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What Real Estate Agents Can Learn from Legendary NFL Players

Aug 14, 2023

by Steve Shull, Founder & Head Coach


A little over a week ago, the NFL inducted 9 people into its Hall of Fame.

This is a very exclusive group—less than 1.5% of all NFL players and coaches get welcomed onto that stage. The induction ceremony is a powerful moment where they get to publicly reflect on their accomplishments and thank the people who were a part of their journey. The pride, gratitude, and joy is beautiful to watch. 

It made me wonder…how are you going to feel at the end of your career?

Have you ever even thought about it?

Most agents don’t. They’re only thinking about the next deal. They don’t put that deal in the context of the 10, 20, or 30+ years they’ll be in this business.

I can tell you now, the people in the NFL Hall of Fame did not share that short-term mindset. I should know—I played side by side with some of them. They may have come from different places, faced different challenges, and played different roles on their teams, but what they share is an understanding of what it takes to be great.

Greatness is not really about the individual statistics and awards. Those are a byproduct of the perspective and attitude you bring to your work every day. If you want to look back on your career with pride and satisfaction, you have to start aiming for greatness now.

Play the long game.

To achieve greatness, you have to last. It’s easy to close a few deals in a good market, but it’s a lot harder to build a network of trusting, long-term client relationships that will carry you through the tough times. For that, you have to hold yourself accountable to a higher standard than anyone else. No shortcuts, no fibs, no taking the easy way out. 

Be of service to others. 

If you want trust, earn it. Put the interest of your clients and your team first. Be there for them when they need you, ready to do your job to the best of your ability—like Joe Thomas, the new Hall of Fame inductee who played a mind-blowing 10,363 consecutive snaps for the Cleveland Browns. He was there for his team, no matter what. His mantra was, “You can count on me.”

Commit to consistency.

No one gets great at anything by doing it sometimes. You have to practice day in and day out, over and over until it’s hardwired into your brain. That’s as true for your daily CRM calls as it is for a quarterback working on his throwing motion. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and the more skilled you become at navigating tough situations.

Sacrifice bad habits.

To be a great real estate agent, you don’t have to sacrifice your personal life, but you do have to let go of the things that hold you back—things like the illusion of instant gratification. You don’t get to cling to hope, magical thinking, excuses, and rationalizations. You have to deal in reality and leave your bad mental habits behind, comfortable as they may be.

Recognize that you can’t do it alone.

Agents—especially top ones—often try to do everything themselves and take the credit for it all. You can only get so far that way. Greatness is always a team effort, even if your teammates play supporting roles to your lead. Stay humble and show gratitude for their efforts.

So, what are you going to find when you look back on your career? Will you have made a difference? Will you have left a positive wake? Will you be proud of what you accomplished?

The answer can be yes, but only if you recognize NOW that how you do business is more important than how much business you do.

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