This past fall, I was asked to speak for the Ontario Real Estate Association on their Emerge Tour, a six stop conference across Ontario with a tech theme focusing on helping local realtors improve their business.
When I was asked to talk about The Villages of Mississauga on the tour, at first I didn’t quite know what to say. I worked on my presentation for a number of weeks but every time I went over what I had come up with, it didn’t feel right. My presentation was very fact heavy and didn’t make a connection. That’s when I realized in order to make a connection and possibly help people, I had to dig deep share my personal story.
Sharing your personal story makes you vulnerable, and it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in real estate. Admitting that I wasn’t very successful in the beginning of my career and that I had made countless mistakes doesn’t fall under the ‘conventional advice’ given by the real estate industry.
Infact, if you look at the real estate industry, it is full of ego’s bull crapping their way through life. I’m #1…. or I sell a billion dollars in real estate….. billboards and glamour shots, high power poses and sales awards. All sparkle and no substance. Everything is always great and we (real estate agents in general) are always successful in business. This is the persona we are taught to portray, regardless of the reality.
But here’s the issue, I was asked to make a presentation that would help my fellow colleagues, so taking the ‘everything is perfect approach’ was doing no one any favours, least of all myself. Before I did the tour I was taken back by the number of my colleagues who thought I was crazy to open up and share my experiences.
I think the best way to help people trying to do what you have done is to share your struggles along with your successes, because it helps people make a connection with your story, and to (hopefully) help them see that success is possible for them also, regardless of their track record up to this point. It’s story telling that will get this point across.
So instead of taking the easy approach and bragging about my accomplishments, I shared my early struggles in my career, how I overcame them to become the real estate broker I am today. To my surprise, people loved it! I made a ton of connections and met a lot of realtors from all levels of success that could relate to my story. It was an amazing experience and my biggest take away from the experience was this:
As Human Beings, our BIGGEST STRENGTH is the power of Storytelling.
Stories that connect, and stories that inspire. Regardless of your business or cause, I think if you can make a connection with your audience and show your human side, you will be a big winner in the long run.
In my business, it’s the power to of storytelling through marketing and home staging that helps my clients get the best outcomes when selling a home, or helps buyers find the right community for their lifestyle.
Focusing more on storytelling has had some other benefits also. Over the past few months I’ve been featured in a number of industry articles and interviews about my story, which I never expected.
I started out writing a presentation to impress people, however when I threw that out and got personal, I made connections I never expected. If you are ever in a similar situation, regardless of your industry or cause I suggest you try the same, you will be pleasantly surprised!