Scott’s Thoughts: Nice Guys Don’t Finish Last

“Contrary to the cliche, genuinely nice guys most often finish first or very near it.”

Malcolm S. Forbes (1919-1990); publisher

Finishing first!Real estate, like most business, uses quite a bit of aggressive, negative language. For an industry which espouses to fulfill dreams and serve communities, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to “dominate” the market, “crush” the competition, and “target” new prospects. You’d think we were engaged in a full-scale war to listen to some of us talk.

The more cynical among us might smile and shake our heads and say, “That’s the nature of business. If you don’t have a killer instinct, you’ll never survive in this market.” But is this true? Can we, on one hand, talk of service and honesty and ethical representation, while on the other we sharpen our knives? You may say “it’s just language,” but as we know… words become thoughts, become actions…

I don’t think real estate is a zero-sum game. We do not necessarily lose when others win. Only in the shortest of the short-run is this true, and only agents without long-term thinking work this way. If you look at the most respected agents and brokers, you’ll find long careers of collaboration and a bias to help, rather than hurt, colleagues in the field.

As the market improves (and we’re already seeing this all over the country, based on orders for new signs and other early indicators), we’re going to see the return of fair-weather agents who flock to real estate when things are a little less lean. Some will come into the game with an eye on working all the angles, regardless of the long view.

I implore you to model right action, collaboration, mentorship, and good faith. Do not be tempted to mislead newbies, frustrate their efforts, or sink to “bottom feeder” tactics to win listings and close deals. Most of the readers of this newsletter have survived a truly toxic market, and you have hard won experience. Do not hoard it. Help and you will be helped.

Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician and Nobel Peace Prize winner once said: “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”

Put aside the crushing, dominating, and targeting. Don’t buy into the old myths of “business is war.” Nice guys (and gals) don’t finish last. In the market to come, they’re going to finish first… with the respect of their peers.

Photo credit: familymwr

Here’s to your continued success,

Scott Levitt

Scott Levitt
President, Oakley Signs & Graphics

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