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What Sam Altman can teach you about being a better real estate agent

"If you have to choose one characteristic as the most important for a startup founder, I would choose determination. Determination is more important than brilliance," - Sam Altman

Just this weekend, I stumbled upon a thoughtful essay Sam Altman penned around five years ago.

In 2023, for many of us, Sam Altman has transformed from a ‘name we might have heard in passing’ to somewhat more of a ‘household name’.

After all, he stands as the co-founder of both OpenAI and ChatGPT - and I still think 2023 will be remembered as the year that AI went mainstream thanks to ChatGPT.

And although you could count him as successful even back then (his fingerprints are detectable in companies like Airbnb, Stripe, and Reddit), it’s nice to look back at someone’s previous work to see what they were thinking and how they were inspired to achieve those sorts of heights.

You can read the full essay here - which is a pretty decent read and has inspired today’s prompt of the day.

Prompt of the day

Can you please summarise this into actionable advice for a real estate professional [paste article]

or if you have ChatGPT4, you can use the Web pilot plugin and use this prompt instead:

Can you please summarise this into actionable advice for a real estate professional https://blog.samaltman.com/how-to-be-successful

Let's establish from the outset that Sam Altman operates on a level of success that we can only all aspire to, and I wanted to make that clear before I delve into the results below.

What I’m going to do is take the insights ChatGPT derived from the second prompt, ‘real estate spin’, and add my take - just to give you all a sprinkle of personal touch, sharing extra nuggets of wisdom from others, plus tips and links that could be useful to you.

So, without further ado, let's get started:

Absolutely, I can help summarise the article "How to Be Successful" by Sam Altman into actionable advice for a real estate professional. The article covers a lot of ground, so let's focus on the key points that would be most beneficial for someone in the real estate industry.

How to Be Successful: Actionable Advice for Real Estate Professionals

1. Compound Yourself

  • Real Estate Spin: Develop and hone your skills continuously; small improvements accumulate over time.

  • My take: 100% agree. I’ve seen it heaps over the past ten years with many of the top performers we’ve interviewed - you don’t have to be great in one big leap; things add up over time. This goes for any career, not just real estate.

2. Have Almost Too Much Self-Belief

  • Real Estate Spin: Be confident in your abilities and services, even when facing rejections.

  • My take: Don’t wait to be confident; keep showing up until you are confident. Experience makes you confident.

3. Learn to Think Independently

  • Real Estate Spin: Form your unique strategies and perspectives; don't just follow the industry norms blindly.

  • My take: 

In an industry where innovative thinking is often stifled by platitudes like “success leaves clues”, one of my hopes in keeping this blog fresh is that everyone will open their minds to the future and be more curious.

4. Get Good at “Sales”

  • Real Estate Spin: Enhance your selling techniques, understand your client’s needs, and be persuasive in a genuine way.

  • My take: It depends on your definition of ‘selling techniques’. But instead of trying to put selling techniques in a box, I recommend checking out Bob Moesta’s Demand Side Sales 101. Nobody likes being sold to, but they do like to say yes to people who help them ‘solve their struggles’. Bonus: Here is a prompt to help you understand your client’s struggles.

5. Make it Easy to Take Risks

  • Real Estate Spin: Don’t be afraid to try new marketing strategies or technologies (like AI) to stand out in the market.

  • My take: a) As much as I love AI, it would need to depend on the type of client I’m dealing with. For example, if you’re dealing with a Driver or Influencer type, this might be a good strategy. (Analysts and Amiables might not want to take risks !)b) If a) is true, I definitely would be providing listing description options for different buyer types with ChatGPTs help, and maybe creating a wow moment with a flythrough (see yesterday’s post)

6. Focus

  • Real Estate Spin: Concentrate on tasks with the highest impact on reaching your real estate goals.

  • My take: We know this is what people in the industry call dollar-productive activity. You can’t get away from this, my friends, but you can use AI to create more time and space for dollar-productive activity. See the spend/save equation at the bottom of this post.

7. Work Hard

  • Real Estate Spin: Put in the effort to understand the market for your clients, and be the best at what you do.

  • My take: I’d be more inclined to say ‘work smart’. Again, use AI to free up some time from mundane jobs and use it to provide value like a market update that nobody else can. It's not a rehash of something the portals do. Something that is unique to your market that your customer can only get from you.

8. Be Bold

  • Real Estate Spin: Don’t hesitate to take big steps forward when opportunities present themselves, whether in terms of innovative services or marketing approaches.

  • My take: Adopt a playful approach to all the new tools you have at your disposal. Not all of them will work, but you might get left behind if you don’t try. Also, I kind of remember something TV presenter Shelley Horton said to me in the early days of Elite Agent, “Bite off more than you can chew and chew like f….” Also, do that video, and all the videos. Refer to point 2.

9. Be Willing to Be Misunderstood

  • Real Estate Spin: When you are innovative, not everyone will get it at first. Stick to your vision.

  • My take: Test small, then scale.

10. Don’t Give Up

  • Real Estate Spin: The real estate market can be tough. Persistency and resilience will be your allies.

  • My take: Feedback is a gift, even if it’s not the feedback you wanted. Maybe it’s the feedback you needed.

11. Build a Great Team

  • Real Estate Spin: Surround yourself with a team that complements your skills and supports your vision.

  • My take: I’ve interviewed many people who will testify that hiring based on who you like is a bad idea, especially when hiring people who are like you. You don’t need to clone yourself. Richmond FC could not have handled a whole team of Jamie Tartt’s or Roy Kent’s. Yes, they are both superstars, but can you imagine the egos?

12. You Get Rich by Owning Things

  • Real Estate Spin: Focus on building assets, whether that's a great team, exclusive listings, or a powerful personal brand.

  • My take: I’ll let the world’s most recognisable agent brand, Ryan Serhant, speak for himself.

13. Be internally driven

  • Real Estate Spin: Your motivation should come from within, not just based on external validations or commissions.

  • My take: I’ve heard time and time again that things like the market are like the weather, and you simply have to gear up accordingly.

Happy Hunting 🚀