Photo cred. Naim Ferguson
(I’m the smaller, paler guy, not the strong one!)
Just this week, this standup paddle race in Lake Union, Seattle, WA, reminded me how hard it is to “start” things.
To simply… start… moving.
To be completely honest, whenever I lineup to race against a world class athlete, which Chuck Patterson (photo) clearly is, my stomach feels queasy. I lose my appetite for about an hour before every race. I also get a huge adrenaline rush as the start horn sounds, then about two minutes later a huge energy drop and every muscle in my body tenses up and feels weak. It’s really a pretty diabolical physiological experience.
The thing is, by about four minutes into the race, I’ve completely forgotten about starting and I just settle into a nice zen rhythm of continuous motion that takes me through the next twenty to sixty minutes of competition. My body starts to feel in sync with the standup board, I start to notice the weather, and sometimes I even start chatting with the competition. Those first five to ten minutes are tough!
Starting sucks. But it’s over quick.
I’ve done that race about forty times now, and I’ve raced with Chuck Patterson probably ten times at this point. I’ve won that particular race, even the series, but I’ve also lost it multiple times. The same is true of racing agains Patterson, who may be one of the most intimidating athletes you could see (but nicest people, too). No matter how many times I’ve raced that race, or how it turned out, starting feels the same.
Many days I feel the same in selling real estate. Recently, I had a low energy week. It coincided with a week when I had three deals fall apart without notice. I also lost the standup race! After weeks like that, starting to sell again, no matter how many times I’ve done it, is hard! I wonder “if I still have it,” or “if I am doing something differently,” or “what I did wrong.” The thing is, if I ignore the feelings, and just start working…
… it all fades away, and, inevitably, another deal appears before me. I can’t race if I don’t start.
We all want good momentum, but, this is proceeded by STARTING. The first can’t happen without the second. And, once we start, whatever we are doing becomes easier. I think it would be great to focus on being a specialist in simply starting. This feat alone would move most of us towards goals we didn’t know we could achieve.
Did you start prospecting today, or did you study prospecting?
Did you make a cold call, or did you read about how to make a cold call?
Did you walk out of your building and into a business or did you study a business online?
Starting comes first. Action. Then the natural rhythm of pursuit directs a calm path of pursuit.
Almost every time I race, or every time I start cold calling I think “Do I really need to do this?” Once I start, I forget the question.
We all get scared to prospect; to make cold calls on the phone, make cold calls in person, call people we haven’t talked to in a while, or call an expired listing.
I just did the math on it, and I think I have made over 50,000 prospecting calls while selling real estate (while I worked in the NBA I had to make at least 100 phone calls per day that were recorded by a computer, my bosses, and a phone system).
What is the worst thing that can happen on a call? Here are mine, in ascending order:
5. CUSTOMER PULLS GUN. I walked into an investment property with it’s owner. It was in a rough neighborhood, and, we were to negotiate the showing terms with the tenant prior to signing a listing. The customer did not tell me the tenant was his step son, with whom he routinely fought. They started fighting in front of me, and my future customer pulled a gun. I convinced him to put it away. We never got this house listed.
4. YOU HAVE KIDS? Hoarder house. I talk with the potential customer for about forty-five minutes on her deck. She is clearly beyond her child rearing years, and, makes no mention of anyone else living in the home. It’s the middle of the day, a weekday, and we go into a dark, dank basement. I open a door to a random room and a little child, probably about three, immediately pops up out of a crib and another starts screaming. I truly, for about four seconds, wondered if I was in a horror movie. “You didn’t tell me you had children!”
3. HAZMAT(T) – Admittedly this listing was signed and under contract, but it was a terrible call to make – the entire home had sat for some time, in the winter, with a hot water pipe having burst. It was literally growing 6″ mushrooms on the floor, and there was a real cloud in the home.
2. BOA CONSTRICTOR LOOSE – Two of us were looking at a hoarder’s home to discern what to do with it. There was trash stacked three feet high in every room, years old food rotting everywhere, and, a boa constrictor that had escaped and not been found. “Snakes, why does it have to be snakes?!” – Indiana Jones
1. OWNER’S SON CHASES ME WITH GRAVEL RAKE. These are the heavy metal ones. I had approached their home, on foot, to ask whether they were willing to sell, or not. Once I got to the end of the long wooded driveway, the owner’s son came to the front porch and said: “What do you want, boy?” I said, nothing and started walking away. He picked up the rake, chased me on foot (he had no chance), subsequently abandoned that idea, and then tried to run me over with his truck on a main street. I lept into a wooded gully, and lost my cell phone.
That’s as bad as it’s gotten for me (knock on wood!). What about you?