When William Shakespeare said “all the world’s a stage,” he was really onto something. Regardless of whether you consider yourself a thespian or you haven’t the slightest clue what a Tony Award is, being a good actor on- and offstage can serve you greatly in many areas of life, including real estate.
What Does Acting Have To Do With Selling Houses?
You’re probably wondering what two wildly different professions could possibly have in common. The answer? A lot more than you might think.
We’ve all heard tales about different actors and how they learn their roles – Leonardo DiCaprio slept inside an animal carcass for “The Revenant,” Jamie Foxx glued his eyes shut to play the blind pianist Ray Charles, and Jared Leto infamously gifted his cast and crew live rats while shooting “Suicide Squad.”
Regardless of how wacky the tactic for learning their part, actors are undeniably committed to learning everything they can. Although you’ll hardly take such unconventional approaches in real estate, consider taking a page out of the actor’s handbook in regards to dedication to research.
Learning as much as you can about your area’s housing market and most importantly, your client’s wants and needs, can help you understand why they just rejected your latest showing or which neighborhoods would best suit them.
Well researched, in-depth knowledge may not pay off instantly or with every client, but it’s sure to garner you some applause in the long run.
Many well-loved actors have some kind of rags-to-riches origin story. Whether they were once busing tables for years before their big break or taking small parts in local productions, the one thing they always did was keep trying.
In both acting and real estate, it’s important to remember that you can’t get every role or make every sale. But should that stop you? Absolutely not. The same way that many actors act because they love the art, you need to support your clients because it’s something you like to do.
Hounding a client because you’re worried about closing or just want to make a sale won’t look or feel good. So long as you’re doing what you love, the money and success will follow.
It’s a common misconception that confidence is something you either do or don’t have, rather than a skill which can be developed and trained over time. Actors and real estate professionals alike must seem confident in their role to properly get the job done.
But confidence is a skill that, like anything, can be learned over time. Here are some simple tips to building up your confidence:
- Try out some improv exercises with your friends or family: This can help combat a fear of looking silly or making a mistake. Learning to laugh off our flaws and keep moving forward is key to self-assuredness.
- Learn from your experiences: Most confidence comes from plain old experience and learning to anticipate what’s next. Pay attention to unique situations or challenges you face at work so that you can be well prepared should they happen again.
- Dress the part: Many actors connect with their characters through the power of costumes and you can, too. If you have a certain pair of shoes or a tie that makes you feel extra good, wear it!
- Fake it ‘til you make it: Obviously faking confidence isn’t sustainable long-term, but on low days or when dealing with a particularly intimidating client, sometimes faking confidence is the perfect solution – and you may leave feeling confident for real.
The behind-the-scenes antics of any production, big or small, are hectic. Costume changes, last-minute rehearsals, and crew running props back and forth all make up the final shiny production. But despite all of the chaos, it’s the actor’s job to remain calm and collected and to put on a great show.
As a real estate professional, you’re also dealing with a lot of chaos – moving and home buying and selling are inherently stressful processes. So, it’s important for you to keep a cool head and be the voice of reason and support for your clients. In a time of great change, they’ll appreciate your steadfast temperament.
Not only can improv exercises help boost your confidence, they can also act as a rehearsal for real life. Regardless if you’re aware of it or not, we perform improv every day – saying and doing things without a script.
Let’s take a look at all of the characteristics improvisation exercises help strengthen:
- Creative thinking
- Problem solving
- Effective listening
- Coping with failure
If you’re interested in building on any of these skills, consider enrolling in an improv class at your local community theater, or simply encourage more quick-thinking activities at family game night, like charades or Pictionary.
I’ll also give you the fun assignment of watching a few episodes of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” just to see for yourself not only that improv doesn’t always run smoothly, but also, that it doesn’t have to.
You may have heard the expression “acting is reacting” before. But how does it apply to real estate?
In the world of theater, this advice calls for the actor to pull from genuine emotion rather than having a forced response. Many also interpret this advice as meaning “listen to others” – particularly in improv. If an actor is simply waiting for the chance to deliver their lines without being active in the scene as a whole, it will never seem natural to an audience.
Both of these interpretations can be applied to your real estate practice. People will gravitate toward authenticity, especially if they’ve dealt with some real estate sharks before. Prioritizing building genuine relationships before simply closing a deal will go a long way in any field, including real estate.
Additionally, you should make a conscious effort to learn how to read your client and react accordingly. Being receptive to concerns, questions and body language can go a long way in positive word-of-mouth marketing.
Speaking of body language – both actors and real estate professionals should know how to use it to their advantage. There’s a lot more to the art of unspoken communication than meets the eye. Let’s unpack some of these parts:
We’re probably all familiar with the terms “personal space” or “personal bubble,” but many don’t know that these are actual terms used in proxemics, the study of human space. All we do know is that if somebody violates our space, it’s uncomfortable.
So let’s break down the most common spatial norms and how to best use them so that your clients are always at ease:
- Intimate space: This is the area 0 – 18 inches from our body and “close enough to touch.” You should never infringe upon somebody’s intimate space, even with a friendly hug, without their permission.
- Personal space: This is the space about a foot to a foot and a half away from our body. If you’re in somebody’s personal space, you’re probably pretty conversational with them, so make sure to look engaged and open. Depending on the situation, you could even lean in slightly to show your interest.
- Social space: This is usually 5 – 7 feet away from our body. It’s a good idea to keep this space at networking events or mixers.
- Public space: This is anything beyond 7 feet from our body. People can obviously still read your body language at this distance, so allow yourself to talk with your hands, gesture accordingly and keep a strong, confident posture.
Spatial norms are extremely subtle in our everyday lives, but if you’ve mastered them you can help make your clients feel at ease.
Eye contact is a tried-and-true key to good communication and presentation. Showing your clients that you’re interested and engaged in your conversation, or being cognizant of any hints of confusion, can be greatly advantageous in your real estate practice.
Additionally, gazing with purpose when you’re entering a room is a great way to command attention. Shifting eyes are associated with nerves and insecurity, so show off your confidence by looking with purpose.
Power posing is a well-known way to emulate confidence and put yourself at ease. Always remember to have a solid stance on the ground and don’t be afraid to try out some different power poses to see what makes you feel your best.
The Bottom Line
Turns out, actors and real estate experts have much more in common than meets the eye. And whether you’re putting on a show onstage or in a staged home, acting exercises can serve you well in communication and building relationships.
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