For Top Brokers, Positive Mental Attitude Can Make All The Difference


I am often asked about important traits that we see in top brokers at Massey Knakal as well as in the broader commercial real estate industry. While there are many traits that are present in top producers, the ability to be a positive thinker is among the most important.

The real estate brokerage business is one in which the odds are stacked against us on a percentage basis. What I mean by this is that, overwhelmingly, few of the prospects that we speak to will actually end up transacting. For instance, in the sales sector, over the past 30 years, the average turnover rate of the total stock of buildings in Manhattan has been 2.6 percent.

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If we assume that half of the properties that are placed on the market actually do sell, that means that only 1 in 20 property owners that we speak to will tell us that they are interested in selling their building. From the perspective of someone making cold calls, it can seem a difficult task to receive 19 rejections out of every 20 calls that are made.

However, the best brokers in our industry remain positive through the rejection. The attitude that top brokers have is that, with every “no” they receive, they are one step closer to obtaining the “yes” they are looking for. To the extent that you receive 19 “no’s” in a row, you won’t become dejected, because you will feel confident that a “yes” is right around the corner.

This ability to remain optimistic, think positively, be resilient and not let circumstances get you down is the key to having the proper mindset to become an effective broker. As Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure, without loss of enthusiasm.”

This ability to bounce back up when knocked down is something that is generally accepted as crucial to success in commercial real estate brokerage, any sales business and, more broadly, life.

Recently, we had marketing and residential real estate icon Barbara Corcoran speak to all of our employees. Paul and I have been huge fans of Barbara going back to the mid ’80s. Barbara told us the wonderful and inspiring story of her rise in the real estate industry, and, during the question and answer session, the inevitable question arose of what trait she saw in top brokers that made them stand out from the rest.

While she mentioned several she felt were important, from what she had seen over the years, the top trait was the ability for a broker not to get dejected when meeting failure and to bounce right back up and move on to the next transaction or the next client. We couldn’t agree with her more.

As Dr. Wayne Dyer has said, “With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened to you as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep from growing. You get to choose.”

And Dr. Dyer’s quote leads us to the most effective way to be a positive thinker, and that is to realize that, as human beings, we all have free will. We are free to choose, at any moment in our life, to change anything we want about ourselves. These things can include getting more sleep, losing weight, being a better spouse, reading more, exercising more and stopping smoking.

Another of these choices is to simply not feel sorry for ourselves to the extent we encounter a setback or rejection. We can decide, proactively, to move forward from setbacks thinking optimistically and positively about what will happen next. As Deepak Chopra said, “No matter what the situation, remind yourself, ‘I have a choice.’

So you see it is our state of mind, our attitude and our approach to daily tasks that is the key to determining whether we win or lose.

Finally, as Confucius said, “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential—these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”   

I wish, for each of you, a positive attitude and optimistic perspective as you tackle each day in the crazy world of commercial real estate brokerage.