Monday, February 05, 2007

Stay In Shape...(and keep your cool)

I am not without my own personal demons and shortcomings mind you, so I think I can speak freely. I never was a supermodel or even a regular model (well, maybe a role model but quite possibly only to, in the words of a former coach, serve as a 'bad example') but when I knew that all eyes were upon me, I made certain to clean up real good and bring my best game. And when it became 100% evident that a career in professional sports, film acting, or music were off the table for good, I did what many Liberal Arts majors with advanced degrees do---I entered the arena of Professional Sales instead.

After 25 continuous years without a guaranteed salary I can say with great certainty that, although not as glamorous, Sales is indeed a profession. And while it may not be the 'oldest profession' I would guess that it provided at least some of the 'start up captial' for the latter back in the original day. And for those of us who continue down this more 'reputable path' of the former, it is to be sure, equal parts Art and Science.

I try and call my parents back East at least once a week if for no other reason than to hear their voices and find out about the traffic and the weather in Chalfont, PA. Even though they are both fast approaching 80 years on this Earth (and I myself, am on the north side of 50) they still worry about me. They think I should have become a teacher in a nice school district or taken the Civil Servants exam back when I still had a full life ahead of me. My father worries that I may never sell a house again (thank you media) and my mother would not mind it a bit if I were to move back in with them, wife and all. So you can understand why I don't mind talking jet streams, wind chill and gridlock during these weekly chats. I remind them that I consistently strive to produce a million or two a month in volume even during the slower cycles but this apparently is no consolation to my parents. They love me and wish I had a regular salary. Thank God I finally met a 'nice girl.'

An old mentor of mine once whispered in my ear as I was about to pick up the phone to set my first sales appointment back in the 1980s, "Some sales people have 20 years experience. Some have the same one year experience, 20 times. Stay in shape and keep developing. Don't keep repeating your first year over and over. And lose the 'Sales Talk.' It's a Profession, not a car lot..." or something like that. Oh yeah, "...and keep your cool. The best Sales Professionals are very cool."

I made $30,000 that first year and won a company trip to someplace in West Virginia. (Then they made me a Manager and I took my first pay cut.) I figured if I couldn't be a running back for the Steelers, or act in a Scorsese film, or play guitar in a 1970's rock band (I went bald at a young age), then I was left only with Teaching, Civil Service, or Sales as possible career paths. (The Priesthood had been ruled out years earlier for all the obvious reasons). So I did what any 'Boomer' era, middle class, first born male would do---I went against my parents' wishes and chose Sales. Option three.

Today this translates into Professional Realtor and although it occasionally pains me to hear what 'new' sales ideas come out of the 'mouths of babes,' I'm always a little tickled when I watch a young agent try and make his or her own way in this business and am silently delighted when I see one of them succeed. Their enthusiasm reminds me to 'stay in shape' and, (since one never knows when a camera might pointed one's way) 'keep cool.' As our business moves more and more towards consumer transparency, the Professional Realtor can ill afford to be caught in an unflattering light. I've witnessed it on occasion and believe me folks... it ain't pretty. It's like catching the worst moments of a very bad day in the afore mentioned 'first year,' for the twentieth time,... on film.

tyra banks photos lifted from my refrigerator door...

Geno Petro

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