The Similarities of My Professions
People trust me. I dress the part. I’m typically in suits. I arrive on time. My hair is clean cut. But that’s just visceral. Under the surface, I’m calm, predictable, and quick to respond. My clients don’t just trust me as a businessman. They trust me with either the most important day of their life (a wedding), or the most important financial decision of their life (buying a house). Such stakes might give others anxiety. Not me. I know what I’m doing. A long time before someone decides to trust me with his/her business, I trusted myself. Trust is everything.
I used to work in startups. A founder said something to me which I’ve never forgotten. “Trust is the most important aspect to cultivate. If you need money, and VC’s trust your ability to execute, you can convert that trust into money. Your trust will build your friendships, relationships. But be wary, once trust is lost you can never get it back.”
At the outset, a REALTOR and a DJ look like two completely different professions. But I’ve discovered that they share a lot of similarities which has allowed a sharing of developed skillsets.
Controlling the emotions of others: Probably the most striking similarity I discovered is that I’m always dialing in the emotions of others in both professions. At a dance party, I’m building collective euphoria. The crazier people become, the harder they go off, the better. In real estate, often people are in a state of anxiety about the deal and I’m calming them down. Wise decisions are not made when emotions take over. The amount of money relative to their life position can make the purchaser or seller overwhelmed, and I often find myself, like a lawyer, running through all the possible scenarios and contingencies so the client knows full well the position and it’s hardly ever as imagined.
As a REALTOR(R) I’m required by a code of ethics to be honest with my clients regarding a property. Any information or defect of the home that I am privy to, I must inform my client. It is not only essential, and good business, it protects me legally. Weddings are interesting because it is an industry where often it is executed by first time non-professionals (unless they have a planner (hire a planner)), and their imaginations have run counter to reality. Normally, as the DJ, I’m not consulted on such matters, but if I’m asked questions I can give honest advice, and my suggestions have contributed to better event flow. Oftentimes, what I bring up hasn’t been considered. Guests have expectations. They have traveled far and wide to attend your event. Everything should transition seamlessly from one moment to the next. Don’t disrespect them by being disorganized.
A real estate agent can’t look like a schlub. Too much money is on the line to not attempt to play the part. You’re more likely to go along with a theater play if the actors are in costume. Luckily for me, I love fashion, and I would be more uncomfortable with a t-shirt and jeans than a collared shirt and suit. My love for suits started when I noticed that people treated me differently as a young adult when I suited up. I wanted to put myself in front of more opportunities as a result. Dress for success. I’ll have my hair cut at least two weeks from a real event.
Everyday I check two things. The MLS and the charts. Each has new items for me to introduce to my clients. Every song is a tool. Every listing: a data point to remember for when someone asks you the standard “how is the real estate market?”
We DJ’s organize all our songs into crates, based on genre, energy, and function. The amount of prep work takes days, but it is worth it. When you’re in the moment, you’re concentration is hyper-focused, but if brain fart on the title of a song/artist, and you can’t find or remember what it is you’re looking for, in the moment you need to find it, the digging is all-for-naught.
Sales & Marketing:
I used to work in media sales. I would cold call clients and see if I could offer them value in buying an ad. It wasn’t easy but it built a thick skin. The nice thing about both real estate and wedding packages (or gigs) is you can’t pressure anyone into a sale. Those tactics don’t work. In real estate it doesn’t work because the purchase is too large, there is too much money on the line. Plus it isn’t good business. Either the client wants the house or she doesn’t. What you sell instead is your availability, reliability, market knowledge, negotiation skills, and personality to determine whether you are the right person for your client to work with. In that sense you are the product. Most of my business comes from referrals.
Every DJ has a vibe. Some base it on look, others genre, but what it really should be based on is energy. Just like real estate, if you don’t go out very often, how are you to know whether the DJ you choose is the right one for you? (Note to self, write a blog entry on this alone)
When I lived in LA I’d go out every night with the singular intention of dancing. I wanted to dance. Hard. Not necessarily to hard music, but I wanted someone who’s music would grant me the opportunity to jump in at any given time during the set. I thought I was just dancing, but really I was unknowingly studying. My unique selling point is that I create those opportunities when I perform.
But I have more. I get into a flow state when I DJ. I know where I’m going. Where to take the crowd. How to build the dance floor. I can’t pressure a wedding party or a manager to hire me. But I can show them how I can turn a crowd into a dance party. A lot of my business is repeat business, because I’ve been told I enhance business by +50% in sales when I perform. Most of my business comes from referrals.
For some reason I’ve found a lot of people need to be warmed up. A dance floor requires it naturally. You can’t go too hard too fast too soon. You build it. Think foreplay. But I’ve found that once I’ve earned the trust of a crowd on a given night, I can play anything (within reason).
Sometimes you need to impress a RE client before he or she signs with you. They have insecurities, as well as doubts, and sometimes think they know better. Many-a-seller has a generous number in mind versus a realistic one. Sometimes they want to add the calculation of all the improvements they’ve added to the property on top of the base price you’ve quoted them. If I’m unable to get through to them, the market will. The market speaks in offers. The price effects speed. These last two years have been abnormal. But when a client trusts you and what you’re doing, I deliver the intended results. A buyer is not that different. I’ve noticed that earning their trust is faster, because in this scenario, I learned that my greatest selling strength is speed. I had to educate my buyers in the last two years that if they wanted a property, they had to see it the very same day and make an offer that night. A buyer who didn’t follow my advice, needed to a couple times before he understood. I don’t blame him. He was used to the old way of the market, with outdated rules. In 2020/2021 the rules had changed. I eventually sold him a great house, because he increased his speed to match mine. We got our offer in first, and it was accepted. Sometimes it pays to be a hawk.
Physical Endurance: When I get into a flow state, I feel as though I can DJ forever, but the truth is I start getting tired after seven hours. Plus I get a workout when setting up my gear. I call it a perk of the job, in that it comes with a gym membership. I also get a decent amount of cardio in, because I’m having so much fun, I start dancing myself.
Real estate is hardly physically demanding, because unless I’m traversing a property with vast acreage (rare) or doing a drone video in the cold (uncomfortable and rare), I spend most most of my time at listing appointments, or communicating, which is not very physically strenuous. In fact, I get restless and need to go to the gym in order to function. On days I gig, I avoid the gym, as otherwise I won’t have enough energy to perform.
Handling Drunk People:
It’s never the case where clients show up to the title agency blitzed. But at a bar, gig, or wedding, it’s half and half. After the sale we’ll go out for drinks, after the gig I’m going to bed. Stark contrast. I think it would be funny if reversed. It would be funny to see a drunken closing, and although a dry wedding might seem lame, I’ve DJ’d mormon weddings and they know how to have fun.