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Our future depends on who we fight for- ourselves or others?

Do you talk at the TV?  I do. I can’t help myself, I’ve been doing it for years.  It’s worse now than ever, and so am I. I talk back.  I point a finger and call bulls**t. I talk smack.  I roll my eyes, and shake my head.  I rant out loud.

TV News is sensational fear mongering, rubberneck entertainment, designed to attract attention, just like New Jersey Housewives.  The more drama, disaster, WTF, and OMG, the better.  They shout about how they are the World-Wide-News-Leader, and Intergalactic Authority.  They over broadcast, the American sky is falling, along with home prices, and hopes and dreams.  They tell, tell, tell us that we’re doomed, everything sucks (except them), and we should stay tuned for even more, bigger and better disaster, heart wrenching misfortune, and or,  maniacal disapproval and bitter disagreement.

What I should do is, turn it off.  But I want to know what others might be hearing.  Knowledge is power, right.  So I watch, roll my eyes, and rant.  But I don’t inhale, or swallow.

There’s an explanation for their cheesy behavior, the TV News and Broadcast Media Complex is doing this because they are losing viewers.  They’re loosing viewers and advertising revenue, they’re threatened, reacting desperately, and behaving embarrassingly disgustingly idiotically lamely destructively badly.

Lessons Learned From Desperation

As a species, when threatened, our instinctual reaction is to fight, or haul ass towards safety.  I believe that’s what’s happening with TV in general, and TV news specifically.  They are losing viewers, so they’re threatened and desperate, and because they can’t flee, they’re fighting; shouting, telling and selfish-selling like crazy. They have to attract attention (viewers), they have to fight.  This explains Housewives, and Doom and Gloom News-casting.

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The fight or flight reaction is alive and well in the real estate business too.  We’ve managed to hang on through the worst recession in our lifetimes.  Even though things were rougher, and harder, we’ve made it through the spring and summer.  So far, so good.

Now fall and winter is knocking.  We know, recession or no recession, seasonality will present fewer opportunities.  It’s a fact, fewer people buy and sell homes in the Fall and Winter months.   This seasonal slow down is a reality.   As this reality sets in, it may lead to fear-feelings, then desperation, which is normal (how we respond to fear, and feeling desperate is what this article is about).  The next thing that happens is, when we feel threatened,  we’re gonna wanna fight (it’s instinctual), and we should.  Business will be scarce, it’s not gonna fall into our laps, we have to earn it.  Yeah, we’re going to have to fight for it, but as we do, we have two choices.

Choice One:  Fight For Yourself and Lose – Shouting, Telling, and Selfish-Selling.

When we’re threatened and feeling fearful, powerful emotions mobilize our fight or flight instinct.  One way of fighting is to lash out and smack people.  The problem is, when we smack people, their fight or flight instinct kicks in and then they smack back, or they run from us. We want to guard against lashing out at the very people who are most important to us.  We have to guard against lashing out at our prospects, suspects, clients, friends, colleges, family, and our pets.

How do you know if you’re lashing out?  Examine what and how you do things.  You’ll recognize yourself, or others, as lashing out when in their desperation, they are shouting, telling and selfish-selling.  Here’s what lashing out looks like.

Shouting is when you blair, and over-broadcast. It’s thinking that if you can overwhelm with frequency and VOLUME, people will be persuaded, and you can control and bully your target. It’s not about what’s relevant to others, it’s about what’s important to you.  If you’re shouting, or you get the urge to shout, don’t.  Instead of shouting, listen.

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Telling is shouting all about you.  It’s yammering, droning, and bleating about how luminescent you are, how excellent everything you do is, and how you’re Number One.   Also, people don’t believe, or trust what sales people say about themselves and their blah-blah, as much as they believe and accept, actual proof, documentation, demonstration, recommendations, and track record.  People believe what you show them, not what you tell them.  If you’re shouting, and telling, don’t.  Instead of shouting, listen, instead of telling, share what’s needed, and show them, don’t BS them.

Selfish-Selling is shouting, and telling people about how magical your (self-centered) offering is.  It doesn’t matter so much if  it’s the right product or the best service, it’s about you, and what you think is best, and they should buy it, because you say so, and you need a sale to survive.  If your shouting, telling and selfish-selling, don’t, it’s like smacking people.  People (and opportunity) will either avoid you, or they will fight back.  Either way, nobody wins.

If you want to attract opportunity, and have people choose you, and recommend you, do this.

Choice Two:  Fight For Others and Win – Listening, Sharing, Showing, and Solving.

It’s important to understand that everyone around us is a constant state of bombardment too.  It’s a pretty stressful time for everyone.  Let’s face it, we’re living in a trust starved, don’t sell me, don’t bore me, and don’t bullshit me society.  How we behave under pressure is more important than ever.  Instead of reacting instinctively, and lashing out, we need to respond intellectually, instead of self-centered and selfish-selling, we need to place the focus on others. Instead of fighting for ourselves, we need to fight for others.

To understand how to best fight for others, we have to know what they need.  Instead of over broadcasting, dominating the relationship, and trying to be interesting, we should be interested in them, asking them lots of questions, listening to what they have to say, what they want, what they need, and what they fear.

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When we know a person’s needs, wants, and fears, instead of ramming down their throat telling them all about how our squared pegged and self-centered stuff can be hammered into their round holed need, we can share and show them how our them-centered solutions get them exactly what they want and need. When we do that, we all win, and we get paid.  And recommended too.

Desperation. Instinct. Intellect. Survival and Triumph (hopefully).

Like I said earlier, anyway you slice it, the next six months will be more challenging, threatening, and stressful, than the previous ten.  When we feel threatened, instinct kicks in.  Some will want to run for safety, which means getting out of the business, there’s no shame in that – God’s speed.

For the rest of us, instinct will energize our efforts to fight for survival.  The important thing for us, is not to act desperate, and thoughtless.  We must guard against over broadcast, shouting, self-centered and selfish-selling.  The paved path to survival, and ultimately triumph, is to laser focus our attention on others, listening and sharing solutions that solve their problems, help them get what they want, and vaporizing their fears.

Because you’re reading this, I know you have it in you.  It’s going to be a long winter, let’s encourage, respect and support each other. Let’s not fight amongst ourselves, or for ourselves, let’s fight for others and each other.  We’re actually fighting for ourselves, when we fight for others.

Thanks for reading.

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Written By

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.



  1. Susie Blackmon

    September 27, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Hi Ken. A great post and a valiant effort on your part… unfortunately, those who have to be reminded of ‘not fighting’ at this point will never get it. And I so respect you for being realistic about the next 6 [to 12] months. The fluff jobs out there make me crazy. P.S. I’m happy to be in horse country again (Ocala)… What in the heck was I thinking?

    • Ken Brand

      September 27, 2010 at 11:59 am

      I guess that true Susie. I think I’m reminding myself, you know, so I don’t kick the crap out of someone, even when they deserve it. I’m glad you’re back in Horse Country, it’s good for you soul, and it shows. Cheers Susie. Thanks.

  2. Brian McCloud

    September 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I honestly don’t even watch TV anymore. I find that most of the shows are junk and offer no real value to my life at all and news is very hard to believe anymore. The media is controlled by only a handful of companies who just try to brainwash you with reporting only half of the story or whatever they want you to believe.. They never report the truth or the full story of what really happened. It’s a shame and I can only hope things change for my kids sake!

  3. Ruthmarie Hicks

    September 27, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    The sad thing is – selfish selling works…All too well…It wouldn’t still be around if it didn’t work. I’ve had a rough summer and will fully admit to being scared to death about this winter. I don’t gloss over the issues – I’m not one to put on a game face and say “everything is wonderful.” I don’t lie well – so I don’t bother to try – it takes up too much energy anyway.

    But my coach is saying I need “scripts” to “overcome objections.” I have a Ph.D. – and quite honestly have answered very complex questions on the fly – but that means I answer people thoughtfully and honestly and clearly. And let’s face it – there are some people for whom it is NOT a good time to buy or sell. Scripts are there to push someone to act in OUR best interest- not to do what is in their best interest – which is why I don’t like them.

    BUT – it was pointed out to me that an agent that I see as slightly ethically challenged is doing a lot better than I am – and that I should take a page from her book. Said agent has only been around a couple of years and is trouncing me by being in everyone’s face. Sadly, this works.

    This agent asked me “What do you do if the prospect says they have had an agent for years and want to work with that agent.” My response…”I applaud your loyalty – it is very rare to see that. Your agent probably earned that loyalty in spades. I wish you all the best. I will add that many agents have left or are leaving the business and if you agent decides to retire – here is my card.” She said “You don’t try to convert them?” My answer – “NO! And neither should you!”

    Btw, I now know what I long suspected. I can’t trust this person as far as I can throw a grand piano. I should thank her for making it so clear though.

    • Ken Brand

      September 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      Hi Ruthmarie, yeah, selfish selling still works, but not as well as it did, or will. Slowly but surely, consumers are getting fed up with the BS. Of course that doesn’t help right now, but there’s plenty of immediate business to be won by focusing on the client.

      As for scripts, I think the value is having a few different and familiar approaches, then when a situation comes up, you don’t have to repeat the script, but having practiced one ( a good one) helps me relax and let the natural answer flow. If I hadn’t thought about what to say in certain situations before had, I don’t think I’d be as effective, or clear, etc. Fighting for others also means, telling them straight up if it’s the right decision to buy or sell. Don’t worry about your challenged friend, just focus on you and yours. I’m sure their are successful theifs, liars and cheats, until they caught, or until the roof caves in, and it does eventually. Keep the fait, do the right things right. You’ll succeed on your terms, and people you know will appreciate it, and recommend you. And I like your style, we don’t need to overtly convert anyone, if what we’re doing, and offering is valuable, they’ll convert themselves. I would stay in touch with them though. Things change, like they say on Project Runway, sometimes they’re “in”, and the next thing you know, they’re out.

      More and more, TRUST is going to be the bigger issue, not how loud we/you/them are.

      Cheers. Good luck, work hard, you can only control what you do, and how you do it.

  4. Nick Nymark

    September 28, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Great Article…I think “energize our efforts to fight for survival” is the way to think if your thinking of staying in the business. Sure business can get slow during the fall and especially winter. The great buyers might be the one’s relocating that might be more motivated to get into something. Would be nice to get a handful of those during the colder months when business isn’t as busy as the spring and summer.

    • Ken Brand

      September 29, 2010 at 8:22 am

      Thanks Nick, yeah we have to soldier on. The good news, even though it’s slower, people are still buying and selling every day, we have get ourselves in position to be chosen. cheers

  5. Paula Henry

    September 29, 2010 at 7:24 am

    The one thing I value above all else in this business is my clients trust. It’s not something you can shout, broadcast or selfish-sell your way to. I always assume my clients are smart people and don’t need to hear BS selling from me. They want truth, facts and someone who is sincerely interested in solving their problems.

    The winter season is always much slower, especially here, where the weather has an impact on driving and showing homes. One thing I know, though, is many agents will use this season to take more time off. I will be there to fill in gap. It’s not selfish, it’s survival and doing what I love!

    • Ken Brand

      September 29, 2010 at 8:25 am

      Thanks Paula, without Trust, all is lost. When it slower, it’s a good time to work on infrastructure, and deepening our connections with everyone we know. When business begins to heat, we’ll be Top Of Mind. Cheers.

  6. Marilyn Wilson

    October 4, 2010 at 10:00 am

    It is sad that selfish selling still works, but I agree with you Ken that supportive and nurturing selling is a path to long-term success, not to mention better sleep at night!

    We wrote a paper last year called “Edutizing” that talks about this exact same topic. If the industry could remember that we’re here to service clients, not just to “make a buck” the industry would be a lot stronger. I have attached a link to our paper to give your readers some ideas about how they might build their brand and their reputation while providing true value to their clients.

    Thanks for the principle-centered discussion! There’s not enough of this in real estate!

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