Real estate is competitive when the market is hot. When the market starts to cool, and things get tough, a healthy level of competition can suddenly turn workplaces into gladiator arenas, where agents have to battle it out for listings and sales.
Competitive environments can be very productive and rewarding for people with the right personalities. But they can also have an intense impact on mental health if winning turns into a point of fixation or contention.
If you love sales, but aren’t enjoying the dialled up competition your office is experiencing as the market changes, these insights may help you feel more calm, comfortable and confident.
We work in a unique industry, where we don’t just compete against agents outside of our offices, often we are also competing internally against colleagues whose names are on the sandwiches next to ours in the company fridge.
It can be easy to underestimate the effect this can have on your ability to enjoy work. When competition is friendly and there is plenty of work to go around, everyone’s sandwiches are safe! But as the market shifts and teams can divide into an ‘every man for himself’ mentality, it’s not unusual to find the fridge door wide open and your sandwich gone!
In real estate, it isn’t enough to just deal with the competition around you, it is important you thrive, and that means excelling at your job, and feeling valued, supported and fulfilled.
You can control the way you can compete, and you can also have a big influence on the nature of competition and the way it plays out and impacts the culture around you.
- Lead by example: compete with integrity
It doesn’t matter whether you are a manager or the most junior sales person in the office, the way you conduct yourself is on you.
When working in a competitive environment, make sure you start by really knowing, understanding and acknowledging your own personal set of values and how they influence how you behave and how you will compete.
Not everyone is governed by the same compass. This doesn’t mean other people aren’t as ‘moral’ as you. It just means people are shaped and conditioned differently. Ultimately what’s important is that you are undeniably comfortable with the choices you make and the actions you take.
Conducting yourself in accordance with your own set of values can help drive your competitive strategy, and it can also reduce stress and anxiety as you don’t spend countless, precious hours after work reviewing your behaviour and wishing you had acted differently.
- Stand out for the right reasons
Thriving in a competitive environment means differentiating yourself from other sales people, both internally and outside the office.
Sometimes, it can be tempting to take the easiest path to do this: promise the most (even if you might not be able to deliver), be the loudest, offer the most gimmicks. But these strategies will catch up to you and when they do, your stress levels will be off the charts!
Stand out by being good at what you do. Offer genuine service, real insights, share your knowledge, be open and honest with clients. Inside the office, do the same — don’t undermine team mates or stab them in the back, always aim to support and inspire.
It may sometimes take longer to stand out for the right reasons, but the results are sustainable and you will build a positive reputation you can easily maintain.
- Don’t be afraid of collaboration
Even in a competitive environment, the old saying ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ can be a philosophy to live by! Remembering you are still part of a team, one player in a larger business, can be a crucial part of any successful strategy in a workplace heavy with competition.
Get to know your colleagues, know what they stand for and who you most identify with and relate to when it comes to values and conduct. As part of the process, invest in knowing their strengths and weaknesses and how you may complement each other.
Use this information to find ways to collaborate with others so you ultimately create an environment that is still competitive, but is underpinned by mutual respect and support. You will achieve bigger results and enjoy coming to work more!
- Be aware of your accomplishments
Knowing what you have achieved and keeping a record of it is of immense value in a competitive environment for two reasons.
Firstly, it can help you convey to a manager, a potential client or a possibly collaborative colleague what you are capable of — it can prove your worth and your value and win you more work.
Secondly, and just as important, it can help you face challenges, with strength and confidence. In a competitive workplace, there are times when you will lose. And sometimes losing will hurt — perhaps a string of losses will make you question your value or abilities.
Keeping track of your accomplishments — and being surrounded by people who are also aware of them and happy to remind you of them — can help you build resilience and cope through challenging times.
- Maintain some balance
When everyone is competing and work is more difficult to come by, it can be easy to forget the clock and spend every waking hour of every day working on your next lead or investigating new ways to identify opportunities.
Burn out is a very real issue in real estate, and in a cooling market, within competitive offices, it becomes more of an issue.
Even if things aren’t going to plan for you right now, take some time to breathe, rest and try to relax. A clear mind can achieve so much more than one that is frustrated and desperate.
Learn to read the signs that indicate things are getting too much for you — because at that point, you won’t be servicing existing clients well, you won’t be pitching to potential clients effectively and you’re likely to make little errors that can become big mistakes.
A competitive workplace can be both a blessing and curse. It can be motivational and it can spur you on so you achieve bigger and better things than you could have imagined. It can also be draining, sucking the life out of you and forcing you to question everything you thought you stood for.
Be careful how you approach winning — always stick to your values, conduct yourself with integrity and show others the respect you would like to be shown.