Are Lessons More Important Than Skills?

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 29 May 2024 00:00

Lessons are more important than sales skills. Do you agree? Allow a personal example. 

I started in real estate as the project manager for a large condominium community in Florida. I had no real estate experience. No real estate license.

On my first day, I went to my sales manager and asked him what I had to learn to be successful in real estate. His name was Chet Vanscoy (now deceased) and he gave me the best and most surprising sales advice I ever heard. I never heard it again and I never forgot to apply it as I gained experience.

He had been selling real estate for 25 years. I had no experience, but I had one question.

“What advice would you give me as I begin my real estate sales career?"

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I had to ask, rather impatiently, no doubt, "What do you mean? I thought you were going to suggest learning skills like closing the sale, using the telephone, and such.”

He said, “David, remember this. If you don’t learn your lessons, you won't need your selling skills, because you will be out of business.

I thought he was kidding, but he was dead serious. He told me that if I did not learn to be patient, to keep learning, to keep focused that I would not only be unsuccessful I would seldom enjoy what I do.

“If don’t learn your lessons, you will not need your skills.

Mr. Vanscoy was also my first character mentor. He did not tell off-color jokes, did not drink, and went home to his family. He sang in a choir at some local church. There was something different about him that I came to greatly admire and eventually understand.

Many a time through the years, his advice to be patient paid off, when I had not the first desire to be patient. We have all been kept waiting for appointments. Waiting comes with the territory, but it was not that long ago that my patience pushed the limit.

I promptly showed up for a 9 am appointment with a developer to sign listing agreements for condominium communities, as the listing broker of record. He was running late. Then later, and later, yet.

Question: what is the longest you have ever waited or would wait for a prospect?

We ended up meeting at 6:30 pm. I had waited nine and a half hours during which time my mind ran through the gauntlet of self-pity and pride-driven scenarios: They do not respect me. I think I will walk out, and other impatience-driven actons that would have cost me thousands of dollars.

One thought kept coming back. “Be patient.” It paid off.

Our new homes sales team took over as the exclusive broker of record for the onsite sales for 774 units in four condominium communities and sold about $70 million over the next two years. It was worth the wait in green, as in commissions.

The lesson: My sales skills, reputation, experience …nothing would have mattered had I decided to walk away from this opportunity. The only thing that mattered for me was to focus on one thing: Get the listing agreements signed, no matter what it takes. It took sales skills to keep the listing, but it took patience to get it.

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