Do Narcissists or Empaths Make Better REALTORS®?
Narcissism and empathy are opposites according to Business Insider and some well-respected psychologists.
When we think of narcissists, many of us think of Donald Trump, Tiger Woods or some other bigger than life sociopath but there are degrees of narcissism and our society is rife with people who display narcissistic characteristics. Some of these characteristics are: grandiose sense of self importance, exploitation of others, coercion and control and exaggeration of achievements.
Empathy, on the other hand, is the ability to understand and respond to other people’s thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. People who experience a high level of empathy sometimes refer to themselves as empaths.
So, which makes a better REALTOR®?
Many narcissists have elevated levels of self-esteem and confidence, believe they are superior to others and respond positively to rewards. These traits can be beneficial to salespeople and most traditional real estate training is geared to this type of person. Making the most amount of money, winning, using scripts to communicate and techniques to coerce prospects to sign a contract is the backbone of traditional real estate training. Think Glengarry Glen Ross (link to movie).
And for a select few, this can be very profitable.
But most of us feel conflicted using these techniques. We inherently know that this process is designed to benefit us, the REALTOR® and not the client.
I’ve been in Real Estate for 36 years. I have coached hundreds of people including many very high performers, and I see something different. When an agent commits fully to understanding and serving the client, their business changes. The conflict, shame and guilt evaporate. They are trusted and respected by their clients and colleagues. They enjoy every aspect of their business, and they attract high quality clients naturally. The empathetic approach is so rare in real estate, and so valuable to the prospective client, that you can’t help but outshine your competition. I call this, The Nature of Sales and while it’s simple, it isn’t necessarily easy.
Mastering empathy can be tricky. Empathy isn’t compassion or sympathy although these traits are valuable. Just because you care, doesn’t mean you have empathy. Empathy is the ability to see things from the other persons perspective; not how we would see it if we were in their situation, but how they actually see it. It takes self-awareness, humility, and commitment to be able to set our perspective aside to understand theirs.