When I was 11 years old, my piano teacher would not let me play in the recital because I was not willing practice 15 minutes a day. When I became a REALTOR, I realized agents have the same problem. I would show up for role play at our real estate office and I would be the only one there…in the #1 office in our market with over 120 agents! Agents all want to be successful, but most of them are not willing to practice.
We want to get listings and have sellers trust us and hire us, yet nobody wants to practice the skills that will make them great. I recognized then, that we were an industry of amateurs. 99% of agents will never do the work to become the best, but when you do, you just separated yourself from all the rest. And you can always expect, “YES.”
Hi there. It’s Kevin Ward. I’m actually here at this fabulous hotel in Albany, New York. It’s a little country inn. It’s really nice, and this is a courtyard. I’m going to be talking tomorrow to a bunch of agents at an awards banquet. I’m going to talk about what is the biggest problem in the real estate industry today. If you could just nail it down to one problem, one issue, one thing that’s going on in the real estate industry that is the biggest problem around, what would it be?
I think the answer is something that I discovered when I first started real estate, and it actually started way before that, it actually started when I was 11 years old, and I decided I wanted to play the piano. We had gone to a fancy restaurant, at least for me it was fancy. My parents never took us out to eat. We went to this one nice restaurant where they had live music, and there was this guy playing the piano that night. It was a big upright, it wasn’t a grand piano, it was an upright grand, I guess you’d call it. He was just playing away, and it was all, I don’t know what kind of music it was, but it was cool. My dad was all into it and liking it. I decided at 11 years old that my calling was the play the piano.
So, I told my parents this is what I’m going to do. And, we found out that the guy that had been playing at the piano, and the guy looked just like Don Knotts. If you remember the Deputy Barney Fife from back in Mayberry days, he looked just like that. We found out that he actually lived in our town, which was about 30 miles away, and he actually taught piano lessons. So, my parents agreed to let me take piano lessons to learn to play the piano. In fact, they went and actually bought a brand new piano, and that was a huge investment for my parents. But their son wanted to play the piano, so they said, “We’re going to support him,” and here we go. So we did. Then I showed up for piano lessons that first day, and, man, I was so excited. I remember the first lesson. It was the Red River Valley was the first song that I started learning, and I was so excited. I’m like playing. Of course, I realized real quick that his fingers could just fly and dance on the piano, and mine couldn’t. So I’m like, okay, this is going to take some work.
He told my mom that I needed to practice 30 minutes a day. Thirty minutes a day. I’m a little boy. We live out in the country. I love playing outside. I love doing stuff. Sitting in front of a piano and practicing scales and practicing one little song 30 minutes a day drove me nuts. That began what I affectionately refer to as “The Piano Practice Wars” with my mom because I didn’t want to practice at all. Finally, we compromised, we negotiated it down to 15 minutes a day. I still, I just fought it and I fought it, and I wouldn’t do it. Finally, after a month or so, a recital was coming up. The piano teacher said he wasn’t going to let me play in the recital, and I’m like “Why not?” I’m crying. He told my mom, he said, “Because he won’t practice, and he’s just going to embarrass himself, he’s going to embarrass me, and he’s going to embarrass my parents.” So he wouldn’t let me play. I don’t know. A few weeks later, I just quit. I decided piano was not for me.
Fast forward 20 years later, and I got my real estate license, and I showed up at my first day of work. My trainer said, “All right. If you want to be good at real estate, you need to practice your scripts, and you need to role play. We have role play every morning at 8:00 or 8:30.” I showed up for role play, and nobody else showed up. This was a big, big office. Over 120 agents. It was the number one Century 21 office in the world, Century 21 Mike Bowman. Great company. But I showed up for role play, and nobody wanted to role play. And then, every day I would come, and I would come in every single morning to practice my scripts in a role play, and every once in a while, somebody else would show up. But most of the time, it was just me.
It dawned on me that I was in an industry of amateurs. That everybody wants to make money, everybody wants to do good, everybody wants to get listings, everybody wants to be successful, but nobody wants to practice. Nobody wants to do what is required to excel at anything where your performance matters. If you’re going to be a professional pianist, you are going to get paid based on how well you perform. That’s how you’re going to get paid. If you’re going to be a professional athlete or a professional actor, you’re going to get paid based on how well you perform. So, people in the performing arts, people in sports where you get paid for your performance, they spend most of their lives, most of their career is not actually performing, it’s preparing to perform, it’s training. But not in real estate. In real estate, we don’t want to practice.
How much time does the average real estate agent spend actually practicing the skill of talking to a seller? We want a listing appointment. You got a listing appointment. You go sit down with the seller, and you are now auditioning for a $10,000 or $15,000 or $20,000 paycheck. How much time does the average agent spend on a daily basis preparing and practicing, actually practicing, what they’re going to say and how are they going to lead the seller to make a good decision, a decision to hire them to help them sell their house? How much time does the average agent spend practicing that? Role playing, practicing the conversations, practicing the scripts, practicing it to a point it didn’t even sound like a script? Most agents don’t want to spend any time practicing it.
We get ready for the listing appointment, we do our CMA, we get our PowerPoint or our Keynote or our presentation or whatever it is, and then we go through it maybe once. But most agents don’t even a single time role play, actually practice as if they’re doing a live presentation. Then they go in there and they wing it. And they get stumped by objections, and they look incompetent, and they stumble on what they’re going to say. The reason agents don’t hire us in not because they don’t like us. It’s because they don’t feel safe. The reason they challenge you on your marketing plan, and what are you going to do, and what are you going to do different, it’s because they don’t feel safe that you know what you’re doing. The reason they throw objections at us as real estate agents is because they don’t feel confident that we are going to take good care of them, that they’re going to be in good hands. And that’s what happens.
I thought to myself, you know, when I was 11 years old, I was expected to practice every day more than the average real estate agent is expected to practice. I was expected to practice more at 11 years old to do a recital than a professional real estate agent is expected to practice a day to go audition for $10,000, $7,000, $20,000, $30,000 commission checks. What’s up with that?
If you remember a couple of years ago, the National Association of Realtors, you may remember this, you may not have heard about it, the National Association of Realtors commissioned a poll group, who is a research firm that does real estate research to assess and identify what are the greatest dangers, the greatest threats to our industry, to the real estate industry. They interviewed thousands of people. They interviewed over 1,000 people, if I remember correctly. They spent thousands of hours assessing, compiling, researching, studying, interviewing, and they put it all together, and they identified the greatest threat to the real estate industry. Number one, the number one clear and present danger … In fact, it was actually called the Danger Report. The number one threat to our industry is the number of incompetent, unprofessional, unethical real estate agents in the industry. What is our biggest problem? It’s us, and it’s not that we’re the problem. It’s the way that we approach the business. It’s the lack of a commitment to prepare, to train, to be competent, and even better, to be the best.
We got to raise the bar. The National Association of Realtors is not going to do it. Your company is not going to do it. You’ve got to do it. But here’s what happens if you do it. Because 99% of real estate agents are never going to do this work of actually practicing, of role-playing every day, of becoming elite when it comes to the skill of communicating and leading people to decisions, how to lead a seller to a decision, how to lead a buyer to a decision, how you do that. If you’re willing to prepare, you’re willing to do what 99% of agents are not willing to do. It doesn’t take long, and when I say “long,” I’m talking about it maybe take two or three years of actual work, of doing this work every day to be so much more powerful and effective than other real estate agents that sellers can’t tell you “No.” Because you stand so far head and shoulders apart from all of the amateurs in the industry. Go pro. Be the best. It’ll make all the difference for your clients, and it’ll make all the difference for you.
If you all liked the video, give it a thumbs up, share this. I think this is one of the most important messages that is needed in our industry today. I hope you agree. If you like it and agree, please help me get the word out. Go pro. Be the best at your job.