Frederik Eklund (star of Million Dollar Listing New York), The Sell – The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone, one of the chapters I liked – No 2. Quotes from Frederik Eklund’s book.
Know what fuels your fire. Clarify what makes you work.
When friend suggested I try real estate, I could see how it agreed with my big personality, as well as with my people and business skills. I applied to NYU’s real-estate-salesperson program and enrolled in the two-week accelerated class. After passing the school test and then the Department of State test I searched Craiglist.org for anyone who would hire me. I found a small boutique firm in Chelsea called JC DeNiro, which was founded by Robert De Niro’s uncle Jack. I went in and met with him and confidently assured him I was going to break the office sales records. He must have believed me. He gave me a desk. The JC DeNiro office had a nice, downtown New York personality, but it was small. It couldn’t have been more than seven hundred square feet, and every desk was different, as thought they’d been found one at a time on sale or off the street. Every morning I walked to work in my ratty sneakers, wearing one of the few dress shirts I owned. (Selling panini for forty dollars a day hadn’t allowed me to splurge on my wardrobe!)
I was always the first to arrive. I’d settle into my desk, which was way too low and small for my long legs, and read listings – thousands of listings – and listen as the other four salespeople talked to their clients and negotiated deals. I’m not sure whether they looked at me as the tall guy with the weird accent or as competition, but one thing was certain: No one was really interested in helping me. We were all working on commission, not salary and that ha a way of pitting people against one another, encouraging them to constantly focus on the sale.
One afternoon, a few weeks into my job, I saw an older gentleman outside peering in the storefront window. He was in his late sixties, looking a little confused. Inmost retail real estate offices, as with other sales organisations like car dealerships, there’s a system called ‘having the floor’, which is a rotation for first dibs on walk-in clients. Each salesperson is allotted a time during which any walk-in becomes his customer. Skit a det! I thought. Screw the system! I need a client. I need to succeed. My floor time wasn’t until Sunday. So, I made the street my floor. The world was my floor. Outside the door that man didn’t belong to anyone.
I opened the door and stepped onto the sidewalk. ‘Hi’, I said. “What can I do for you?’
‘Oh’, he mumbled, ‘, um…’
‘Do you live in the neighbourhood? I asked, turning on my charm. Yes, he answered. I live around the corner at West Twentieth Street, and I’ve been wondering how much my apartment may be —‘
I leaped into action and finished the sentence for him. “Worth? I’ll tell you. Let’s go see it’. My well-worn sneakers were already walking toward the corner. I turned back to look at him and gestured for him to follow me. He followed. It seems counter-intuitive, but a good seller knows that people want to be told what to do, as long as you are smiling when you give them the orders. You have to be decisive for them: I’ll give you my pinion right now. You want my opinion. I don’t think he had ever really thought of selling. He was just fishing for potential pricing, or maybe taking a break perusing the listings in our window. I basically pushed myself into the apartment, like I did when I was a seven year-old selling Christmas calendars. […] I didn’t tell Mr Potential Seller I’d never sold real estate. I didn’t let him see that I was nervous, paddling like crazy under the surface. I gave him no time to consider even momentarily that there might be other salespeople in New York. I concentrated on me: my energy, my great personality, and the way I carried myself and spoke. […]
Alessandra — yes he sold it, but you need to get the book to ready the full story 🙂 Continued by Frederik Eklund:
My client loved me. My buyer loved me (….) I even loved me. I felt New York loved me. And my date the night my first contract was signed loved me, too, because I took us to m favourite Mexican restaurant on Forty-Second Street (they gave unlimited free chips and salsa) to celebrate. I will never forget that first commission check of $16,000. I thought to myself, What an obscene amount of money for something this fun. […]
But although my ship had set sail, it was small and the ocean of New York real estate knowledge seemed deep and endless. I had so much to learn, and I was honestly scared and alone. And my mom kept writing to say, ‘We miss you’. So, what kept me going? The answer takes me back to my childhood in Sweden. Growing up, people told me I shouldn’t think I was better than anybody else. It’s the Swedish way to be. […] According the the Law of Jante, you are not supposed to think you are anything special. […] In my later teens, I though my ego was a curse, something I had to work on. But I couldn’t. I wanted to be the best. It wasn’t enough to be in a school play; I had to get the lead role. Over time I accepted my competitive spirit and need for attention as a part of who I am, and I realised that both were integral to my personality.hey’re what makes me. I could feel guilty and try to deny those parts of myself, or I could make them work for me. […] I wasn’t going to wait for anyone’s permission to succeed. My obsession to be the best was the wind behind my sails (and sales).
NOW, LET’S FIGURE OUT WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO SHINE AT WORK (sill quoting Frederik Eklund!)
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be one o those zombies working for fifty years so that I can then retire and enjoy my life. I want to love my life (and my work) and everyone in it now, not tomorrow or after it’s over . I want the world to be my lover now, not only when I’m sixty-five years old sitting on a cruise ship.
Regardless of what you do for living, if you want to be amazing at it, you need to know what inspires you to do it. Simply put, if you want to be successful, you need a clear picture of what fulfils you. What high-kicks you into gear? What lights your fire? I want you to be able to answer that question in a split second. If I wake you up in the middle of the night and shake you, I want you to scream out precisely what drives you. What are you working hard for? That’s what will ultimately make your life rich and happy.
Big goals can’t be accomplished overnight. What are the little steps you must take to get there? Which action can you take today that will move you toward your dream? Nothing is all that hard when broken down into small, achievable tasks. There are times, of course, along the way when I’ve considered giving up, when I’ve thought, I can’t go any further. I can’t do anymore. I’ve plateaued or reached m limit. The only way from here is down. I’m not going to make my goal. I think we all have those moments in which the climb seems too hard, the clouds too dark and we feel so disappointed in our circumstances we just want to go to bed and cry. This is when it’s important to keep the finish line in mind – to see it, or rather to see yourself running over it. The minute you think of giving up, or dropping out of the race, close your eyes and see yourself running across that finish line.
Thanks to Frederik Eklund for writing so many good stories in his book! By the way my dress has loads of glitter on it, can you see it? It’s a moonlight dress 🙂