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Few words can make a business owner’s hackles raise up quicker than “ego.” As a real estate agent, you have to believe the service you’re providing is second to none, but when pride crosses the line into arrogance, your business can suffer.

Has your ego begun to outshine your talent — or worse, your clients? Here are a few questions that might help you find your answer.

Have You Stopped Listening?

Generally speaking, our egos tend to inflate at the same rate as our sales numbers. The more properties we close, the more confident we are in our skills. That’s only natural, but assuming you’re above everyone else in your industry is a dangerous premise. There will always be someone who has a better rapport with a demographic you wish you could connect with, or someone who stages with more finesse than you do. By forcing yourself to periodically take a backseat, close your mouth and open your ears, you’ll pick up tips that your ego might otherwise block out. Take it one step further by practicing techniques like active listening, which helps you retain what you’ve heard and foster mutual understanding in the process.

 

Do You Often Find Yourself Playing Defense?

 When someone questions your business practices or marketing strategy, do you offer a thoughtful response or an angry retort? It’s one thing to have faith in your methods, but using a colleague’s or client’s questions as a teachable moment, rather than an interrogation gives you an opportunity for reevaluation and reflection. Not all clients are created the same; by understanding how other people might tackle the problems you’ve faced or getting tips on real estate marketing in the digital age, you’re expanding your toolkit, rather than aggressively protecting the couple hammers you already have.

 

Have You All but Abandoned Continuing Education?

When was the last time you attended a real estate conference or sat in on a business webinar — not counting the ones you hosted? Being at the top of your game — or at least thinking you are — comes at a price. By distancing yourself from current trends and up-and-coming agents, you risk missing out on emerging trends and isolating yourself from anyone except your already-established client list. Schedule one educational experience per month, listen to podcasts when you’re touring houses on your own or commuting across town, and set up a Google alert for topics related to real estate, your community and business in general.

 

Is Your Work-Life Balance out of Whack?

 Ambition and ego often go hand in hand. In some industries, focusing purely on professional success might work, but in real estate, becoming a living catalog of housing comps and market projections isn’t enough. Go out to eat, see a movie, check out the new water park across town, take a weekly ride on the bath path — all of these experiences give you valuable insight into the same quality-of-life concerns your clients have. Projecting your authority is great, but being relatable is powerful.

Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell once advised, “Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.” Being proud of what you’ve achieved and separating that self-regard from your professional status is not only important, it might also be what stands between you and progress.