Leigh Brown: You Won’t Like This, But I’ll Say It Anyway

Leigh Brown talks straight at Inman Connect.

Leigh Brown talks straight at Inman Connect.

Leigh Brown has something to say that you probably won’t like, but she’s going to say it anyway: Stop bragging so much.

Real estate professionals are big on projecting an image of success at all times and publicly announcing every one of their triumphs on social media — particularly when it’s a high-priced listing that nets them a big commission. It’s OK to celebrate the good times, but there aren’t too many who are willing to acknowledge their mistakes as openly. And if they do, they’re often shunned by their peers.

The best-foot-forward culture that has developed in the industry doesn’t allow practitioners to be human, Brown said at the General Session during Inman Connect on Wednesday. When you can’t own your mistakes, that makes your successes less meaningful.

“We’ve all overpriced a house, and if you say you haven’t, you’re either a vendor or a liar,” Brown quipped. “But we don’t want to say that because we don’t want to get uncomfortable, do we? … You’re going to have as many fans as you do enemies, so you might as well be honest with people.”

Brown turned the mirror on the audience, forcing practitioners to take a look at themselves and calling out those who act like “eighth-grade mean girls.” She encouraged less shaming of those who mess up and to spend that energy reaching out with a helping hand to someone you see who is in need. “I’m the first one to admit we have a bunch of jacklegs in real estate, but what happened to showing a little bit of grace to each other?” Brown said. “Do you take the time to reach out to somebody around you to help make them better?”

It’s worth examining why the expectation is so high to appear in control and at the top of your game, not just to change how we treat each other but also to appear more authentic to consumers. “Wanna know why consumers don’t trust us? Because we brag about how much money we make and tell them lies about their properties to make things look good,” Brown said.

Tough words for sure, but does she have a point?

Graham Wood

Graham Wood is a senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at gwood@realtors.org.

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