Monday, April 18, 2016


When it comes to a career in sales, there is one question that will govern how you act, who you work with and whether you will enjoy (or hate) your job. 

Are you playing the long game or the short game?

The short game is all about the here and now.  This deal.  This client.  This listing.  It’s about your next meal, your next car payment or whether the baby will have milk tomorrow.  It’s contentious, often adversarial and based on conquest and power trips. 

The long game is about ten years from now.  It’s about building a brand.  It’s about making decisions on criteria other than immediate gratification.  It’s about sowing seeds instead of chopping down trees. 

Truth is, it seems to me a lot of people in real estate are addicted to the short game.  As I have written about extensively in previous posts, our current market is dominated by two emotions - fear and greed. 

Fear and greed are the essence of the short game.

When you focus on the short game, you focus on the deal. 

When you focus on the long game, you focus on your client. 

When you play the short game, the payoff is the equity of the paycheck.

When you play the long game, the payoff is the equity of the relationship.

I’m not here to tell other people how to run their business.  Truth is, their business is none of my business.  But way too many agents (and people) these days are operating from a position of scarcity, a belief that every dollar left on the table is somehow eternally snatched away, never to return or be multiplied in some other form. 

Abundance is the opposite of scarcity.  Abundance is based on the belief that there is plenty of business, plenty of opportunity and plenty of money to go around.  Those who believe in the theory of abundance know that the universe loves a cheerful giver, that collaboration beats conquest, and that brand equity is your most important asset.  

Scarcity-thinking is instinctual.  Abundance-thinking is a learned discipline. 

I often say that every transaction is really three transactions, if you play it right.  It’s the immediate sale, it’s a future referral and it’s the repeat business that happens ten years down the road. 

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying you should roll over and be a softie.  Skilled negotiation is one of the most important survival tools for a top-performing real estate broker.  Believe me, I will fight when it's time to fight.  But playing the long game means that the battles I fight will be for my clients, not for me.  

How many of your clients are raving fans?  How many of your clients will go out of their way to refer you to someone they care about?  How many of your clients feel a sense of connection that transcends real estate?

The answer to those questions will determine if your personal brand is an asset or a liability.

To those in this business stuck in the darkness of fear and scarcity, I offer this appeal… stop playing the short game.  If you don’t like your clients, fire them.  Clear space for new opportunities.  Surround yourself with people you like.  Quit being a desperate, greedy vampire. 

Harvesting is for a season.  Planting is for the generations. 

Decide today if you’re going to be doing this in ten years, and if you are, then start acting like it.  You don’t need "deals".  You need people who trust you.

Reviews matter.  Relationships matter.  Outcomes matter.  Happily-ever-after’s matter.

I’m sick of all these agents playing the short game.  One day, when this market changes, your reputation will be your currency.  Your value won’t be determined by whether the market is hot or cold, but rather by what people think of you.