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A Crisis of Confidence

Jason O'Neil

By Jason O’Neil

I believe that we as a country, a world, and a species are suffering a crisis of confidence. I know, that’s a bold statement. But the magnitude in which our world has changed over the past 25 years is nothing short of overwhelming.

Confidence used to be something that was a part of our fiber, woven into everything we did. People not only had confidence, but they instilled confidence in others. Confidence was derived from neighborhoods, communities, religions, political parties, long standing jobs, and pensions. But many of these have been derailed and forced, even the most ardent of supporters, to question some very core tenets. Rightfully so, skepticism tends to be the norm.

I have heard it said, and I believe, that confidence is the single greatest asset one can have. Do not confuse my use of confidence with overconfidence, arrogance, conceitedness, or big-headedness, because it is not. Confidence is what gives us the ability to do what it is we are good at. Without a bit of confidence the world would never have heard The Beatles., we would not know the name Bill Gates, and Phil Mickelson would be a really good country club player. It is scary to raise your hand, to stick your head out and make progress. It is confidence that moves us forward step by step.

But confidence, the type of confidence I am talking about, isn’t just results and dollar signs, or awards and progress. It is the way we make people feel. I’ll go further, it is what we bring — our passion. It is the value that we, as REALTORS®, add to a transaction, a deal, a negotiation. Jim Collins wrote, “Genuine confidence is what launches you out of bed in the morning, and through your day with a spring in your step.” We are, in fact, handling the transfer of a exceptionally large assets. While easy to forget, it’s important to remember that the average person will move every six to nine years. Extrapolated over a lifetime, the average person will sell maybe seven homes. Many of you reading this sell that many homes in a given month. The last time that the average seller in 2012 sold a home, nine years ago, the real estate market was drastically different than it is today. Zillow, Trulia, REALTOR.com and Red Fin did not exist, computer-based forms were in their infancy, and not everyone e-mailed.

It is important to remember that though we sell homes, it’s not all we do. We help people move and alter their lives. We are not just finding an affordable place with a fourth bedroom, we are giving them a larger home where friends and family can come visit, spend time and build relationships. I say it’s important to remember because moments and stories like these are what we can use to draw upon when we question our own confidence. Rough patches are going to happen, but it is our experiences that pilot our way through them. Frankly, I believe that the more challenges an agent has been through, the more competent and confident in their ability they are.

The National Association of REALTORS® asks thousands of seller’s every year to rate, “What Seller’s Most Want from Real Estate Agents.” The choices:

  • Help seller market home to potential buyers
  • Help price home competitively
  • Help sell the home within a specific time-frame
  • Help find a buyer for home
  • Help seller find ways to fix up home to sell it for more
  • Help with negations and dealing with buyers
  • Help with paperwork/inspections/preparing for settlement

What this says to me is confidence, plain and simple. You could replace “Help” with “Provide Confidence to” and the meaning would not change. The public looks to us for confidence, confidence to sell their home and confidence to know that we, as an industry and as individual agents, will go to work and get the job done.

I mentioned how different our industry was nine years ago, but I believe that the changes from nine years ago will pale in comparison to how different it will be nine years from now. The entire world is changing and it can be scary. There are legitimate threats to our industry and the ways we do business. But I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that if you obtain your confidence from within yourself and because of the good you have done and you provide confidence to your clients there is no human or computer program that will ever takeaway your business or your livelihood.

Jason O’Neil is an associate broker with Encore Sotheby’s International Realty in Indianapolis. Connect with him at jasononeilrealtor.com.

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