My first job in sales was as a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley. Recently out of law school, I was young, devoid of experience and contacts and competing for my future. I had one advantage, and one advantage alone: I was persistent. And that little trait had a huge impact on my life.
Every day for three years I was the first person in the office each morning–I arrived a little after 7:00 am daily–and the last to leave, often after 9:00 pm.
During the days I worked harder and with more persistence than my peers. I learned a lot during those times but mostly I learned about persistence–the relentless, never ending, single-mindedness that abhors failure and fuels success.
I adopted Calvin Coolidge’s famous saying as my guiding principle: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
I was smart, talented and well-educated, but so was everyone else. In the meritocracy of talent I was not natively gifted. No, I needed to build my reputation and success on my effort and focused drive. I was committed that no one would outwork or be more persistent than me.
Persistence is precisely how I landed one of my top clients early in my career. He was a retired doctor who owned several medical practices and buildings. He had amassed over $25 million in liquid assets. I remember my first call to him vividly and viscerally. He cursed at me, said all brokers are idiots and hung up. I smiled. I knew I had him right where I wanted him.
For 13 straight days I called, he cursed and hung up. With each expletive I became more excited. Why? I knew I had no competition for the business; no one else would put up with the abuse. Finally, on the 14th day, I won. He said simply, “You are a persistent SOB. What will it take for you to stop calling me?” Quickly, in a tone that masked my euphoria, I said, “15 minutes of your time and if you don’t like what I have to say we part as friends.”
A few months later I earned the business and a residual, six-figure income stream. This is my story. But every top broker has had a similar defining moment.
Here are seven ways for real estate brokers to harness the power of persistence:
1. Realize the power of persistence. For many of us, effort and persistence are the only real differentiators that we can immediately tap into.
2. Don’t give up at the first sign of resistance. About 50% of Brokers end a cold call at the first sign of rejection, 75% at the second and over 90% at the third. The first couple of objections are generally reflex responses and do not necessarily indicate a person’s real feelings.
3. When you find a difficult prospect, realize he or she is that way to everyone. Therefore, by managing yourself you will have very little competition.
4. Make more calls and conduct more meetings than your peers. You control that. Brokerage is a contact sport–the more calls you make, the more sales you secure.
5. Be relentless in learning. Read everything. Books, periodicals, reports and websites all hold vital keys to your future. I love reading and learning from history because while the names and faces change, human nature never does.
6. Ask questions of others. There is always someone who knows more than you. So ask for help, guidance and advice. This is another outlet to learning.
7. Be aware that relentless effort is the “science” of persistence, but it is also an art form. It is important to read the other person and situation and not cross the line between persistence and stalking.
Persistence is one of the greatest tools that Brokers have. Harness the power of persistence today and immediately put yourself a step ahead of the competition.