Louise Phillips Forbes is an industry leader in the New York City real estate market. She is one of Manhattan’s elite Power Brokers and a multi-time winner of Halstead Real Estate’s prestigious Broker of the Year award. In her segment, she discusses her journey from earning $8400 in her first year at real estate to making sales amounting to billions. Learn the traits she cultivated to get there.
Louise shares that she did not start out as a real estate agent. She was actually born in Nashville, Tennessee, and migrated to New York to be a dancer in Broadway. She unfortunately injured herself after a year and did what she had to just to make ends meet - bartending, modeling, industrial for dance companies, and so on.
Then one day, someone mentioned that she would do well in real estate and gave her a business card. Louise was offered a commission only job and made $8400 in her first year in the industry.
Before she accepted the job, she thought that real estate and property was all about the brick and mortar and architecture, but she learned that it was all about people. It took her a year to really own who she was and not try to be someone she wasn’t.
She was raised her whole life to never talk about money, but as an agent, the first thing she does is say, “Hi, how are you? How much are you willing to spend?” So, she needed to figure out what it meant for her to own it.
Louise figured out that it wasn’t to be a salesperson. She wanted to be an educator, to be of service to the regular person. After all, the home is where life starts. Being a part of that was something really powerful for her.
Empathy, compassion, and patience. There's a reason why gave God gave us two ears and one mouth, she says. And that’s because we need to hone listening skills to understand others. You will attract business if you genuinely care about others, if you understand your customers.
People sometimes want to dominate the conversation, but with empathy, you need to be skilled at listening and understanding where the person you’re trying to help is going.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Every ‘no’ you get is a data point, so just keep going until you get the correct answer.
Empathy helped her get a successful business in one of the most difficult property markets in the world. Louise learned early on that buyers and sellers are here today, gone tomorrow. But the people in the industry will be with you for decades. So being generous with your knowledge, being accommodating, treating your colleagues as you want to be treated, and being happy when you lose a piece of business to somebody you respect, will help in easing the pressure to win all the time.
It’s not about losing, she says. It’s just not the right time. When she loses, Louise asks sellers, if they mind telling her who they chose, and why they made they made the choice they made. This gives her the chance to learn and improve, and allows her to leave the customer with a feeling of respect. She wants to give them the respect of their choice.