Tim Snell: Taming a ‘crashing market’ with a stoic mindset

First, the market booms and house prices are running away from us all. Next, prices are crashing and interest rates are going to cripple us all. The one thing we know for certain is that “this too shall pass” and whatever happens next in the market will no doubt have a new angle for concern. 

As an industry this calls for a moment of stoicism.

Roman philosopher Seneca said: “Don’t suffer imagined troubles”.

While we can’t control what happens to us, we can control how we respond to it. And often the fear of the ‘what if’ far outweighs the reality of the ‘what is.’

While the predictions of the future may be fruitless, the lessons learnt from the past should give enough confidence to any real estate practitioner that the abundance of opportunities are still in front of us.

If we take a moment to reflect on our more recent challenges, if we could make it through a once-in-a-generation global pandemic, you should feel confident we can handle interest rate rises, too.

Never before has it been more important to focus on the facts and challenge ourselves to remove our egos and confirmation biases towards the ‘reality’ of our situation.

This isn’t the first time the banks and mainstream media have predicted a real estate crisis.

How did businesses driven by fear respond? They cut staff, cut service, stopped listing stock, stopped selling stock and all of their predictions came true – their business declined. 

The businesses that decided to push through were able to take advantage of the best real estate market in modern history. 

Whether you think your business is going to struggle in this market or you think it won’t – you’re right.

The value of a stoic mindset in business is always amplified through times of uncertainty.

A few stoic virtues to consider: 

Is this something that is, or is not, in my control ( Greek philosopher Epictetus)?

Interest rates are going up. And guess what? They are going to keep going up.

We can continue to demonise interest rates or accept this is a necessary change for economic stability.

While interest rates are the main driver of house price challenges in the current climate, they don’t represent the end of house price growth.

The past two Australian economic booms were the dot-com boom and the mining boom. Interest rates during both of these time periods ranged between four and seven per cent. 

What happens in government, the Reserve Bank, China, Russia or any number of things all represent things out of our control.

What happens within the four walls of your business represent the things you can control.

How you show up, the energy you bring to the table, the service you deliver and the empathy you provide defines your value in your marketplace.

Focus on process, not outcomes

We were not responsible for the market rising nor are we responsible for it falling.

Agent’s who only connected their worth to record prices will struggle to remain relevant.

People aren’t selling in this market place to ‘put their toe in the water’.

They have life ambitions, wants and needs. They need solution-makers in this market place, not promise-makers.

Delivering results when the market is no longer doing the heavy lifting requires stock management process, skill and strategy – the sale then becomes the byproduct of the process. 

Ego is the enemy

The blame game in this market is a recurring theme. Where have all the buyers gone?

What is happening with prices? Why are banks getting in the way of the deal?

The reality is, the market doesn’t need to get better, we need to get better. Ego is our protection of price.

Language like, “It’s got to be worth” or, “It must be worth” needs to be removed from our dialogue.

In any market, when a property is priced right, the buyer will always appear.

Remove your opinion of price and you will remove the barriers to crafting a sale.

A man is only as unhappy as he tells himself to be (Seneca)

If you change the way you look at the world, the world you see will change.

The self-fulfilling prophecy of market struggles are only amplified by the story we tell ourselves.

The reality is, this market is what you make it. Your opportunity to stand above the rest has never been greater.

Your market share is a reflection of your relevance to your marketplace, and this is the time to grow it. 

We were blessed as an industry over the past two years and it was an exciting time to be involved.

Now is the market where standing out has never been easier and those who emerge as leaders will be rewarded.

Embrace the change and chase the opportunity that stands before you.

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Tim Snell

Tim Snell is the Head of Performance for the Ray White Group.