Sales Psychology 101
When I started in real estate, I didn’t have a backup plan. I don’t have a college degree. I was never successful at anything else. My family definitely isn’t poor, but I don’t exactly have an inheritance or a trust fund waiting for me, either. I knew that this was my only chance to stay in New York. It made me so nervous that I didn’t sleep until I made my first deal… which took me almost 2 months to do.
(I told this to a friend who had served in the military. He told me not to worry about it because “the same thing happened to me when I went to war for the first time.” Thanks for making me feel better, Daniel…)
Looking back? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wasn’t going to work that hard if I had other options. Taking away the safety net forced me to succeed or go back to Arizona, and I didn’t want to go back to Arizona. I would never have been in that position without my dad, who supported me even though I couldn’t guarantee that it would work out; and without Gary Kiyan, the first person in real estate who hired me.
I came to Gary as a walk-in. No appointment, no referral. Just walked in to his office one day and handed him my resume. I didn’t have my real estate license (mostly because I didn’t even know that I had to be licensed to sell real estate), so he told me where to get licensed. I started working for him about a month later, the day after I took my exam.
Everything I’m writing about today is Gary-wisdom. Gary knew that I would figure things out on my own, and then he would help me understand. He was able to talk to me about it, verbalize it, and make me aware of why these things were good for me. There was one lesson of his in particular that I always knew in the back of my mind, but couldn’t put into words…
Love is Stronger than Fear
Salespeople have one job: to motivate people to buy things. I used to focus on the things, but I started to get much better when I began focusing on the people and how to motivate them. The two strongest motivators for people are fear and love.
Fear is what most salespeople use to motivate. “There’s another offer!” … “Act now or you could lose the deal!” … That works great when those other offers actually exist. But most brokers who I run into say these things when they’re not true. When your clients are the smartest people in the world – and they are in Manhattan – then you don’t want to lie to them. They will know, even if they don’t say it. And even though using fear like this works sometimes, it blows up more deals than it’s worth.
Love is the only emotion stronger than fear. This is what I use to motivate people. If someone believes that you have their back and that you genuinely want what’s best for them, then that person is going to listen to you. But you can’t make someone believe that overnight. You’re not going to meet someone and sell him a $5 million condo the next day with love. You might be able to do that with fear. But if you’re persistent enough, using love to motivate people wins more clients, and you win loyal clients.
Using love as a motivator is harder than using fear. Anyone can be nice to people. But you have to be able to stand up for yourself. There are plenty of people out there who see acting in good faith as a weakness, and then try to take advantage of it. Especially when you’re younger than them, like I am. You have to be ready to walk away from any deal on a moment’s notice. Your clients will respect you for it and listen to you the next time around.
This isn’t a PR move. If lying to people and using fear worked better, then I would be the biggest scumbag on the planet (tell the Department of State I’m sorry). I have to do what works best because I had to learn sales the hard way. When I moved to New York, I didn’t know anyone else who lived in the city. I didn’t have 20+ years of contacts from growing up in the area, or from working in another industry. I needed to make a lot of money if I wanted to stay in New York, so I had to squeeze every opportunity I had and do that over and over and over and over again until I figured it out. Which brings me to my next point…
When I was little, I wanted to be Michael Jordan. I would stick my tongue out like Mike every time that I was in the zone and focused on something. I could never quite jump like him or dunk like him, though…
Mike is the GOAT. That means the Greatest Of All Time for those of you who didn’t grow up with the Internet. But even the GOAT missed just as many shots as he made. There was an awesome website called Chasing23 (sadly, it no longer exists) that had footage of every game-winner that MJ ever attempted in the playoffs. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I remember that his shooting percentage on those shots was just over 50%. That means that for every time the GOAT hit a game winner in the playoffs and caused his team to win the game, he missed a game winner in the playoffs and caused his team to lose the game.
Want to guess how many of those makes are immortalized on highlight reels & Youtube clips? How about the misses?
You can find ALL of those game-winners on Sportscenter and Youtube. I’m sure you can find a couple of the misses, but for the most part: people forget the misses. The only thing that stands out in anyone’s mind is greatness. That’s why I wasn’t afraid to keep trying and failing until it clicked, and it’s why I’m still not afraid to fail today. I know that it doesn’t matter what I look like in the short term. If I win in the long term, people will put on rose-colored glasses because they will see me as a success. And the only way to win is to fail over and over and over again until it clicks. As Gary would say, “Fail forward.”