In Praise of The Ordinary Realtor.

In Praise of The Ordinary Realtor.

In praise of the ordinary realtor.


Doesn't always make us happy.

Setting those goals and hustling for our worth is ingrained into every estate agent/realtor.

It can bring the flash car. The swanky loft apartment.  Even the matching lifestyle. Put forward as the best example of the millionaire mindset realtor.

Yet, achievement alone can only take you so far. There's plenty of examples of successful people, from all walks of life, who weren't fulfilled, or happy.

We truly discover this when tragedy happens. When there's a sudden loss, or illness with someone close, we long for ordinary.

The meals together. The walks in the park. The conversations. The hugs and smiles. The material things pale into insignificance.

"We chase extraordinary moments instead of being grateful for ordinary moments, until hard shit happens. And then, in the face of really hard stuff, the only thing we're begging for is a normal moment."  - Brené Brown, Research Professor at University of Houston.

But an ordinary estate agent? Mostly, we long for such.

Competent, of course, but not one for the Award Ceremonies. Not one prepared to compromise values for possessions. There are 'better agents', when 'better' refers to number of homes sold, or number of branches, or any number of arbitrary measures.

But vendors aren't looking for 'better'. They're looking for trust and that can more often be found in ordinary, rather than 'better.'

Mostly, people like us trust people like us. We trust people based on hints they give us in their vocal tones, in the stands they take on irrelevant points of view.

That polished and perfected agent who boasts, or promises? The agent who is at pains to point out how extraordinary he believes himself to be? We smile and make a mental note to politely decline.

"We still have this primitive cognition. We think in tribal stories. It's our original sin. whenever we sense the status of our tribe is threatened by that moment, the storytelling brain enters a state of war. It assigns the opposing group purely selfish motives.  It hears their most powerful argument in a particular mode of spiteful lawyerliness, seeking to misrepresent or discard what they have to say.  It uses the most appalling transgressions of their very worst members to smear them all.  It takes its individuals and erases their depth and diversity. It tuns them into outlines; morphs their tribe into a herd of silhouettes." 

- Will Storr, The Science of Story Telling.

The dichotomy facing the ordinary agent is how to distance themselves from the self-proclaimed 'extraordinary'.

"It uses the most appalling transgressions of their worst members to smear them all."  Estate agents - aren't they all out to sell us something, or to take advantage of our naive innocence?

Every agency - by association, tarred with that same brush.

They might try to portray themselves as a local property expert.

The digital mayor.

The most visible with high profile ads and digital billboards.

But unless we uncover who they truly are, what values and beliefs they hold, they will remain - just another estate agent/realtor.

There's really only one thing that sets apart, the ordinary from the self-proclaimed 'extraordinary'.

Personal Brand.

Delivered through story.

"All the principles of storytelling combine into the art of dialogue. Dialogue should be changeful, it should want something, it should drip with personality and point of view, and it should operate on two story levels - conscious and subconscious It can give us clues about everything we need to know about the character: who they are, what they want, where they're going, where they've been, their social background, their personality, their values, their sense of status, the tension between their true self and the false front they're presenting..."  Will Storr.

Personal brand?

Isn't that just narcissistic posturing?

Here's what Dr. Brené Brown, had to say on narcissism.

"Narcissism is the most shame-based of all the personality disorders. Narcissism is not about self-love at all. It's about grandiosity, driven by high performance and self-hatred. I define it as the shame-based fear of being ordinary."

Isn't that the millionaire realtor?

High performance, married to the shame-based fear of being ordinary.

Unable to conceptualize that being ordinary is far more attractive than being best. Overwhelmingly supported in such beliefs by those that would profit from that belief.

"You want better. I can show you better - at a price. Use this script, follow these routines and I WILL hold you accountable."

Ordinary is so much more.....oh, I don't know, authentic?

That's half the problem agents face.

9 Telltale signs You're dealing With an Inauthentic Person.

  • Are generally full of themselves.
  • Are manipulative and judgmental.
  • Don't express their emotions freely and clearly.
  • Aren't interested in learning from their mistakes.
  • Have unrealistic perceptions.
  • Are attention getters and people pleasers.
  • Have  hostile sense of humor.
  • Lack consistency.
  • Insulate themselves in their own clique.

Source: Deep Patel, VIP Contributor

We are highly attuned to those that appear inauthentic.

Much more so when they won't take No for an answer.

Personal brand, however, demands such authenticity.

Not the attention-seeking individuals that grace the pages of YouTube and LinkedIn with their swagger and bombast.

Authenticity, demonstrated in our beliefs and values. Backed up with accordant dialogue over time. The genuine article.

Story is one of the most effective ways of demonstrating, through dialogue, that authenticity. "It should drip with personality and point of view." as Will Storr suggests.

When did we last see that in a realtor/estate agent? One agent comes immediately to mind, but precious few after that.

Most hide their personality and point of view behind a mask.

The mask that indicates they have something to hide.

"Make no mistake, unlocking performance is one thing. Unlocking people - way harder."  -Brené Brown

If real estate truly is a people business and relationships are what drives that business, how much more effective would it be for any agent to demonstrate their character over their competence?

It is way harder. Most aren't up for it.

It requires vulnerability. It requires courage. It requires honesty and truth.

Estate agency, if it is to survive though, has to change. 

Transparency is the fundament of trust.


Through personal brand and story.

Not through being better, but by being different.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

If you have any questions, or comments, just drop me a line. Whether you agree, or think this the ramblings of a naive innocent, I'd love to hear from you. 

p.s. If you'd like to be notified whenever I post an article, there's a form on the home page. No sales calls, no follow-ups, nothing other than a notification.











Chris Arnold

Stories that inspire; words that persuade. Peeling back the layers on Who you are, rather than What you do. Personal Branding for those with the courage to be transparent.

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