I currently have one DVD at my house, The Karate Kid. I think the other 100 DVD's I own were left behind at my brother's house when I moved to Michigan. One trip back to WA I grabbed my 10 or 12 favorites to bring back with me, but they ended up at my in-laws lake house.
No matter what I do, it seems that I always end up with only that one movie here. I've forgotten to take a few RedBox videos back, for which I've been charged $500 (or something ridiculously more than their replacement cost) and yet none of those seem to be around the house anywhere.
Don't feel bad for me, my wife and I usually fall asleep to something from Netflix, which we watch through the X-Box. However, on occassion, for a variety of reasons, we will end up going to bed without the X-Box in the bedroom and it's always The Karate Kid that I throw on...........because, well, it's the only movie here, remember?
(I know, it's probably not the best idea tha I have to have something on TV to fall asleep......just too much activity in my brain, it has be quieted at some point)
Last night, when Christa had drifted off to sleep, I decided I have watched The Karate Kid at least 100 times and that I was going to figure out what lessons a real estate agent could learn from this movie. So here goes..........(hopefully this will come out on the keyboard as cool as it was in my head last night)
Find a Mentor
I think there are a ton of things that the real estate industry could do to have a better image. We routinely rank near the bottom whenever some firm decides to poll random folks about their perception of professionalism. If you are a brand new agent, what are your options for learning the business? You have the same options that Daniel had trying to learn karate. You could read it in a book, you could take lessons at the local Y, you could seek out a school or class.......or you could find a mentor.
The opportunities to mentor under someone that knows the business are certainly out there. I doubt it's going to be your maintenance man at your apartment complex, like it was for Daniel, but someone in your market has so much business they can't keep up with it all, I promise you. Some companies offer a team structure where you have the support not only of your broker, but also of your team leader. Daniel was getting his butt kicked all over San Fernando Valley until he found his mentor.
Most people will jump into real estate on their own versus joining a team or working under a mentor because they don't want to give up any commission. In the long run, having a mentor is going to result in a lot more commission because you'll learn to do the right things early on instead of having to learn them on the fly (while potentially missing out on additional commissions that wouldn't be available without your mentor). Success breeds success. In some industries you have to apprentice before they will let you anywhere near the clients on your own. We should be doing the same thing in this industry.
"No Such Thing as Bad Student, Only Bad Teacher"
Mr. Miyagi says this after Daniel tells him that the teacher at the Cobra Kai Dojo is teaching his students to use karate for more than just self defense (I've literally seen this movie a 100 times and the teachers name is slipping my mind....do they say it in the first movie, or not until the second? or maybe not ever?). In this industry there are no shortage of ways to get more business. Around every corner and behind many web links are the answers to your prayers, how to earn more business. If I have one piece of advice for anyone considering paying to learn something in this industry, it would be: consider the success of the source.
Can someone really teach you to how to convert web leads into real estate transactions if they've never done it themselves? Can they show you how to be a great agent if they've never been one? Maybe the answer is yes. In fact, I'm sure the answer is yes. There are people that can teach you how to do it without never having done it themselves. But if they've done it themselves using what they are teaching you, you know it works. If they've never done it......you might want to check with their past clients. Those people are going to give you the straight answer on whether or not it was worth what they paid. I'll bet you someone has even written a blog post on ActiveRain about the class, product, company that you are thinking about working with. Do your due diligence. You can waste a lot of money in this business in the name of 'getting more business'.
(I should add, the saying above is not actually completely true. There are bad students. If someone takes the time to teach you something and you choose to do nothing with it, that would make you a bad student. Save yourself the time and money if you never intend to use what you learn.....)
Perfect the Basics
I promise you, Daniel was in no way interested in waxing Mr. Miyagi's cars, painting his fence and sanding his floors. Those scenes, in a movie today, would have people calling in CPS and the labor police (is there such a thing? I think there is). "Paint the fence", "wax on, wax off", "sand the floor". Of course, Daniel didn't know it at the time, but Mr. Miyagi was really teaching him the fundamentals of karate. He couldn't be expected to learn how to punch of kick until he knew the basics.
(by the way, if there are any karate experts out there, I have no idea if those scenes are accurate in terms of teaching you the basics of karate, but let's just pretend they are. I took two karate classes when I was about 8 and threw in the towel after my teacher made me do knuckle push ups. Yep, just like the the Cobra Kai had to do when they got out of line).
In real estate, there are some basics. Some things you are going to need to understand in order to be successful. Lead generation, time management, understanding contracts and addendums and a bunch of other things are fundamental to being successful in real estate. Some of these things you never stop perfecting. I'll bet Daniel Larusa (if he were real) would still be incorporating those basic techniques in his training every day. Even if you understand that generating leads is paramount for your business, you can still continue to perfect how you do it.
Develop a 'Go-to' Move
In tournament karate it would be called a finishing move. In real estate we'd call it a niche.
Ahhh, the crane kick. Emulated by kids the world over, at least if you grew up when I did. If you are between 30-40 and a male and you claim to have never tried to do the crane kick at least once, then we have absolutely nothing in common, not one single thing. This is the all time greatest finishing move. Sure, WWF wrestllng (now called WWE, but I'm sticking with what it was called when I watched as a.......oh, who cares when I stopped watching?) has a few signature moves, the Hulk Hogan leg drop, Macho Man Randy Savage off the top rope with an elbow, but none as emulated as the crane kick.
In real estate, this would be developing a niche. Daniel didn't need to learn every karate move in the book. Just like you don't need to sell houses to every single person capable of buying in your market. Daniel (through his mentor, Mr. Miyagi) knew that if he could perfect one finishing move, it would be unstoppable. If you were the only person in your market to sell homes to single moms, you could be unstoppable. If you were the only person in your market to sell homes on the golf course, you could become unstoppable. Find a niche. Just do it. What do you like about the business? Who have you dealt with in the past that made you walk away thinking 'wow, I would love to work with people just like that every time'?
My wife has found a nice little niche with selling homes to residents moving in to start their residency at the University of Michigan hospital and Mott's Children's Hospital here in Ann Arbor. It's not the only thing she does, but it's a niche that has served her very well in the last few years. She can count on that niche to get her business. A few other folks around here work in this same niche, but we're going to crane kick them to the sidelines in no time (if anyone reading this sells homes to residents in Ann Arbor, it stinks to be you.......find another niche).
I'm certain I had some more analogies last night........maybe I'll watch it again tonight and remember............