonderful friends from all around the country. I have learned new things and re-focused on strategies I learned long ago. While the content has been nothing short of remarkable, the biggest gains I've made have been the relationships. And when it comes to those relationships, you've got to slow down and connect.

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I have Inman to thank for a lot of things in my career, but the thing I am most grateful for are the connections and relationships that I have built over the years. Relationships that go far beyond business deals and contracts, but relationships that mean the world to me. Relationships that heal the soul. For me, Inman has been a place where building my business and feeding my soul have gone hand in hand. In a world where "fast and furious"  is often translated to better - I say, what about slower, more connected? 

Last night, Lynn and I shared dinner with some dear friends of ours, including Andrew Flachner, CEO and Co-Founder of RealScout. I bring up Andrew specifically because he is going to officiate our wedding in June and he is one of our dearest friends, despite living on opposite sides of the country and only getting to see him a few times a year. Of course, we relish any time that we have with Andrew, but last night was extra special. Earlier in the day, Andrew had interviewed one of my role models, Simon Sinek on the main stage. Andrew shared with us at dinner that Simon is someone he'd like to catch up with personally the next time he visits New York City, but would rather not prioritize it this week over spending quality time with the people who helped build him up each and every day. This isn't about and us versus Simon Sinek thing. It is about Andrew doing exactly what I am encouraging you to do: slow down and spend time with not only those who feed your intellect but your soul.

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Again, I tell you this story not to brag about my dinner company (although it was admittedly pretty stellar). I tell you this because it is a great example of how much relationships matter. I know it isn't always easy to carve out time for your people. Things get busy, transactions come up, we're moving a million miles an hour. 

What if you slowed down? What would really be impacted? My guess is that you are who would be impacted in a more positive way than you ever imagined. 

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