Do You Believe in Magic?
As you turned the pages, you imagined you were actually in the great dining hall at Hogwarts, watching the magical Sorting Hat place first-year students Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger into Gryffindor. The adventures played out and the personality of the characters pulled the reader in, often causing them to stay up way too late to read “just one more chapter.”
Many fans read the entire anthology of Harry Potter aloud to small children, even changing voices for the different characters from the high-pitched voice of house elf Dobby to the low bass of Hagrid and the elderly, solemn bravado of Dumbledore. Even now, we hiss the name “Snape” and chills might hit our spines when we think of Nagini, the snake belonging to the villain “who must not be named.”
It all started when author J.K. Rowling believed in a young boy born with wizardly powers. Rowling imagined a majestic castle that held the Hogwarts school for wizards. She created the characters and creatures in her head then allowed her story to unfold on the pages. Only because J.K. Rowling believed first did millions of children and parents get to believe in the magic of Harry Potter, too. This boy named Harry Potter would make believers out of anyone who read, heard or watched his story.
The Harry Potter series was fictional fantasy, as far away from facts and history and real people as one could get. Telling the story in beautiful detail and making the readers believe they were part of this adventure was critical in Rowling building a loyal fan base for her work. Rowling’s Harry Potter stories attracted legions of fans around the world, many of them young children who waited outside bookstores with each new release for the opportunity to read a full-length book…without pictures. Think back to when you were a kid — how many 700+ page books would you have read?
The seven books were massive, worldwide best-sellers. Then the eight subsequent movies that followed sold out theaters and added another generation of fans and helped put the wizarding world of Harry Potter into our pop culture minds along with characters like James Bond, Jason Bourne or Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story. Even now, some 15 years after the first movie was released, it’s hard for people to see actor Daniel Radcliffe and not see him as Harry Potter, “the boy who lived.”
Do You Believe in Miracles?
36 years ago in a tiny town in upstate New York, a team of young men playing ice hockey changed the world. The Winter Olympics were taking place in Lake Placid, NY and anyone over the age of 40 will remember the US Men’s Hockey team upset of the unbeatable team from Russia. Experts have tried to explain just how big of an upset this was by saying it was as though a team of high school football players was thrown together and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It’s been called the “Miracle on Ice” and was even immortalized in a movie from Disney. US Coach Herb Brooks and his team of young Americans worked together to pull off one of the greatest upsets in the history of not just hockey, but all of all sports. Brooks pre-game words to his team are considered one of the best locker room speeches ever;
“Great moments are born from great opportunity, and that’s what you have here tonight, boys. That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game; if we played them ten times, they might win nine. But not this game, not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight we stay with them, and we shut them down because we can. Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world.
You were born to be hockey players—every one of you, and you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over. I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw ’em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it!”
Herb Brooks believed in his team’s chances that night. That belief trickled down to team Captain Mike Eruzione, goalie Jim Craig and all the other rosy-cheeked kids in ice skates and allowed them to play the game of their lives. And as the final seconds ticked off the clock with the US team leading 4-3, if you close your eyes you can still hear ABC Sports announcer Al Michaels’ infamous call, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes….”
[Watch this clip and I’ll bet you get goosebumps at the 58-second mark]
Do You Believe Your Story?
There are over 1.1 million members of the National Association of Realtors. There are probably closer to 2 million real estate licensees in the United States alone. How are you different from the rest?
Those real estate licenses are held by brokerages and companies that offer development, marketing and support for the sales agents who choose to work with them. Some of the companies are large, global brands with multiple branch offices throughout a city or region while many are small boutique operations with one storefront and just a handful of people.
If you’re a manager, broker or owner challenged by organic growth of your office or company, how are you painting a different picture to make people believe in your story? Like J.K. Rowling or Coach Herb Brooks, how are you developing the characters you helped create so their actions will help tell the story you see in your head before you put pen to paper?
Is one style or brand better than the other? Is it better to be affiliated with a large company with thousands or agents or stick with a smaller operation? That depends on what you believe in.
Why should a Realtor or anyone holding a real estate license want to work with a specific brand or branch or broker? It depends on what they believe in.
In order for a Realtor to secure clients, they have to have a story to tell to the buyers and sellers they are trying to help. Before a managing broker or branch manager can successfully recruit a licensee to join their organization, they must passionately believe they are the right place to be for agents who want to develop and grow their business and deliver results to the customers that work with them.
Harry Potter had magical powers and the US Hockey team had world-class facilities and equipment to help them succeed. What tools, technologies and training are you equipped with to better support your success?
“Where the agents work” and “when the agents work” are both somewhat commodity answers. “What they do” can lead to some specialties and unique values and start truly being able to tell a different, more personalized story to the audience. “Who they are” can further separate the field because it’s a fact that people would rather work with people like them. Common ground, similar knowledge backgrounds and experiences.
Yet all of these still boil down to the bigger story we tell and that is, “Why should someone work with you?” Do the beliefs you have and show in yourself exude the confidence, competence, and consistency that will cause the public to trust you? Can potential new agents or team members see other people achieving the levels of success they too desire using the services and support systems of your company or brokerage?
Did Rowling believe in her own characters so much that she made us see the characters in our minds so clearly that we cheered for Harry Potter and his friends to succeed in their challenges? Did Coach Brooks and the players believe in themselves before they took the ice that memorable night before the world got to believe in the miracle? Does the story you tell yourself every day match the story you tell to the world through your brand and property marketing, social networking strategies, community and industry involvement and personal engagement with everyone you meet?
Getting others to believe starts with the author, the coach, the Realtor or the manager/broker/owner believing it first. Believing in not only the story but the person telling it. Once that happens, the story is easier told, the game is easier played and the sale is easier made.
Sean Carpenter is the Agent Development Director for the Ohio NRT companies in Columbus and Cincinnati. Originally licensed in 1998, Sean led a successful career in real estate as a Realtor and successful branch manager. Sean was one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate by Inman News in 2013 and was recently recognized as 1 of the Top 20 individuals on social media in the real estate space by the Swanepoel Report.