Are You an Introvert or Extrovert?
The Oxford dictionary defines extroverts as outgoing and, in contrast, introverts shy and reserved. While this may be a correct characterization for some, psychologist Carl Jung stated it isn’t so much about whether you are social or not, but where you get your energy from to be social. For example, extroverts are invigorated by external sources, like groups of people and new experiences. On the other hand, introverts are revitalized from within and by taking time out.
There are many organizations with online tests to assess your personality and help you understand your strengths and challenges. One site that offers several basic free assessments is truity.com, and you can find others by searching terms like online personality test.
A career in real estate involves daily social interactions, networking, and attending industry events. But not all REALTORS® are social butterflies or interested in being the center of attention. Since socializing can be mentally and physically draining for some introverts, many prefer to connect in other ways.
“Introverts recharge by spending time alone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use learned behaviors to interact with others effectively,” says Tiffany Smith, a broker associate with Compass RE Texas, Prosper.
Texas REALTOR® magazine asked members who consider themselves introverts to share their stories and tips.
Have a presentation or proposal coming up? Make sure to practice. Spending extra time prepping, collecting data, and organizing your thoughts ahead of time can give you confidence and help relieve anxiety. Smith shared that she performs better when she has allowed ample time for preparation and research. “Keeping a well-managed schedule is key to thriving in what can be thought of as uncomfortable situations,” she says.
Teri Miller, an agent with Coldwell Banker Apex, Mesquite, recommends having a script that you know backward and forward before attending an event. “When you are prepared and know your stuff, it shows with the people to whom you are connecting,” she says.
While you can’t control or predict everything, it is helpful to be proactive. Miller also suggests planning for what might be needed, wanted, and asked during the meeting to avoid unexpected questions. “Be prepared for your plans to need quick alterations.”
Play to Your Strength
Observant, analytical, and reflective are just some of the traits introverts tend to have. Smith believes that an introvert’s natural ability to be a critical thinker is a huge asset. “Critical thinking is crucial in our industry, and being able to anticipate potential roadblocks is an advantage.”
Smith also adds, “I’m a good listener, and I value genuine connection. While I may loathe small talk, I love the opportunity to have sincere conversations. Connecting on a deeper level leads to meaningful relationships that naturally convert to longtime client relationships—and friendships!”
Crystal Williams, of UTR-Texas, REALTORS®, League City, confesses that her greatest struggle has been the social side of real estate, specifically with potential clients she doesn’t know personally. However, she has found that she performs better when she sees her introverted tendencies as beneficial. “If I focus on the objective of listening and learning about the client and their real estate needs, it takes the pressure off of being charismatic and extroverted,” she says. Williams uses the example that she repeats what the client has said in her own words to make sure she understands the person’s needs.
It can be awkward and intimidating meeting new people. However, you can still create a great network even if you dislike traditional forms of networking. If you prefer to avoid small talk, dig deeper. Take charge of how you communicate by asking engaging questions. Showing interest and learning more about the other person is a great way to make a connection. If you are still at a loss for words or anxious about reaching out to someone new, Miller recommends visualizing the person you are talking to as though you have known them a long time.
Molly Lasater, CEO/broker of Solid Real Estate Services, Midland, prefers to work in small groups or one-on-one. “Working with my clients allows me time to get to know them on a personal level, which I really enjoy,” she says. “Focus on building your business with the people you already know. It might take a little time to grow your clientele in this fashion, but you will thrive because you are staying true to your character.”
Not all communication has to be face to face. By utilizing technology, you can take advantage of the opportunity to process and weigh in on an issue before responding.
“You can develop a secure career in real estate without all the cold calling, door knocking, and attending social functions,” Lasater says. “A lot of my day-to-day tasks can be handled through email or texting with other professionals.”
Smith adds, “With the use of social media and CRMs, introverts can utilize their strengths to build and maintain lasting relationships.”
Find a Balance and Take Time Out
To be successful, you don’t have to say yes to everything. In fact, knowing when to say no or take a break can be essential for staying focused, energized, and avoiding burnout. Lasater tries to keep her morning hours free so she can start her day with quiet time and then be ready to tackle the rest of the day. “The key is to schedule downtime into your daily and weekly schedule,” she says. “I might work seven days a week and have plenty of daily social activities, but I always have a few hours a day of alone time, so I can recharge and be at my best.”
Wanting downtime doesn’t mean you’re antisocial. In fact, Smith has found that allowing for occasional downtime enables her to be the best version of herself in social settings.
So how can you recharge? Keep it simple. Don’t let the idea of needing to take time out be a source of anxiety. Activities such as taking a walk, enjoying a creative project, exercising, meditating, pampering yourself, or hanging out with a friend are a few suggestions. Find out what works best for you.
Remember, perspective makes all the difference. Being successful isn’t about whether you are an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between. Instead, it is about embracing your strengths and even your perceived weaknesses. The more aware and comfortable you are with your personality type, the more confident you’ll be in your real estate career.
Networking Tips if You Don’t Enjoy Networking
- Bring a friend or partner to take the pressure off the feeling of always having to be “on.”
- Take deep breaths, be present, and don’t rush your thinking or responses.
- Ask for introductions to help with the awkwardness of approaching someone new.
- Arrive at an event early. It will be easier to meet one-on-one with someone rather than to try to navigate through a crowd.
- Volunteer. By working at an event, introductions and conversations will come up more organically.
- Set reasonable expectations. For example, focus on having four meaningful conversations rather than pressuring yourself to collect or hand out 100 business cards.
- Manage your inner critic and silence the negativity.
- Be your own cheerleader. Remind yourself of your skills and what you have to offer.