Understanding Your Agents’ Foundations

Both beliefs and programming separate the top earners from the average earners. But here’s the good news—you can influence both, as long as you understand where they’re coming from.

June 26, 2013

Have you ever wondered why some of your sales associates engage proactively and some react after the fact? It’s because of what they believe. Why do some real estate professionals dwell on circumstances while others believe that their successes and failures depend on them alone? It’s because of how they’ve been programmed.

As I noted in my last column, positive results come from the positive beliefs. Your agents are who they are and do what they do because of their beliefs. And they have the beliefs they have because of something called programming. Beliefs drive emotions, emotions drive behaviors, and behaviors drive results. I’ve always maintained that beliefs have more to do with success than our abilities, and that coaching along the way makes all the difference.

I would not be where I am today without the influence of people who have found a way to be successful in their career. Parents, coaches, peers, athletes, musicians, speakers, teachers, and writers have all formed who I am. Their beliefs and behaviors have helped to program mine.

As a leader, you are in the position to help your people become students of their craft so that they can earn what they’re worth. Help them access the programming that produces their beliefs, causes their emotions, and influences their behaviors.

But you’re not the only influence in your associates’ lives. Take it from Daniel Kelly, a coach at Woodside Homes’ Sacramento division. He says, “A large percentage of the time, cultural influencers, or programming, run parallel with a person’s beliefs. So understanding the foundation of their programming can and will change the outcome of a sale. If you don’t know where someone has been, you will certainly not be able to give them a plan on where to go.”

By considering the competition—in other words, other actors that can affect an individual’s programming—you’ll be more influential in team meetings and individual conversations with your associates.

Of course, family plays a huge part. From the moment we’re born, parents are programming us to think the way they think and see the way they see. It’s not all bad—some of it is the type of programming that we credit with our success, strong work ethic, and other positive qualities. But unfortunately, family can sometimes lead us down the wrong road and give us flawed philosophies on life. They aren’t trying to harm us, but since we really respect them, we naturally buy into what family members tell us about the world. But when the philosophies they’ve passed along limit our success, we have to reevaluate.

Culture is a major influence on us, too. Ideals in the Midwest are often different from those in the South or on the West Coast. The way we see the world—whether we buy into the “you eat what you kill” mind-set or have a sense of entitlement—is influenced by the way our community functions. Culture can also include teachers and our religious environment. And of course, everything we hear on the radio, see on television, and read in books and newspapers can change our perspectives and influence our philosophies.

Work can definitely program us. Everything from seminars to training programs to the voices of our colleagues can provide programming. Our experiences in the workplace play a big part, too. If we’ve had a lot of losses and disappointments, that can control how we see sales situations. But it’s not just our own experiences, either. We can be programmed by the successes and failures that we observe around us.

In the end, this programming is happening either proactively or reactively. Regardless, you’ll be affected and you’ll pass along programming to your team members, kids, and others around you. So make sure that you understand not only the programming that helps to determine the actions of your associates but also the influence that you have on others around you.

Jason Forrest is a sales trainer, management coach, member of the National Speakers Association’s Million Dollar Speakers Group, and author of three books, including his latest, Leadership Sales Coaching. Learn more at  www.fpg.com.