“Hey lady! Back off my sh*t.”

I almost said to my mom once. Let’s face it, you can only take so much. Don’t get me wrong, my mom has fully shaped the person I am today. But my parents’ expectations of me have not be easy to live up to. Endless questions and curiosity about anything and everything we do. It took me awhile to stop being defensive towards it. Ok-ok, I still can be. To this day, my mom tells me it is not too late to get into medical school. What is it about doctors and them wanting their kids to be doctors as well? Yes, I was fantastic at diagnosing everyone in the dorms and throughout college. Their illnesses were easy to remedy with the stockpiles of samples my parents supplied. Love you Mom, love you Dad, but sorry guys, no med-school here.

One of our more recent conversations was regarding “Plan B’s.” No, I’m happy to report that neither my sister nor I had to make an emergency run to the pharmacy. We did both come to a crossroads with our jobs. To stay or to go? Naturally here comes the medical school talk again. Ha, just kidding. We got lucky this time. My sister, not prepared for this conversation, quickly changed the topic to inform us that her foundation makeup has been discontinued. How will she ever find such a perfect color? Such a tragedy! Mom wasn’t buying it so back to “What’s Plan B?” To which I responded, “Maybelline?!” Alright, situation diffused. Your welcome Carleen.

Although I escaped a drawn-out interrogation that night, I couldn’t help but dwell on my current situation. Is it just me or are your plans ever changing as well? Regardless of the research and thought you put into some decisions, they don’t always pan out. When I joined a team at my office, I thought how wonderful it will be to have support and camaraderie with an established group. I couldn’t have been more excited. Little did I know, what I had signed up for. For the first time ever, I saw my mom in me. I questioned everything.

Teams in real estate are an interesting thing. I cannot say they are all the same but most will follow the same model. The team leaders pay a gazillion dollars on marketing. The sales associates cold call nonstop for meetings. There are a few agents who run most of the listing meetings. Other agents may cold call as well to bring in what they can. Lastly, you have a transaction coordinator who takes care of the clients and paperwork. I couldn’t get on board with cold calling. I didn’t understand handing off the client to the transaction coordinator and not being involved any further. I wasn’t sure how role playing how to battle objections had anything to do with succeeding. It all felt unnatural and slimy for a process that is so important to anyone undergoing it.

I couldn’t help investigating teams inside and outside our office. The major thing I noticed was the absurd amount of money being paid on marketing for new leads. Why is that? Real estate is a relationship business. After a certain time, a good agent should never have to pay money to find clients. “Top” agents are showcased by their GCI (Gross Commissionable Income). What you don’t see is the hundreds of thousands they spend on marketing to get there. Why do they have to do this? Because they practice lead-based marketing, not relationship-based marketing. Hence, they never get any referrals. They burn through clients because they see them as commission checks. As a result, they’re forced to spend hundreds of thousands to generate a never-ending caravan of new leads.

Now for the real turning point. What kind of service do you think think you’d get from this kind of person? The person who pays for business and then dumps it on someone else to finish. It is a vicious cycle. The person pounding the phone to set the appointment, the client may never meet. The client is then passed to a stressed out transaction coordinator, who might not be licensed, could be part time, and most certainly is not a trained negotiator. How could I not ask questions about my own transactions and clients? You can imagine my surprise when I was told “it is not my job to inquire.” The team’s sole purpose was to bring in the next commission check, nothing in between seemed to matter.

Me, personally? I could never be any of these people.

Plan B was an easy decision to make. I left my team. I vowed to lead my life and business in a way that not only I’d be proud, but others would be proud too. I believe trust can’t be bought. It must be earned. I followed the guru books and scripts to a “T”. Sure, it got me where I needed to be. But that path is a path of desperation and depression. It certainly isn’t a sustainable path– at least not for me.

So my interactions with all of you will be authentic. From the heart. There will be no scripts for me to regurgitate. You can be relieved I won’t be calling and begging for referrals or business. Yep, that means no more “one size fit’s all” market reports or recipe cards (blah). I’m going out on a limb here. Will it work, will people actually read this? I don’t know, but I do know it’ll be authentic, genuine — REAL! And to me, that is liberating. Sound like a DEAL?