Archive for the ‘Introverts Are Awesome!’ Category

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The subject of the final SWS teleseminar of 2014 was…socializing! Without fear! For introverts!

During the program my guest Susan Haughton and I shared 101 tips (well, maybe not 101 but a lot) you can use in your own socializing to make getting out there in the world where other people happen to be fun and productive. If you missed the show, you can find it in the Simple VIP Lounge Here:

After the show, I polled the audience for what they felt were the most interesting, meaningful and valuable tips of the day and here’s what they told us:

Favorit-est Tip #1: Offer to help the host of the party – ask them to give you a “job” to do. Come early to help set-up, serve drinks or food, take pictures, etc.

Favorit-est Tip #2: Honor your comfort zone when socializing. Don’t feel pressured to do things that don’t sound fun, unless you WANT to push your comfort zone.

Favorit-est Tip #3: Before socializing, visualize yourself having a great time.

Favorit-est Tip #4: Not really a tip, but a lot of attendees commented on the discussion about the difference between “introverted” and “shy.”

Favorit-est Tip #5: Have an exit strategy going in. Just in case…

Favorit-est Tip #6: When out and about, make an effort to smile at strangers and make eye contact. “Be Pleasant.”

Favorit-est Tip #7: Leave your business cards in the car when socializing so you won’t be tempted to push them on people.

Favorit-est Tip #8: Buy things (event tickets, girl scout cookies, etc.) and give them away.

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Thanks to everyone who attended last Thursday’s SWS teleseminar show ‘specially for introverts about Socializing Without Fear or Discomfort!

If you are naturally socially-inclined, you may think that going out into the world with a smile and a hearty hello for everyone you find there is an easy, natural thing to do! But for those of us who aren’t quite as socially comfortable, who enjoy time with ourselves far more than time spent in a crowd, who become frazzled and exhausted after too much social interaction – we sometimes feel inadequate, inferior or even fatally-flawed because we aren’t interested in being the life of the party.

Not that we introverts need to apologize for our personalities – not at all! Nor should we try to “overcome” our more-reserved nature so we can be more like our extroverted colleagues. No, we’re pretty awesome just the way we are, even if we do struggle sometimes in social situations. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Back to the show… my guest, Susan Haughton and I shared our personal tips for getting out in the world and inspiring the people we find there to like us, trust us and eventually care that we sell real estate for a living, using strategies that won’t make a typical introvert feel like a schmuck. At the end of the show, I asked the audience to share their favorite tips, I compiled them all, and here are the Top Four!

Favorit-est Tip #1: Go to lunch with two friends every week. By “friends,” I mean people you enjoy hanging out with, not just people you know. If you’re dreading a lunch date because you have no idea what you’ll talk about with this person, they aren’t a good lunch date candidate for you. But if you go to lunch with two friends a week, every week, that’s more than 100 times you connected with people you enjoy being with and who probably enjoy being with you, too.

Favorit-est Tip #1a: – Don’t feel you need to always pick up the tab when you go to lunch. You’re going to lunch with a FRIEND, not a prospect, and if they want to pay, let them! You can return the favor next time (so make sure there IS a next time). Don’t create uncomfortable drama at the end of the meal by fighting over the check. You can pay, or they can pay or you can split it. It’s a friendly lunch, not a business lunch.

Favorit-est Tip #2 (Thank you Susan!): If you have season tickets to local events and you can’t always use them, start calling your friends and acquaintances offering to give them away. You’ll probably “have” to go through several names before you find someone who will take you up on your offer, which is a wonderful way to organically connect! If your marketing budget allows, you might even buy tickets to popular events with the sole intention of giving them away in this manner.

Favorit-est Tip #3: When attending a party (which is not typically an introvert’s favorite thing to do), ask the host for a job or task that you can be responsible for during the party. Help bartend, serve snacks, take photos; anything so that you aren’t standing in the corner by yourself feeling as if everyone is looking at you. Also, related to party-attending, come armed with an exit strategy, if for no other reason than to comfort yourself that you CAN leave if you aren’t having fun.

Favorit-est Tip #4: Walk your dog! Dogs are wonderful ice-breakers for introverts. If your dog is particularly cute (or particularly ugly!), just taking him or her out in public can start up all sorts of conversations. And don’t forget that other peoples’ cute or ugly dogs can be conversation-starters for you. If you don’t have a dog, but consider yourself a dog person, offer to walk a friend’s – not only will you be out there starting up conversations, but you’ll be impressing your friend with how helpful you are!

Honorable Mentions

  • Don’t pretend to be an extrovert if you aren’t – it’ll just make everyone (you included) uncomfortable.
  • Be a Master of Your Market. Being conversationally familiar with your local market gives you all sorts of things to talk about when socializing.
  • Leave your business cards at home when out and about so you aren’t tempted to push them on everyone you meet. If someone wants your contact information, take theirs and promise to get back with them.
  • Stay IN your comfort zone when socializing. If large parties make you nervous, avoid them, and host your own intimate dinner or casual afternoon BBQ with a small group of friends.

Here is a wonderful article called “Caring for Your Introvert” – if you ARE an introvert, you’ll recognize yourself here… if you know an introvert, they’ll much appreciate your taking the time to better understand them!

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The sales gurus tell you to step outside your comfort zone. Take that first painful step. Push yourself to do the things you’d rather not.

Makes sense, I s’pose.

But is it really necessary? Maybe not.

Frankly, I think I’m pretty darn cool just the way I am, without stepping out of my zone. I think that I can be me, and succeed just fine.

Don’t wanna cold call? So don’t. If you don’t wanna, you’ll probably suck at it anyway. Call your mother instead.

Don’t wanna hunt for FSBO’s? Join the club. Meet three friends for brunch or bang out a few personal emails.

Don’t wanna spend the weekend handing out cards from your company’s Peanut Festival booth? Me neither. But I might stop by and say hi!

So what DO you wanna do?

Make a list of the things you’re good at, the things you enjoy, that don’t give you the jitters. Chances are, hidden in that list are plenty of ideas to generate business for yourself. I’ll bet you’re creative enough to come up with some great ones (and please share!)

You got this far in life being YOU. Just ‘cause you’re in real estate doesn’t mean you have to change. You’re already terrific!

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Here’s a great article about US and how to love us properly…

(by the way, don’t miss the part that says we’re “gifted”.)

Caring for Your Introvert

By Jonathan Rauch, The Atlantic Online, reprinted with permission

The subtitle of this article as it appeared in the March, 2003 issue of the Atlantic Monthly is “the habits and needs of a little-understood group.” It is a humorous and informative piece by the self-confessed introverted author.

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

If so, do you tell this person he is “too serious,” or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands-and that you aren’t caring for him properly. Science has learned a good deal in recent years about the habits and requirements of introverts. It has even learned, by means of brain scans, that introverts process information differently from other people (I am not making this up). If you are behind the curve on this important matter, be reassured that you are not alone. Introverts may be common, but they are also among the most misunderstood and aggrieved groups in America, possibly the world.

I know. My name is Jonathan, and I am an introvert.

Oh, for years I denied it. After all, I have good social skills. I am not morose or misanthropic. Usually. I am far from shy. I love long conversations that explore intimate thoughts or passionate interests. But at last I have self-identified and come out to my friends and colleagues. In doing so, I have found myself liberated from any number of damaging misconceptions and stereotypes. Now I am here to tell you what you need to know in order to respond sensitively and supportively to your own introverted family members, friends, and colleagues. Remember, someone you know, respect, and interact with every day is an introvert, and you are probably driving this person nuts. It pays to learn the warning signs.

What is introversion?

In its modern sense, the concept goes back to the 1920s and the psychologist Carl Jung. Today it is a mainstay of personality tests, including the widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say “Hell is other people at breakfast.” Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.

Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially “on,” we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn’t antisocial. It isn’t a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: “I’m okay, you’re okay-in small doses.”

How many people are introverts?

I performed exhaustive research on this question, in the form of a quick Google search. The answer: About 25 percent. Or: Just under half. Or-my favorite-“a minority in the regular population but a majority in the gifted population.”

Are introverts misunderstood?

Wildly. That, it appears, is our lot in life. “It is very difficult for an extrovert to understand an introvert,” write the education experts Jill D. Burruss and Lisa Kaenzig. (They are also the source of the quotation in the previous paragraph.) Extroverts are easy for introverts to understand, because extroverts spend so much of their time working out who they are in voluble, and frequently inescapable, interaction with other people. They are as inscrutable as puppy dogs. But the street does not run both ways. Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion. They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion. As often as I have tried to explain the matter to extroverts, I have never sensed that any of them really understood. They listen for a moment and then go back to barking and yipping.

Are introverts oppressed?

I would have to say so. For one thing, extroverts are overrepresented in politics, a profession in which only the garrulous are really comfortable. Look at George W. Bush. Look at Bill Clinton. They seem to come fully to life only around other people. To think of the few introverts who did rise to the top in politics-Calvin Coolidge, Richard Nixon-is merely to drive home the point. With the possible exception of Ronald Reagan, whose fabled aloofness and privateness were probably signs of a deep introverted streak (many actors, I’ve read, are introverts, and many introverts, when socializing, feel like actors), introverts are not considered “naturals” in politics.

Extroverts therefore dominate public life. This is a pity. If we introverts ran the world, it would no doubt be a calmer, saner, more peaceful sort of place. As Coolidge is supposed to have said, “Don’t you know that four fifths of all our troubles in this life would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still?” (He is also supposed to have said, “If you don’t say anything, you won’t be called on to repeat it.” The only thing a true introvert dislikes more than talking about himself is repeating himself.)

With their endless appetite for talk and attention, extroverts also dominate social life, so they tend to set expectations. In our extrovertist society, being outgoing is considered normal and therefore desirable, a mark of happiness, confidence, leadership. Extroverts are seen as bighearted, vibrant, warm, empathic. “People person” is a compliment. Introverts are described with words like “guarded,” “loner,” “reserved,” “taciturn,” “self-contained,” “private”-narrow, ungenerous words, words that suggest emotional parsimony and smallness of personality. Female introverts, I suspect, must suffer especially. In certain circles, particularly in the Midwest, a man can still sometimes get away with being what they used to call a strong and silent type; introverted women, lacking that alternative, are even more likely than men to be perceived as timid, withdrawn, haughty.

Are introverts arrogant?

Hardly. I suppose this common misconception has to do with our being more intelligent, more reflective, more independent, more level-headed, more refined, and more sensitive than extroverts. Also, it is probably due to our lack of small talk, a lack that extroverts often mistake for disdain. We tend to think before talking, whereas extroverts tend to think by talking, which is why their meetings never last less than six hours. “Introverts,” writes a perceptive fellow named Thomas P. Crouser, in an online review of a recent book called Why Should Extroverts Make All the Money? (I’m not making that up, either), “are driven to distraction by the semi-internal dialogue extroverts tend to conduct. Introverts don’t outwardly complain, instead roll their eyes and silently curse the darkness.” Just so.

The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still, we endure stoically, because the etiquette books-written, no doubt, by extroverts-regard declining to banter as rude and gaps in conversation as awkward. We can only dream that someday, when our condition is more widely understood, when perhaps an Introverts’ Rights movement has blossomed and borne fruit, it will not be impolite to say “I’m an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush.”

How can I let the introvert in my life know that I support him and respect his choice?

First, recognize that it’s not a choice. It’s not a lifestyle. It’s an orientation.

Second, when you see an introvert lost in thought, don’t say “What’s the matter?” or “Are you all right?”

Third, don’t say anything else, either.

-© Copyright 2003, the Atlantic Monthly Group, reprinted with permissionarrow up to top of page

Jonathan Rauch is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a senior writer for National Journal.


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(To read Part One, Click Here)

… In retrospect, I realize that the ability to work from home changed my life. For the first time, I truly flourished and discovered a creative side to myself I’d never known existed. Being somewhat shy and a bit of a privacy freak, working in an office made me feel self-conscious and ‘on display’ all the time. And it was so distracting! I need peace and quiet to focus. I need a sense of privacy to recharge my batteries. Surrounded by chatter, I feel myself getting anxious and frazzled. But that’s just me.

The other thing that annoyed me about working in the office was sharing equipment with other agents. The copier was always jammed (and abandoned), the fax machine always in use (or jammed & abandoned), the printer was out of toner (and abandoned) or the central computer was frozen (and abandoned). Real estate agents can be a bit self-absorbed and technologically challenged which is a bad combination when you’re sharing vital office equipment.

If you’re Just Like Me, give some serious consideration to setting up a true home office, and not just a corner of the dining room for your computer desk. You’ll need your own room, preferably away from any hustle and bustle of the living areas of your home. And not just to ensure your peace and quiet, but so that your family doesn’t feel as if they live in a real estate office. In many of the homes I’ve lived in during my career, my office was set up in a central location in the home and when I was married, my husband deeply resented it.

The phone rang constantly and I was always working, right under his nose. He felt neglected and ignored – that my business was more important than he was, and that his home was not a sanctuary from his own busy work day. Had my office been separate from the main living area, he could have enjoyed his own solitude and peace, but the way I set it up, he could not. It seemed to him that the whole house was my office and not our home.

So anyway, if at all possible, find your own space that won’t interfere with family life. Once you get busy, your phone will ring constantly and you will need to be able to escape from your office too! That’s hard to do when your office is in the dining room.

You’ll need a good working desk in addition to a computer desk. You’ll need plenty of shelves and drawers. The more horizontal storage space you have, the happier you’ll be. Storage is the secret to happiness in your home office! You’ll need some good file cabinets, a fax machine, a telephone with speaker, desktop file storage, a fax machine, a postage meter, a 3-hole punch, a paper cutter, a paper shredder, a few reams of presentation paper, a box of regular copy paper, legal paper, labels, scotch tape… etc., etc., etc. A multi-function fax/copier/printer/scanner is a necessity.

One year, I got overly ambitious and purchased a $2000 color laser printer because I thought I was a big shot and needed it. Don’t do it!! That monster cost me $1000/year in toner and other supplies and broke down at least twice a year. It was too heavy for me to move, even two feet across the room. I’d rather wear out a couple mid-quality multi-function machines every year than deal with that beast again.

Do not use your home phone as your business phone unless you are the only one who ever answers it AND you answer it professionally every time. Use your real estate office address on business cards. After I got to the point where I worked exclusively at home, I was comfortable meeting my clients there, especially when preparing purchase offers. You may or may not feel the same way. For me, it’s just easier to put contracts together on my own computer, rather than figuring out how to work the computer and printer in an office I rarely visit. It’s worth the half an hour I have to take to clean up my house! Perhaps it isn’t as professional as meeting in a stuffy office, but it works just fine for me.

If you work from home 99% of the time and are willing to give up your desk at your real estate office, you may be able to negotiate a better commission split. After all, the broker can put another agent at your desk (more $$$ for him) and you aren’t using the office resources to the extent that the other agents do. Many companies offer an alternative split for agents who work from home, although it may not be available to you until you’ve been selling real estate for a year or two. Working from home can be expensive – aside from the obvious costs of stocking your own supplies, you’re also using your own electricity all day long! Don’t underestimate this – my utility bills were twice what they “should” have been. But maybe you’ll offset that by not eating out as much… after all, your refrigerator is just down the hall.

copyright Jennifer Allan 2007

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I struggle with the personal phone calls. Don't know why it's so hard, but it is. I guess it's because I really don't like to talk on the phone myself, so it's hard for me to impose my voice on others! But whenever I do get brave and make the call, I almost always feel good that I did.

Except, as I've mentioned before, when I call a fellow introvert (who probably doesn't like talking on the phone any more than I do). So, unless I have a real good reason to make that call – I don't. My introvert friends get an email.

Also, as I think I've suggested, before you make your SOI phone calls, make a few purely "business" calls to warm up. Like – schedule a dentist appointment… call your credit card company to protest a charge… if you've moved recently, make a few phone calls updating your address. Once I've have a few successful phone calls under my belt, it's much easier for me to make the personal, or even difficult ones. (Like calling your seller to explain why you haven't had any showings this week).

I usually make my calls in conjunction with my lunch date goals.

I have noticed, however, that I get a much better response to my emails than to voicemails. Anyone else notice this? Maybe we really are moving toward a digital world and away from voice to voice. Any thoughts?

Just remember (yeah, like I have to remind THIS crowd), don't call your friends looking for business. Don't even mention real estate unless you have a darn good reason to.


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How old are you now – 25? 32? 47? 65? It doesn’t really matter; I’ll assume that if you’re reading Active Rain blogs, you’re old enough. Old enough for what? Well, to know WHO you are, WHAT you like to do, WHERE you like to do it, and HOW often, right?mirror

In other words, you ARE who you ARE and you’ll probably not change all that much. Agreed?

I’ve been reading a lot of sales training material lately – not just real estate sales training; stuff by other gurus as well. What I keep seeing is how salespeople need to “get over their fear” or “stop wasting time on pretty brochures” or “suck it up and do it” (whatever “it” is that the salesperson doesn’t want to do).

Now, this annoys me. Why? Because it assumes that there is only one personality or approach that will work when one is trying to find customers and then persuade them to part with their hard-earned money. That if you don’t do it “this way” you’ll fail miserably. And I don’t believe that.

I think that if you’re great at creating fabulous brochures, that’s part of your personality and you’re far better off finding a way to harness that energy in your sales efforts. If you suck at networking events, there’s no reason to torture yourself by attending – but I’ll bet there’s something else you would enjoy which would allow your natural wonderful-ness to shine thru. If you cringe at the thought of begging your friends for referrals (on the first Monday of every month), then it’s perfectly fine NOT to do it – and to use that natural reluctance to pester to your advantage.

You don’t have to become someone you aren’t… someone you don’t recognize… someone you don’t even like much to succeed in a sales career. In fact, you’ll sell a lot more once you abandon the notion that you have to change, and work on capitalizing on the gifts and talents God gave you. There IS a natural salesperson in there… but it’s probably NOT that person you read about in the last “How To Sell” book you bought!

Related Blogs:

Curing” the Reluctant Salesperson
In Praise of the Unnatural Salesperson
Stay IN Your Comfort Zone
Be Yourself… Have More Fun… Sell More Real Estate

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Kicked off the Summer of Soul over the weekend with Susan Haughton‘s interview “Introverts are Salespeople, too!” Good show, great crowd!

Highlights from Saturday’s show include:

1.       An introvert is a much better salesperson when approached, rather than when he does the approaching (when he attracts business rather than pursues it)

2.       An introvert needs to know what she’s doing before she can project a confident attitude (she can’t fake it ‘til she makes it)

3.       Being introverted is not the same as being shy

4.       Introverts can (and should) trust their gut – we have great intuition and a lot of common sense!

5.       Introverts can (and should) stay in their comfort zone when prospecting

#1 – An introvert is a better salesperson when approached, rather than when he approaches. Some might say that this somewhat negates the whole concept of being a salesperson at all – if you’re just sitting around waiting for someone to knock on your door, you’re an order-taker, not a salesperson. Hmmmmm, I don’t think so. In fact, I think that attraction-based marketing is the wave of the future and we introverts might be ahead of the curve! People are tired of being sold, of being pitched, of being pursued. When they need information on a product, they’ll go find it. And the trick is to be THERE when they go looking. We introverts are excellent lead-converters when the lead comes to us – DUE to our personality, not despite it!

#2 – An introvert can’t fake it ‘til she makes it. When an introvert knows what she’s doing, she projects an incredible can-do attitude because, well, she knows she CAN DO. We’re organized, we’re efficient, we’re thoughtful and we’re creative and we know we can get the job done. If we know how to do the job! Therefore, it’s important that those who lean toward the introverted side of the scale focus on building expertise and knowledge before they prospect. If they’re insecure in their abilities, they’ll never leave the office.

That’s enough for today… I’ll pick this up later! Have a wonderful week, my friends!

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Any extrovert reading this is gonna go “HUH? Well, DUH” (extroverts can be so well-spoken – said with a smile).

However, I bet some of you Ntros are going to relate.

Have you ever been introduced to someone… who didn’t offer their hand in greeting… and you didn’t offer yours… and the relationship went downhill from there?

It happens to me all the time and I hate it. Maybe I just wasn’t versed in the social graces as a child, but I really think that it’s due to my Ntro personality. I almost always wait for the other person to initiate a handshake and usually they do.

Great! Onward!

But… sometimes, the other person is also an Ntro and waits for ME to get the social ball rolling. And when I don’t, oooooh… it’s painful. Awkward. Uncomfortable. And it doesn’t get any better with time.

So, the obvious simple solution is to remind yourself to always extend your hand in greeting until it becomes a habit.

Great! Onward!

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Should you work from home or from a real estate office?

For some, the answer is obvious. The majority of salespeople prefer the busyness and chaos of an office. They need the social interaction and would be unproductive at home. They claim that they can’t work from home because they’d be too distracted and wouldn’t get anything done. If this sounds like you, you have your answer. Start working toward getting that corner office with a mountain view.

For those of you like me, naturally introverted, you may find yourself working primarily from home already. I did. Within one week of beginning my real estate career, I had a full office set up in my home and only went to my Coldwell Banker office a few times a week. I didn’t do it intentionally; it just naturally happened.

Don’t force yourself to go to the office if you’re more comfortable and productive at home. Being an introvert all my life, I always felt a little guilty that I preferred my own company to the company of others. I forced myself into social situations that were disastrous for my peace of mind and productivity. For example, I joined a sorority in college (what was I thinking?) and when I noticed I wasn’t fitting in, I decided to move into the sorority house for a semester. What a nightmare – no privacy, no personal space, no control over my environment. For an introvert, this is Bad. We need our privacy, space and control to function.

When you go to the office, do you feel as if you’re productive? Creative? Ambitious? I found that when I forced myself to spend time in my real estate office, I could get my to-do list done, but not much else. My creativity seemed stifled and my motivation low. I need my own space to pace, to talk to myself, to do a few sit-ups if the mood strikes. Or even take a power nap.

When you spend time in the office do you feel energized when you leave or drained? Do you enjoy the other agents in your office or do they get on your nerves? When you walk in your door at night, do you stumble in, feeling as if you just put in a long day at the office? Or pleased with yourself and eager to go back tomorrow? One of the many benefits of a real estate career is the escape from the drudgery of a nine-to-five job. The euphoria of being your own boss and controlling your own destiny (in between all those feeling of confusion, anxiety and frustration). Your work environment may very well be the key to finding the euphoria.

(to be continued…)

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When I was a full-time real estate agent, I found myself with an unusual niche… Vacant Homes!

I was “Denver’s Vacant Home Specialist!”

I LOVED it! I could do (or not do) an open house whenever I felt like it. Show up when it suited me, leave when I wanted, no worrying about small-talking with the homeowner who was trying to get her toddler ready, her dog penned up and her lunch dishes washed at 2:20 (for my 2-4 open house). I could show my listing at any time, without calling ahead. No dealing with seller complaints about agents who showed up early… late… or not at all.

Is marketing vacant homes brain surgery? Nope. But believe it or not, marketing vacant homes IS a valid specialty!

Here are just a few of the problems I offered solutions to:

~ Vacant homes don’t photograph well (bring in the home stager!)

~ Light bulbs burn out with astonishing frequency

~ Who’s gonna shovel the snow?

~ Mow the lawn?

~ Clean up the dead bugs?

~ Unused toilets get nasty, fast!

If you have a vacant listing, you’ll be dismayed by how quickly things deteriorate into chaos. Shower curtains fall down, lockboxes jam, sprinkler systems mis-fire. Strange smells permeate the home from any number of mysterious sources. SOMEONE has to solve these problems… why not YOU?

I fell into my niche because of all the fix-n-flip investors I worked with in the late 1990’s. In response to the fix-n-flip craze, I started one of the first full service home staging companies ( and offered free staging to my investor clients. Ahhhh, the good old days.

But, I digress. If you’re an introvert and looking for a niche suitable to your personality, think about the vacant home market. Hook up with a home-stager (who offers furnishing services, not just redecorating), pack a little tool kit (lightbulbs, dusting clothes, trash bags, etc.) for your car and put your antenna up for vacant home sellers.

They’re out there… and maybe they’re looking for YOU!

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What’s the Difference Between an Extrovert and an Introvert?
An Extrovert is someone who gets his or her energy from being around others; an Introvert is someone who is energized by being alone. When an Extrovert is left alone for long periods of time, he becomes lethargic. Conversely, an Introvert will be exhausted and drained after a day of social interaction.

I’m naturally shy. Not wallflower shy – I’m not afraid to speak in public and I was even a cheerleader in high school, but shy as in… socially uncomfortable. Small talk is a foreign language to me. I’ve faked more than one twisted ankle to get out of attending a wedding or baby shower, and in college, I was placed on “social probation” by my sorority because I didn’t attend enough parties.

So in 1996, I made the obvious career choice and entered the world of real estate sales. Funny, huh? No, actually, I did it because, like many other budding real estate moguls, I planned to buy and sell my own properties and get rich. Perhaps, if I had time, I would try to squeeze in a few clients here and there to make sure the bills were paid while I was building my own empire. But I never planned to be a “Real Estate Agent.” No, I knew I was too shy to succeed in a business dominated by charismatic extroverts.

Fast forward ten years. I am a real estate agent and a darn good one. A successful one. Yet I’ve never made a cold call, I’ve never knocked on a stranger’s door to ask for his business. No, not even in my first year.

It’s funny that no one ever admits to hiring a salesperson based on their ability to B.S. their way to a sale. Yet high-pressure, can’t-be-bothered-with-the-details sales people get hired every day because they’re likeable. Bully for them. There are plenty of sexy programs and glitzy seminars out there for the extrovert to develop their natural skills of prospecting and networking. If you’re shy like me, don’t waste your time or money. The strategies directed at extroverts won’t work for you. You might even be discouraged from a career in real estate if they convince you that you can’t succeed without putting their high pressure tactics into play.

Don’t misunderstand, there’s nothing wrong with being socially adept. I wish I were. With all my heart, I’d love to be a social butterfly. But I’m not and yet I have succeeded in a business that has traditionally been lead by dynamic, outgoing, ‘natural’ sales people. You can too.

Contrary to popular belief, you can succeed in real estate, even if you’re not an extrovert. In fact, you can be great, but only if you’re GOOD. Good at the details, good at the paperwork, good at negotiating, good at the follow up. If you can’t distract & dazzle them with your charm, you can still blow them away with your competency. And isn’t that more rewarding anyway?

You are probably already a bit of a stickler for details. You are probably already reliable, organized and efficient. These skills will take you much further than you might suspect in your real estate career. And you know what? Your shyness might actually be a big factor in your success. If you consider traditional real estate prospecting and closing techniques too invasive and assumptive for your personality, you will develop your own style that, as a by-product, shows respect for your prospects and clients. You will treat them as if they are intelligent human beings, which they will truly appreciate and find refreshing.

Throughout my ten years of successful real estate sales, I have come up with many techniques and strategies that are well suited to a less-than-bold personality style. I’d be happy to share my ideas with you… just drop me a note with your specific question or dilemma and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Just know that YES! A Reluctant Prospector CAN succeed in real estate. And love every minute of it.

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I don’t know what it is lately, but I’m getting slammed with emails from readers (that sounds negative, I don’t mean it to be – I love hearing from y’all!) about how to meet people to add to their Spheres of Influence. Since a lot of my readers lean toward the introverted side of the personality teeter-totter, they bemoan the fact that they “just aren’t that friendly” or “don’t enjoy networking events.” ME, TOO, and ME, NEITHER!

So, how does a not-that-friendly, networking-phobic real estate agent make new friends?

First, let’s clarify why we might want to have more friends as a real estate agent. Agents who follow the Sell with Soul philosophy aren’t interested in pestering people for a living – that is – they aren’t going to cold-call, door-knock or otherwise impose self-promotion techniques that they would not enjoy being used on them. They’d much rather attract business to them organically, rather than risk annoying people with an aggressive pursuit.

So, that’s the mindset we’re talking about here. In a very basic sense – inspiring people to ask for your business card instead of your asking if you can give it to them.

A little history about me – before I became a real estate agent, I didn’t have a lot of friends… by choice, I liked to believe. I didn’t willingly attend parties or other social events because I dreaded those polite conversations where I struggled to find something to say to fill the silence and often that “something” was eye-rolling ridiculous.

So, I avoided social situations when I could, and when I couldn’t, I’d hide in the corner with a glass of wine, a plate of cheese and a deer-in-headlights look on my face. I rarely invited anyone to dinner or out for coffee, and when I received such invitations, my automatic response was to find an excuse to say no.

And I was happy enough. Didn’t bother me; I like my own company and don’t mind being alone. I was successful at my job as an account manager for an insurance company; I had a cool boyfriend and a nice house. What did I need friends for?

Well, going into real estate changed all that, forever. Call me mercenary, but once I was a real estate agent, I suddenly saw the value in having a social network. Hey, the more people I know… the more chances I have of selling some real estate! And I did. Sell a lot of real estate, that is. To and for the people I knew.

And you know what? I’ll admit that my initial friend-finding mission was purely self-serving. Believe me, I was and still am an introvert and have no problem hanging out by myself for days on end. I still have no interest in small talk or polite conversation and would rather eat cottage cheese (ick!) than attend a networking event.

BUT… guess what? Having friends is WONDERFUL! And I’m not talking about “wonderful” from a business perspective; I’m talking wonderful as in – it’s fun! For many of you, this is a big DUH, but for us introverts, it’s not quite so obvious.

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Got a great question from a reader yesterday!sad face

NH writes:

Dear Jennifer,

What do you do when your spouse doesn’t get the SWS* [Sell with Soul] concept? My husband is a born salesman if you know what I mean. He has no problem striking up a conversation with anyone, in fact I get some leads from him because he isn’t ashamed to brag about me and refer me. I feel blessed to have someone who believes in me so much and supports my career. But we have now had two heated discussions because I was explaining the SWS concept and why I thought it was the perfect thing for my personality (which is the total opposite from his) and he started “coaching” me on how to get out  there and to face things that scare me; cold calling, door knocking, etc. He said, “Everything can’t be all fun and there are things in every one’s job that they don’t like. You can’t always take the easy route” (when it comes to lead generation).

You probably know how I was feeling. I’m not sure what to say anymore because every time we discuss it, someone ends up getting hurt. Has anyone else had this problem, if not with someone close to them, maybe a team leader, broker, or fellow agent?


Oh, yeah, NH, I SO feel your pain! I’ve dealt with this all my life, although not as much anymore because I can throw the “I wrote a book about it!” card around. The thing is, extroverts often really don’t understand us – they just think we’re wussing out when we refuse to do things that make us uncomfortable. I’ve had my share of knock-down, drag-out fights myself over my more reserved personality, and, like yours, they always end badly.

I believe that a large percentage of the real estate failures (that is, agents who enter the business and then quit) are due to the cookie-cutter training that insists there’s only one path to success, regardless of one’s personality. That simply ain’t true. Once a salesperson (regardless of his or her product) acknowledges, accepts and even celebrates his natural God-given talents and interests, he can blossom doing things HIS way.

But force him to do it THEIR way and he’ll almost certainly fail. It’s not a matter of being stubborn or stupid or lazy or wussy. We introverts just have a different perspective on the world and the people in it. It’s not better, it’s not inferior; it’s just different.

NH – I’ll chat with you more about this offline, but thanks for the Monday morning blog material!

Any fellow Introverts (or Extroverts married to Introverts) have any tips for us? (Other than “suck it up” – we’ve heard that one before!)

* When I advise agents to “Sell with Soul” it simply means (among other things) that they should stay true to who they are, whether they are introverts, extroverts or something in the middle. But many introverts equate SWS to introversion because the SWS philosophy is one of the few that acknowledges the fact that introverts can be successful selling real estate. However, to clarify, you don’t have to be an introvert to  Sell with Soul!!!!

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As much as I’d like to claim that I’m always looking out for the other guy, and always put my friends’ and clients’ needs ahead of my own… well… I just can’t say that with a straight face. I can be awfully lazy at times (quite often, actually) and would much rather do exactly what I yawnwanna do and the rest of my world be da*ned!

But… unfortunately, when you’re self-employed, that’s probably not the best approach to life. Because y’know what? In our industry, every warm body on the planet has the potential to bring you a $10,000 paycheck and there’s no way of telling who that next $10k paycheck will come from. Blow someone off ‘cause you’re feeling lazy and you might just have blown that week’s (or month’s) opportunity for The Big One.

So, lately, when I’m asked for a favor, or even to go out socially (as an introvert, I’m not always in the mood) and I’m inclined to decline, I back off and ask myself “What’s in this for me?” And y’know what? I can almost always think of something “in it” for me, above and beyond the potential to have fun, eat some good food or drink good wine or even meet my next $10k client. I hesitate to give you any of my recent examples because they are SO DARN SELF-SERVING, I’m almost embarrassed.

But does it really matter what my motivation is, as long as I do the right thing?

So, give it a try. Next time you’re tempted to decline an invitation or say NO to a favor asked of you, take a moment to be selfish and ask “what in it for me if I do this?” If you truly can’t think of anything, you have my permission to stay home! But I’ll bet you’ll find that more often than not… there IS something in it for you that makes it worth doing!

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As a self-professed introvert (and proud of it), articles about the introvert experience frequently catch my eye. Unfortunately, so many of them center around “curing” introversion or “overcoming” introversion or “succeeding in spite of” introversion, especially when the topic in question is a career in sales.s

Well, I disagree, at least for REAL ESTATE salespeople. Sure, if you sell widgets or gidgets or smidgets and it’s your primary job to continually SELL your product, then yeah, the natural personality of an introvert might get in the way. We don’t like to bug people; we don’t like to intrude on people; we worry constantly how others are perceiving us and therefore have a pretty tough time Doing Unto Others as We’d Hate Them to Do Unto Us (that is, try to sell them something they may not want).

But, I’ve always argued… how exactly is real estate a sales career? What, exactly, do we sell?

Houses? Uh, no. We don’t actually sell the house.

Ourselves? Well, yes, but so do a lot of other self-employed professions and we don’t call them salespeople. When you visit your accountant and he helps you through a complicated process (e.g. filing your tax return) and gives you professional advice, is he selling? When your general contractor manages all the moving pieces and parts of your construction project, is he a salesperson? When your dentist uses his professional expertise to do your root canal and oversees the process from start to finish… is he selling?

No, and neither are we when we help our clients buy or sell homes.

Sure, we need some sales-type skills… we need to be able to write appealing copy for our marketing materials; we should be good negotiators and we should have some systems in place to stay in touch with the people we know and a plan to meet new people, but I don’t think one needs “natural sales ability” (whatever that is) to be a good writer/negotiator/stay-in-touch-er. In fact, one might argue that we introverts (‘cause we LOVE the details) might actually be better at such things!

No offense to our wonderful, delightful, charismatic extrovert friends, but STOP trying to cure us. We’re terrific just the way we are!!! And yeah, we can SELL REAL ESTATE!

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Have you ever known a real estate salesperson who succeeds in spite of himself? He’s sloppy, he’s careless, he neglects to return his phone calls and he’s always late? His listing presentation consists of an unorganized last-minute print-out from the MLS, handed to him by his assistant as he runs out the door (already 20 minutes late?). His planner is a collection of sticky-notes plastered all over his computer? Yeah, you know the type!

salesAnd darn-it, if he doesn’t do well! How can this be?

Well, he’s probably charismatic, charming and friendly. These characteristics will take a flibbertygidget salesperson a long way in his sales career. And, fortunately for him, he can always hire out the detail work.

We introverts – well, that’s a whole different story. We wouldn’t dream of using our personalities to cover up poor preparation (yeah, like we could!). If we’re going to be two minutes late, we call ahead to let everyone know… and then we’re still the first one to arrive. Our listing presentations are things of beauty. Our contact databases are up-to-date, our taxes are complete way before April 15 and we get true joy out of a marked-off to-do list.

And get this… if we screw up, we admit it. We take responsibility for it. Heck, if YOU screw up we might even take responsibility for your mistake!

This is just how we are. We’re reliable, we’re organized, we’re punctual, and we’re respectful.

And yes, we are salespeople. Good ones, even.

Go, us! Un-Natural Salespeople Rock!

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Wish I could take credit for this one, but I can’t… so I won’t. Scott Larson, a fellow introvert, sent this idea to me and suggested I pass it on to my Ntro friends (although anyone, even you outgoing, charming, charismatic Xtro-types would probably get a kick out of it too).

It’s called a Banner Badge and according to Scott, it’s a name-tag of sorts that you program a message into – e.g., Merry Christmas, Happy New Year or even something more provocative (in a professional sense, of course).

I saw these at the Las Vegas NAR convention and it really does catch the eye! For us Ntro-types, this is good – it’s an automatic conversation-starter and ice-breaker, which is what we desperately need when out & about on the holiday party circuit.

Here’s one website I found that has them, but I’m sure there are more.


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Before I write another word, I want to state, for the record, that I have absolutely no experience prospecting to expireds or FSBO’s. So take what I say with the proverbial grain of salt.

And, please note… this blog is not meant for outgoing, extroverted, natural salespeople. You guys don’t need my help! I’m writing for the Reluctant Salespeople among us – those who hate to take the risk of bothering or pestering anyone ‘cause that’s just our nature (and no, we’re not weak salespeople or scaredy-cats, we’re just different from you).

Okay, enough disclaimers & disclosures.

If you choose to pursue expired listings and/or For Sale by Owners, here’s a tip.

Go for quality, not quantity. No, I’m not referring to cherry-picking your listings (although you certainly may!), I mean that you should only attempt to list the homes of people you feel comfortable with. People you have rapport with. If you call up a FSBO and you can tell immediately that you aren’t comfortable with him, just say NEXT. Don’t fret about losing that particular seller to someone else, just move on. You don’t need every listing in town!

I promise you, there are plenty of expireds and FSBO’s out there that you will really connect with, and the good news is that these folks probably won’t connect real well with the more salesy-types who aggressively pursue them. They’ll appreciate your laid-back, non-aggressive style; in fact, you may be just the breath of fresh air they’ve been waiting for.

However, this said, I’m not letting you off the hook just yet with regard to your prospecting efforts…

When considering implementing a FSBO/expired campaign, ask yourself this question:

“Am I willing to make phone calls and knock on doors to list these sellers?”

If the answer is “No, I’ll just bombard them with mailers,” or even “No, I’ll just mail them a letter and leave a voicemail during the day when I know (or hope) they’re at work,” then… don’t bother. Find another way to build your business. To create the rapport that is necessary to make this campaign work, you have to talk to the people.

This is why I never did FSBOs or expireds. I knew I didn’t want to call anyone or knock on any doors – I prefer to stay in my comfort zone, which definitely does not involve picking up the phone to call a stranger or knocking on his door at 8:00 am. And if you decide the same, that’s fine!

However, for those of you who are looking for a respectfully aggressive (yes, those two words can co-exist) way to prospect to expired listings, check out It’s good stuff.

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Okay – calm down. I’m an introvert thru and thru, so trust me, I won’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.

We introverts like our email. It’s safe, it’s efficient and we know we aren’t hassling anyone with our attempts at communication. Our prospects can choose to read it… or not. They can choose to read it NOW… or later. We’re oh-so thoughtful that way. We don’t want to impose our friendship on anyone who isn’t open to it.

(As in my earlier post about hand-shaking, the EXtros are now saying “HUH?” But the Ntros know what I’m talking about.)

But here’s the thing, unfortunately for us …

It’s hard to establish a professional relationship via email. Oh, yes, it can be done, but at a risk. A risk of losing the prospect to a more aggressive salesperson. A risk of drifting into a never-ending cyber-chat with your online prospect, during which you become complacent and, frankly, afraid to break the ice and make the call. It’s so much more comfortable to continue your online relationship; it seems to be working fine!

But if you get on the phone, right away, and establish that voice-with-an-email-address rapport, you have a much better chance of:

1. Creating a personal relationship with your prospect, which encourages loyalty

2. Getting on your prospect’s calendar (very important!)

3. Truly understanding your prospect’s situation and knowing whether or not you can help

And you know what? Once you’ve broken the voice-to-voice ice, you’ll feel SO MUCH more comfortable with this person. (Or not, as the case may be, which is good to know also.)

Several years ago, I contacted 5 real estate agents in the Wilmington, NC area, via email. Two responded – one via email, one on the phone. I chatted with both for the next several weeks, but my loyalty was 100% with the one who called me. Yeah, I’ll admit I led the emailer on, picked her brain and took advantage of her offer to send me a daily update of new listings. But when I arrived in Wilmington, who showed me around? Yep. The one who called me.

When you get an Internet inquiry, pick up that phone. Be assured that your hot new prospect is emailing agents all over town, although the good news (for you) is that the vast majority of these agents won’t respond at all. But if you make the call, right away, with a big smile on your face, and in your voice, you’ll get that cyber-prospect, if you want them!