I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about my job, my work, my source of income. This is the time of year to evaluate performance over the last year and to plan and strategize for next year. I've done some of that, identifying markets I want to be in, planning some new marketing strategies, etc. One thing has been bugging me though and I finally made a little headway (so to speak) today in pinpointing it. The phrase, "work as ministry" has been in my head. After several days of this thought, I've decided to work it out by writing it down. I also decided to share that writing with you in hopes that you can implement the same kind of strategy.
Work as Ministry
For most of my more mature Christian life I have heard various people espouse the virtues of treating your work as ministry. Be a witness wherever you go. Treat people as you want to be treated. What would Jesus do. All those phrases that we all know and have used to the point that they are almost cliche. The problem is that they are not very specific and don't give a guy like me some concrete things to DO to accomplish those noble goals. What I am writing now is my gameplan on how to put those cliches into practice as a Realtor. I hope that you will read these and be inspired to do the same wherever you work. I believe God expects it of us and I know that our coworkers/clients/customers/employees/employers (Christian and non-Christian) need it from us. So here goes:
How can I make my job as a Realtor into ministry?
- Implement the golden rule--I know it is one of the cliches but it is a good one. I truly need to treat others as I would want to be treated. Even more, I need to treat people as God would want me to treat them. This means I just naturally go the extra mile. I provide more than they expect, all the time, without them asking. EVEN moreso, I need to do it with a really joyous, thankful, genuine disposition. Do it because I love them as people.
- Understand that I am helping them with something far more important and noble than just buying some product. A house is (for the VAST majority of people) the largest single investment they will ever make. A house is something they dream about, somewhere to raise their family, somewhere to build memories and somewhere to turn into HOME--a concept almost everyone longs for. It can be a complicated task and I am honored when someone trusts me to help.
- Delight in the small points of this process. People make decisions about their home based on ALL KINDS of reasons. For some it is simply the schools, the square footage, the condition and the overall layout of the house. Others go by "the feeling" the home gives. I need to be open to all of those deciding factors. I need to tune into those factors. I need to fight the urge to become frustrated when someone takes a long time to decide and seems to be too picky. I need to delight in the meticulousness some people exercise--after all, this is where they will call home.
- I need to be 100% honest and up front with people. I am an honest person but even so, I will sometimes sugar coat things. No one benefits from that in the long run. This policy may cost me some listings but in the long run, it will help. More Realtors need to do this. You help no one if you have a listing for 6 months with no showings. If the house smells, tell them. If the house needs work, tell them. If their price is WAY out of line, tell them. Set the expectations. I know there are some reasons for listing an overpriced property but don't give false hope that it will actually sell
- Humility, honor, integrity and thankfulness--These are the words that should govern my actions.
- I can only do so much and God does the rest--this gives humility.
- Honor is a 2 way street--I am honored that my clients trust me and I honor them, my family and my God by treating people well
- Integrity--goes without saying
- Thankfulness--again, thankful for my clients' trust and thankful for God's blessings. Also thankful that I live in a place where I can help people in this fashion.
- NEVER give less than my full effort. Again, this is someone's home that I am being trusted with. Less than 100% is not acceptable--even if I am tired or grouchy or whatever. Remember that this is a SERVICE job. It is my opportunity to serve my fellow man. This is a super important point of emphasis for me.
- Focus on the family--including my own. I cannot do this without my family and I need to keep telling myself that, no matter how busy I am, I owe it to Cindy, Jonas and Maggie to put them first. When I do this and still get the "job" done with efficiency, I set a great example for my clients.
- Value the relationship that is being forged. When people step into my path and we work on their largest asset, there is a natural relationship planted. There are no accidents and I HAVE to put value on the relationship that results from helping with a business transaction. It is an emotional process to buy and sell the home. Don't be closed off and just get to know people on a superficial level. If they are open to it, take the opportunity to actually build a relationship--even if the person is a little weird.
- Finally, to really see this as ministry, I need to keep God in it. So many people are afraid to talk about God because it might offend someone. I don't need to preach but I don't see any reason why it can't be woven into the conversation. If that conversation is rejected, then leave it alone but I should always try.