Build a Network
In Afghanistan, our network consisted of local villagers, elders, contractors, children, police, and even Taliban. Your network supplies you with intelligence (leads), and introduces you to other people (prospects) who become additional sources of information.
This network was important and drove much of what we did. My job has changed, but I still need and continuously develop my network. Now it consists of other brokers (commercial and residential), developers, lenders, architects, accountants, government officials, attorney’s, and various business owners.
Your network provides you expertise in other areas, answers questions, makes introductions, and even sends you new business – grow it.
Speak the Language
One of the inherent problems of operating in Afghanistan is that we didn’t speak Pashto, and the Afghans didn’t speak English. Because of this, we were forced to rely on interpreters and what we called “Pointy Talky” – essentially hand signals. Although crude, Pointy Talky actually worked pretty well, and was easier than learning Pashto (although we all picked up various phrases).
Bottom line – through Pointy Talky, our Afghan counterparts could understand us. You shouldn’t have to do Pointy Talky with your clients, but you need to speak their language. Not everyone understands acronyms like TI’s, psf, LOI, BTS, or CAM. They might not get zoning codes, easements, or gross vs. NNN (let alone what NNN means). Speak like a normal person, so normal people can understand you.
What’s Really Important
I joined the Army because I love my Country and I wanted to fight for it. War is dangerous – people get injured and killed every day. I don’t know a single person who fought for their country; risking their life every day, for an award or medal.
They fight for the guys on their left and right – their teammates. Your teammates become more important than anything else, and are the reason you fight – your motivation.
One of the most important things I’ve learned in real estate is to test for client motivation, and to learn what’s important to them. You can’t just assume that you already know what your clients want – you have to ask!
By asking the questions and testing motivation, you’ll find out if they’re a legit prospect, or just kicking the tires (and wasting your time). From there, you need to ask what’s important to them and continuously reevaluate throughout the entire process.