How to Become a Real Estate Grand Master and Have Your Best Year Ever

Tip of the Week

How to Become a Real Estate Grand Master and Have Your Best Year Ever
by Joe Stumpf

I read a fascinating article in Scientific American that dealt with the “secrets of expert minds.” It started me thinking about the relationship between an entrepreneur and his client. Basically, clients are in search of someone with expertise. They need your expertise in consulting, they need your expertise in negotiating, and they need your expertise in overseeing all the transactional details. So if people seek expertise, then your primary goal should be to become a true expert in your profession.

The article discussed the Grand Master’s strategy in the game of chess. To achieve Grand Master status, a chess player must become one of the finest in the world. When chess players begin playing, however, they all start out at the same level, and it takes about five years of constant playing to develop the mental acumen to play the game comfortably on an automatic level of expertise.

At that point, things change. Players begin developing a new skill, one of learning something new every day. They gain a new perspective, a new insight. This lasts for another five to eight years, so after 10 or more years of constant effort, they’ve built a repertoire of over 100,000 possibilities.

At this level of expertise, the Grand Master can simply glance at any chess game in progress and almost automatically identify the best next moves.

Most agents in their early years in the real estate industry are learning the basic moves. You learned how to handle some common objections and you developed a discipline to handle basic problems. You did many things for the first time, and each of these added to the breadth of your experience. After five years, you begin to get the feeling that you’ve seen it all, done it all, and you begin to feel comfortable and secure in your profession; you consider yourself a true expert. That’s a critical point in your business: You either stop learning and go stagnant, or you take the next step toward becoming a Grand Master.

The best in the business don’t stop. They develop a new mindset, and that mindset is “I’m just getting started.” And from there, the expert mind begins developing those 100,000 possibilities for looking at any situation, automatically. Each day begins with the affirmation, “I commit to learning a new move today.” And at the end of each day, a Grand Master reviews that new learning, lodging it firmly in memory so the experience is ready for use the next day.

Imagine sitting down with clients and listening to their unique circumstances. As you listen, their scenario unfolds as if it’s on a game board with pieces you’ve played hundreds of times. As you listen, you see all the moves, the counter moves, and the counter-counter moves instantly, and you can give your clients the best advice immediately. You can do this because you have a wealth of learning that’s contributed to your expertise.

And the secret is, after five years, you are just getting started. So each and every day, commit to learning something new in your expertise area, keeping in mind that even something subtle can be significant. It’s important to recognize that only a handful of people are willing to make the commitment to becoming Grand Masters at consulting, negotiating, and overseeing transactional details. If you’re now at that point in your career, now is the time to start learning the things you don’t know that you don’t know.

Two ways to begin are to start reading, and to start studying successful people. What you gain from reading is obvious — textbook knowledge from expert practitioners and leaders in their fields. You don’t need to focus on an author in your field; many people write books about skills that transfer easily from profession to profession. Here are my Top Three suggested books for Grand Masters:

Value-Based Selling by Bill Bachrach
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

By studying and internalizing the successful habits of others, you can take yourself and your business to the next level.

The true experts in our industry are continuing to have their best year ever, despite the challenges in the market. And they’re doing this because they’ve committed themselves to learning something new every single day so they have 100,000 possibilities for anything they encounter. Those with less expertise are struggling to weather the storm.

Now is the time to concentrate on becoming a Grand Master in this market. Start reading. Start studying successful individuals in all walks of life. Learn, adjust, and adapt.

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