This Week’s Lesson for Young Brokers: Be Authentic

I turned on my television last night. Since I haven’t reprogrammed the FIOS box, it automatically tunes to FIOS1 whenever I turn it on. Steve Adubato was interviewing Fredrik Eklund, the residential broker who stars on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York.

Eklund was plugging his book, The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone. I wasn’t that interested, but before I could change the channel, Adubato asked him the key to selling anything to anyone. His response was:

Be Authentic.

I then turned on Bill Simmons new HBO show, Any Given Wednesday. One of his guests was Caitlyn Jenner. During the interview, they talked about the Olympics, as well as her life’s journey. The conversation turned to Las Vegas. She explained that in the past, she would travel to Las Vegas with two suitcases because she could walk around, dressed in women’s clothes, and not be recognized. However, it was stressful, changing, putting on nail polish, taking off nail polish, etc.

During her latest trip to Las Vegas, where she had a speaking engagement, she took one suitcase. She got dressed, went to the lobby, took selphies with anyone who asked, and delivered her speech. She felt that her life became easier, more simple, and amazing because she was finally able to…

Be Authentic.

I know a young broker who has had a bit of a hard time early in his career.  He’s a great person, but he can have a dour disposition, maybe the male equivalent of resting bitch face. When his boss asked him to smile more in the office, he did because he values his job. Unfortunately, his boss could tell that the smile was forced, leading to more frustration. He wasn’t being authentic.

I am lucky. I wake up every morning thankful that I have three great kids, a successful career, and so many other great things in my life. However, when I try to be something I am not, it doesn’t work and it doesn’t matter whether it is work related, personal, etc.  

If you are young in your career, you are likely trying to figure out how to win clients. You might think you need to have all of the answers, all of the time. After all, it’s a competitive business and there are senior brokers who have experience, probably chasing the same clients.

Just remember, they will figure out very quickly if you are being inauthentic.

If you ask for help when you need it, rather than faking your way through, your clients will not only respect you for it, but they will be more loyal to you in the long run. Plenty of brokers joke that this business is all about “fake it, till you make it.” However, it’s really about being yourself, knowing what you know and more importantly, what you don’t know, finding the answers and getting your clients the best results possible.

If you try your best and are truly authentic, isn’t that less stressful than trying to be someone you’re not? Even if you have success being inauthentic, isn’t it a lot of work to maintain?

Being authentic will make a difficult business that much easier.