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Roadblocks ahead

Image Courtesy of Lyndi and Jason


My name is Ginger Wilcox and I have mental road blocks that have prevented me from accomplishing my goals. 

The first step is to admit you have a problem…

I am a third generation real estate professional.  When I first started selling real estate, I teamed up with my mother, a successful real estate broker in Tempe, Arizona.  She had been in the business for a long time so I immediately jumped in and started selling homes.  Getting clients was the furthest thing from my mind.  My focus was purely on showings, contracts, closings and customer service.  I became very well versed in the mechanics of the industry.

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When I moved to California, I knew the mechanics of the business, but I didn’t know the neighborhood and I really knew nothing about finding new clients.  I felt like I was missing the most important piece- contacts, connections and how to convince people to work with me.  I was petrified to be selling real estate when I did not have the all important past client list.  To make matters worse, I was in my 20’s, looked young, and was young compared to most of the agents and residents of my community.  (The average age of a first time mom in my community is just under 40!)

I knew I needed to meet people and build connections in this new community.  I am extremely social, so meeting people is usually not a problem for me.  I volunteered, joined the PTA, talked to moms at the park, delivered pumpkins to my neighbors.  I did all the things that I was supposed to do, but I was still struggling. 

I was a far better agent, yet I couldn’t get the business

When other people (often times bad agents) had clients rolling in left and right, I was suffering.  It was really frustrating for me to know that I was a far better agent than many of the “successful” ones, yet I couldn’t get the business.  I kept blaming it on my database.  I didn’t have the right people in my database.  I also blamed it on the fact that I was too young.  I thought that people thought I was too young to be a knowledgeable real estate agent.

I had erected a huge roadblock in my path of success.  One pile of rubble was my limited database and lack of connections.  The other pile of rubble was my age and appearance.  How can you possibly sell real estate to affluent older residents when you don’t have the right connections and you look like you are seventeen? Ok, I was in my late 20s, I definitely looked older than seventeen, but other agents did constantly comment on what a baby I was.  (jealousy!)

You can’t clear the rubble if you don’t admit it is in the way

So, how do you get rid of the roadblocks? 

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The first step is to admit you have a problem. Sounds like an AA meeting, but it is true.  You can’t clear the rubble if you don’t admit it is in the way.

Secondly, you need to address the problem head on.  I realize now that I have built quite an impressive database.  Apparently, there are agents salivating to know the people I know.  Why wasn’t my business going where I thought it should go at that time?  It is not about how big your database is or even who is in it- it is all about how you use it.   I was actually afraid of some of the people in my database.

Why would they want to work with me?

So how did I address it?  How did I clear the roadblock?  The clearing is still under way, but the majority of the rubble has been blasted away by a powerful tool..

It is called blogging.  Huh, you say?

Through blogging, I proved to myself that I am a good agent.  I demonstrated my knowledge and expertise to me.    Day in and day out, I write about things going on in my community, issues impacting the real estate industry, tips and tricks on how to be a better agent for other agents.  Through this process, I have developed a confidence in me.  I now know that people should hire me because of what I know and how I treat my clients.  If they choose to hire someone else, it is not a reflection on me.

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Will some people decide not to work with me because I am too young?  Possibly, but if their criteria to work with an agent is age, so be it.  Work with people who want to work with you.  I have sold homes to a former mayor, engineers, professors, PHDs, and CEOs of major companies.  The majority of my clients have hired me because a) they like me and b) I demonstrated my knowledge and expertise to them. 

You can’t prove these things to others if you don’t believe in them yourself.

 

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Written By

Ginger Wilcox is a Broker Associate at Alain Pinel in Marin County, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an accomplished speaker, writer and trainer on the real estate industry, online marketing and social media strategy. Ginger is the publisher of the Marin Real Estate Guide -"Blog by the Bay," a highly regarded Bay Area real estate web site. For more information about Ginger, visit gingerwilcox.com.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Kristal Kraft

    August 11, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Life tends to be more of a mental game more often than not. Sometimes we have all the tools except the most important one; self confidence! Once you discover the power of mind over matter you will move mountains.

    Just do it girl!

  2. Kim Wood

    August 11, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Powerful therapy session here this morning, Ginger!
    Love the analogy – and no matter what the roadblocks are – I’m glad you have learned to figure out what it takes to overcome and get over them!!!!

    The database is very powerful – I agree with – it’s not how big or who is in your database – it’s how you use it!!!

  3. The Harriman Team

    August 11, 2008 at 11:53 am

    To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “RE is 90% mental and the other half is physical.” As Kris pointed out, self-confidence is an all-important and necessary tool in every realtor’s arsenal, but sometimes it can be the hardest one to obtain. Sadly, some people never find it.

  4. Todd Carpenter

    August 11, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    I’m always telling people that blogging is an opportunity to stop saying you’re and expert and start proving it. I never thought about proving it to yourself, but that’s a very good point.

  5. Vicki Moore

    August 11, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I’m with you. I know I’m the biggest road block I’ve got. I need a ginormous bulldozer.

  6. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra

    August 11, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Home run. Home-freaking-run!

    My wife and I can relate very well to your experience. Many of the benefits of something like blogging are ancillary to generating leads, but they do, in fact, improve your business. There is an educational and professional development to blogging that is often overlooked because everyone is busy looking for the magic bullet that will generate endless leads.

  7. Matt Stigliano

    August 11, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Ginger – Thanks for this post. I’ve got mental roadblocks (who doesn’t) and have been struggling with one of them a lot recently. I know its there and can’t seem to break through it, but I know I have to in order to succeed. I think I’m going to print this one out and keep it with me as a reminder that its not just me that has them. Sometimes its easy to forget that and feel a bit beaten by it, but when you know its common to everyone, it makes it seem laughable and hopefully this will help me speed right through it.

    Thanks.

  8. Paula Henry

    August 11, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Hi, I’m Paula………..and I totally relate to this. I went form California to Arizona, a little backwards from you – and now in Indianapolis. The roadblocks to my success each time I started over were truly mental. It is a struggle. I have found my blog to be a great benefit this time around – The last time, I might add.

    As for other roadblocks, I am working on them.

  9. Todd Waller

    August 11, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Ginger,

    That was a spectacular bit of introspection for the rest of us to see! Keep bulldozing the roadblocks aside and you will only see greater results!

    Blogging and some good old fashioned kicks in the rear got me moving this last year! The blogging allowed me to teach/learn more about the marketplace and industry, while the kicks in the rear were administered by some folks that I respect and know want to see me succeed.

    And let me tell you, that accountability has been phenomenal! No more “business constipation” here!

  10. Kristal Kraft

    August 11, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Ginger ~ I was reading about the Olympics and found a blog on mental strength. It really goes along with your topic and thought I would share.
    Mental Strength
    We can all use this! I know I can!
    kk

  11. Andrew in Houston

    August 11, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Goodl to hear things are looking up for you. I do agree when you are a true professional and your strive to know more than anybody else in your field good things will happen. People will come to you for questions and this will increase your confidence. Knowing your market, your customers, and where the market is going. And know this better than anybody else. Thanks for the story.

  12. Holly White

    August 11, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    I’m reminded of a Daily Affirmation by Stuart Smalley: “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People like Me!”

    You go girl!

  13. Melissa | Talk San Francisco Real Estate

    August 11, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Ginger,

    You definitely made my day. I had the same exact feeling when I entered real estate four years ago. To be honest with you, I still sometimes get a hard time because of the age thing, but I am 31! However, I think I look not a day older than 25. Like you, I learned that it’s not about the age or how we look. It is about our knowledge. No matter how young we look, people will work with us based on our knowledge and credibility. I give you a lot of credit for this post, because you are not afraid to show your past struggles. Keep up the good work. From one “young” Realtor to another, it’s not the amount of years under your belt, it’s the drive, motivation, effort, and knowledge.

  14. Lisa Sanderson

    August 12, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    You youngsters have it made in this day and age. Why, when I was a very young-looking 23 yr. old new licensee, we didn’t have this fancy internet thingy to woo people with. What I found back in the day is that people responded to genuine-ness…they valued someone who worked hard, who wasn’t afraid to admit that she didn’t know it all, yet knew exactly where to find answers, and who didn’t try to hard sell ’em. So, you are right…it is all about attitude and the power of your thoughts.

  15. Ginger Wilcox

    August 13, 2008 at 8:32 am

    KK- Yes, it is a mental game. Isn’t that what elite athletes say?

    Kim- it is all about using the tools..

    Harriman Team-It can be tough to have confidence in an industry with so many ups and downs. Interesting how so much real estate training is focused on more technical stuff instead of mastering the mind!

    TC-Sometimes we need a little reminder ;o )

    Vicki-I prefer dynamite!

    Daniel- Thanks. I can honestly say that I have developed more professionally from blogging than any class I have ever taken. Hands on training is the key!

    Matt-Everyone gets roadblocks. We each put up our own ones, but they exist. My guess is that once you clear them, new ones may often form. Perhaps we should think of it like a snow plow- we have to keep clearing it out with every new snow!

    Paula- 3 markets, that is tough. I hope the third time is the easiest. Perhaps you should come up with a blog address that is location neutral so you can move it with you each time. =)

  16. Ginger Wilcox

    August 13, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Todd- that is fabulous!! Yes, sometimes we do need so good old-fashioned kicks in the rear. Accountability is really important to success in any aspect of our life- at least for me.

    KK- thanks for coming back and sharing. I can definitely use this.

    Andrew- Yes, sometimes you just have to keep learning, keep working and eventually the results pay off.

    Holly- I need to put that one on my wall.

    Melissa- What a nice comment! (And you are just across the bridge from me!) I also still get comments about my age, but at some point, you just can’t level that dictate your success. Motivation and knowledge is key.

    Lisa- very true, the web levels the playing field for younger licensees because they have a level of tech savvy that may be more difficult for older agents to achieve (of course, there many very, very tech savvy older agents, but in general, I think it is easier for the generation who started with computers in kindergarten)

  17. Seth Parker

    August 13, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    I used to think the same way about being young. I started selling real estate when I was 19 (as young as possible in AL). I hadn’t had the experience you had, though. I was just stepping through the door empty-handed, idealistic, and knowing only what the real estate classes taught me. I thought I lost a lot of business because I was young. That was part of it. Ignorance was the majority of it.

    I turned the corner when I realized that market knowledge and experience overcomes any thoughts from a client about youth. I applied myself to learning the market, and being around as many of the “big shots” as possible(the good ones) to learn how they relate to clients, build rapport, etc. I still consider myself young at 25, but I feel like a veteran. It’s amazing how a psychological epiphany can absolutely change the way you do business.

  18. Grant in Nashville

    January 22, 2010 at 1:07 am

    I just ran across your blog post and it could no be any truer today that it was 18 months ago when you wrote it. Awesomeness and motivating!

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