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7 real estate lessons for growth by John Maxwell

Time spent reading one of John Maxwell’s books or watching one of his speeches on YouTube is time well spent. His insights are actionable and his wisdom is timeless

John Maxwell is one of the most respected authors and speakers in the world. His insights on leadership and personal development have led to more than 24 million copies of his books being sold. Many of the principles he teaches are ideal for an agent, team leader, or broker/owner looking to grow her business.

The following are seven of my favorite John Maxwell quotes and how they apply to growing a real estate business.

“You will never fulfill your destiny doing work you despise.”

Do you remember how excited you were when you first got your real estate license? Then the business got tough, and it tested your excitement. Your friends listed their home with another agent, or a closing you were counting on fell apart right before it closed. Every agent eventually faces the challenges of the real estate industry.

Many unsuccessful agents retreat when they encounter this resistance. But the agents who succeed have one common trait: They love this business so much that they persevere. They may not love every aspect, but they are able to identify the parts of the business that excite One of the greatest characteristics of our business is the diversity of ways to find success. I know agents who find success solely through cold calling. I know agents who find success exclusively through social media and some that grow amazing businesses solely through direct mail. This diversity of paths to success means you can design it to match up with your passions.

Identify the parts of the business you love, execute on those strategies, and your success is inevitable.

“The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.”

If you show me your calendar, I can tell you how your day and your future will look. Your recipe for success begins by setting an agenda each day that involves income-generating activities.

Do you show up to your office in the morning and try to figure out what you will do that day? Or do you plan your day the night before with time blocks for prospecting, following up with past clients and managing current transactions? Your daily calendar is the rudder that controls the direction of your business. When you control your agenda, you control your future.

“Pride deafens us to the advice or warnings of those around us.”

My pride and arrogance have led me into difficult times in the past. The historic market of the past few years has made a lot of us think we are better at this business than we are. My favorite book puts it this way: Pride comes before the fall. But humbleness is the opposite of pride, and I’ve found it to also be true that humbleness comes before the rise.

Are you at a place where you think you have it all figured out? Wondered why you would attend that convention because you know all you need to know for success in your business? The second you stop growing, you begin declining.

Keep learning, keep growing, and stay humble. These are the traits of the agents I see building and sustaining thriving businesses over the long-term.

“Dreams don’t work unless you do.”

I wish I could tell you there is a shortcut to success, but the truth is, success always comes through hard work. I’ve never met a successful agent that didn’t outwork everybody else around them at some point in their career. I learned this lesson at an early age, and it has carried me throughout my career. I went to work right out of college for Merrill Lynch as a stockbroker before shifting into my family’s real estate business a few years later. I had a mentor named Ray McGovern at Merrill Lynch who told me right after I started that as a 23-year-old, I was not going to be the smartest broker in the business. I could, however, be the hardest working broker, and that hard work would speed up the process of becoming the smartest.

He gave me my key to the office and told me he wanted me to use that key to turn the locks on the office either in the morning as the first one in the office or at night locking the door being the last one to leave. And if I wanted to be the hardest working person in the office, there should be days I turned the locks to open up the office and turned them again at the end of the day being the last one to leave.

Hard work has never failed me when I was looking to grow my business and still today, I try to turn the locks at my office at least once a day.

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

This question can sting sometimes. It asks us to evaluate whether we are doing activities in our business just because we’ve always done them that way or because they are the most efficient way to serve our clients.

Imagine if I was still using the fax machine in my business. The reason I am not doing so is because I tried something new. Imagine if I was still using my pager from the late nineties in my business instead of a cell phone. I use these extreme examples to ask you what it is that you’ve avoided trying or implementing in your business that is limiting your growth.

Is it your resistance to producing video content? Is it not becoming proficient in social media marketing? Is it podcasting or maybe learning scripts to communicate with buyers and sellers more effectively? Whatever it is for you, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

“If we are growing, we are always going to be outside our comfort zone.” Growth and comfort cannot coexist. If you are in a place where you are consistently comfortable in your business, odds are your business is not growing. The best agents I know are always searching for ways to stretch themselves by finding ways to challenge their comfort zone on a consistent basis.

Does making a cold call letting an owner know about a recent sale in a neighborhood and asking if they’ve considered selling make you uncomfortable? Make a few of these calls. Does shooting video make you uncomfortable? Shoot video. Whatever it is for you, do the things that make you uncomfortable.

The success you desire is located on the other side of your comfort zone. “Collaboration is multiplication.”

If your business is going to grow into all it can be, you are going to need the assistance of other people. Do you need administrative help? Then hire an assistant. Do you need a transaction coordinator or buyer’s agent to help your business grow? Then hire them or add them to your team.

Your dream business is not achievable on your own and this doesn’t just include people you might hire. You need a dependable vendor list to serve your clients in the best way possible. You need a network of friends, family members, or past clients that refer business to you and that you refer people to.

The more we collaborate with others, the more our businesses grow.

Time spent reading one of John Maxwell’s books or watching one of his speeches on YouTube is time well spent. His insights are actionable, and his wisdom is timeless. If you haven’t ever read one of his books or seen him speak, I would highly encourage it. Applying his lessons to real estate has been very helpful in growing my business through the years and I know it can help yours too.


Article originally published in Inman on February 27, 2022.

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