Robert Sharoff is an architectural writer for The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Magazine. With photographer William Zbaren, he has produced books highlighting the architecture of Detroit and St. Louis. He is a former senior editor with REALTOR® Magazine.
Rookie Diary: William Pecora Faces Public Speaking Fears
In the third month of the series, the rookies tackle lost commissions, new niches, and personal fears.
April 1, 2004
William Pecora, 25
RE/MAX Real Estate Ltd.
I was asked to do a listing-presentation seminar recently for a couple hundred salespeople at the RE/MAX New Jersey monthly meeting. The meeting organizers have been reading this diary and thought I might have something interesting to say.
The whole idea threw me. To begin with, I'm not very comfortable with public speaking. When I’m in front of a large group, I get very nervous, choked up, and palm-sweaty. I don’t like it. I also realized that I don’t really have a set listing presentation.
What I do, basically, is go in and listen to people. Then I tell them how I would market their house. But it’s all very individual and tailored to their personalities and the situation. I’m not sure what kind of general lessons I can draw from it.
I wound up turning the offer down. But now I think, well, maybe I should have done it. Obviously, it would have been great for referrals and exposure.
But how do you get over the stage fright? Are there techniques for doing this? A book I could read? It’s definitely something I’m going to have to work on.
On a lighter note, I recently applied to be on the second season of “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump’s reality TV series. Donald Trump is somebody I really admire. He’s gone from successful to almost bankrupt and is now more successful than ever.
The Donald is a great example of how success in the real estate industry depends, to some degree, on risk-taking. You can't always play it safe. If you want to be average, well, that’s fine. A lot of people are happy with that. But if you want to get to the next level, you’ve got to take some chances.
The next level I want to get to, I’ve decided, is investing for myself. My goal is to do it this year, maybe in the fall. At that point, I should be in a position to put $40,000 down on something.
Whether I would buy a place, fix it up, and flip it or keep it as a rental, I'm not sure. My wife wants to help. I think we’ll make a great team. She’s very good at what I think of as operations—making sure things get done, bills get paid, that kind of thing.
I'm more of a dealmaker. I can analyze a project and see if it makes sense or not. Of course, who knows, if I get picked for “The Apprentice,” everything could change. Stay tuned.
I also sold a listing this month, a house that belongs to my wife’s aunt. She’s moving to Florida. The deal happened very quickly. We had an open house, out of which came a full-price offer for $349,000, and that was that.
I was a little surprised because the house is full of the kind of fancy upgrades—like special moldings and doors and windows—that normally don’t translate to higher selling prices. What happened, though, is that the buyer is a contractor who totally understands what he’s getting. A very nice deal. Now on to spring.
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