Open Up to New Possibilities

By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

RMag_At_MidYear1Do you often find yourself saying that the future, in the words of legendary New York Yankees manager Yogi Berra, ain’t what it used to be? Have you lowered your expectations of yourself and your business because of the economy, the government, or some other abstraction? Are you unwilling or afraid to take risks or explore new ways of doing things?

Individuals and organizations don’t have much to look forward to if they can’t break out of that mentality, said Doreen Lecheler of corporate consultancy VisionLinked. In an address this afternoon to a roomful of REALTORS® in a Leadership Express session at the Midyear Legislative Meetings , Lecheler explained how to identify this mindset:

  • There’s plenty of talk about problems and roadblocks, but little about opportunities.
  • Creativity and energy are lacking.
  • There’s a lot of pushback toward any kind of change.

On the other hand, people and businesses that welcome new challenges thrive. While too much stress can be harmful, “Tension is good, because the creative subconscious kicks in to help solve problems,” she said.

If you find yourself or your organization stuck in a rut, here are four qualities you should actively cultivate to get back on your game:

  1. Awareness: Conscious awareness of subconscious thought. We limit ourselves by the way we think and talk.
  2. Insight: What’s really holding you back? What will it cost you if you don’t change?
  3. Vision: Define what you want.
  4. Alignment: Make sure your processes are in line with your goals.

Brian Summerfield

Brian Summerfield is Manager of Business Development and Outreach for NAR Commercial and Global Services. He can be reached at

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  1. I agree totally with this article, but there are some HUGE barriers that make new opportunities and ideas hard.

    1. Public Perception. Consumers are easily influenced by the majority and peers. If they see or hear about peer experiences/REALTORS that are not satisfactory or even information that is down right wrong, it is very difficult to persuade consumers that you do things differently because they have heard it before.

    2. Lack of Consumer Trust. This goes with #1. They don’t trust anymore. So, you say “let me show you” because actions speak louder than words, but they don’t want to let you show them. You can do anything in the world to prove to the customer that you are trustworthy, but if they have fallen into distrust because of others, it is nearly impossible to convince them otherwise no matter what you say or do.

    3. One Size Fits ALL Realty. Not to put anyone down, but real estate changes with every home, loan, agent, consumer, area, day, minute, second, etc. Consumers believe that several major companies do it a certain way then everyone else must, too. WRONG. There seems to be an unspoken collusion of commission setting around my area and a certain way to do business across the board that ignores what our Code of Ethics and State Statutes say. Trying to overcome this “standard business” practice with consumers becomes expensive and stressful at times because, again, of #1 & 2#.

    Without going into more, these are some of the MAJOR barriers that must be torn down when seeking new ways of doing things. If the consumers don’t get over these very valid issues that they have, we won’t continue to work and it could have an adverse affect on the housing market across the nation. If you want to verify my info or want more info, contact your local For Sale By Owners, Expired/Terminated Listings and any random person on the street.

  2. If consumers are receptive, we can’t be innovative. We must overcome the barriers then we can change real estate.

  3. It is up to us as Realtors to encourage forclosure and short sale lenders to liquidate their real estate assets at any cost at at least four times the rate they are doing now. The market will then likely stabalize. Realtors can get back to selling for consumers and lenders can re-learn to make safer loans. Wouldn’t non-qualifying loan assumptions, as in the 70’s and 80’s, had a positve effect, particularly in the last few years? Though some properties would have still gone to forclosure, many loans could have been saved.

  4. kria

    @Kristin Then there is a market to tap into.. The FSBO’s lost buyers!

  5. @kria Yes, you’re absolutely right, but in Houston they are not receptive to REALTORS right now. Their concerns are the way REALTORS practice real estate. They don’t (or can’t) pay 6% commission and they don’t trust REALTORS to do their job. The company I work under gives every seller a choice in how to list their property with us and a choice in commission rates while fully representing them and full filling our minimum obligations as outlined in the TREC Form Information About Brokerage Services, TREC Rules and the Texas Real Estate Licensing Act (TRELA). FSBOs and FLBOs want more for their money (which we provide more than the competition), but their definition is that they want REALTORS to do ALL of the work (and then some) and they aren’t going to pay much in commission. Even when I tell them my broker will go as low as 1 1/2% on the listing side w/ 3% to buyer side, they want everything for the 1 1/2% and nothing more and they expect us to pay for all the advertising and aren’t willing to negotiate potential problems with property with buyers to get the property sold. They rather let their property sit for 6 mo/1 yr plus than to use a REALTOR for their expertise and advise to get their property sold. (Experience is from calls of over 3 dozen FSBO calls personally obtained by driving by the actual properties and doesn’t include miss leading REALTOR represented homeowners).