Deal Killer: the Unknown

Let me tell you a little story.  The subject of this story was a college athlete.  Specifically, he was a swimmer, and a darn good one at that.  He and his relay team had won a lot of competitions and accolades, and they made it all the way to the Olympic trials . . .  only to miss making the summer games by .07 seconds.  A sneeze lasts longer than that.

Because of his unique set of skills, he has been hired by the United States government to train Navy SEALs in endurance swimming.  Most of his training takes place in San Diego where the Pacific waters are rather chilly.

Unlike some of the PE coaches I had back in high school who “trained” me in physical fitness but hadn’t run or done anything physical since the Nixon administration, this SEAL trainer does everything he requires of his students.  When they swim five miles in the open ocean, he swims five miles with them.  When they swim at night, he swims with them.  And each time he does this, he beats them.  (I mean he reaches the end of the swim before they do; he doesn’t take a large stick and start whacking them with it.)

The average age of someone going through the SEAL training is early/mid 20s.  Our intrepid instructor is 51 years old.  (You didn’t see that one coming, did you?) Recently, someone asked him how he’ll know when it’s time to throw in the towel (or wrap up in a towel and stay on the beach), and his answer was simple and succinct: “when one of them beats me.”  He went on to explain that there’s one major factor he has playing in his favor that gives him an edge over  these “boys” who weren’t even born when he was vying for a spot in the Olympics: the unknown.

When they start their five-, seven-, or ten-mile swim, he knows all the checkpoints and markers that tell him how far he’s gone and how far he has to go; the students have no idea.  Further, the unknown plays into the students’ heads.  Are there sharks out there?  When do they get to eat next?  When will they be able to take a rest?  Our instructor doesn’t have any of these questions bouncing around in his head; he can focus solely on the task at hand.

We, as real estate and mortgage professionals, are very similar to this instructor (or we should be): we know the checkpoints and the markers.  The difference, of course, is that we’re not training Navy SEALs; we’re helping people realize their dreams, build their portfolios, and giving them peace of mind. This means we should let absolutely nothing unknown linger in our clients’ heads.  If it means taking an extra five minutes to ask and answer a few more questions to assure our clients are fully apprised of what’s next and what’s coming up, they won’t lose their energy or resolve before we get them to the finish line.

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