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.
copyright Jennifer Allan 2007