Doug Marshall, CCIM
Published September 3, 2009

Back for an “encore performance” is a 3-part series that I sent out in January. For those of you who missed it the first time or those who want to re-read it again, read below. Last week, I re-sent Part 1. Today is the second part to this series. Enjoy!


In my previous installment, I discussed getting back to basics, staying absolutely focused on the task at hand, and differentiating yourself from your competitors. Click here to read Part 1, if you missed it.

Be 110% Committed To Your Career
I had a friend, years ago, when I was first starting out as a commercial mortgage broker. We both were struggling to pay the bills and at that point in our careers we were wondering if we were going to make it or not.

I remember him saying that if this did not work out he had another lucrative opportunity with a newly established dot-com company. He asked me what my plans were if I didn’t succeed at being a commercial mortgage broker. I told him I had no other plans.

My choice was to succeed as a commercial mortgage broker or fail miserably and utterly. There was no other alternative. Because I knew the consequences of failure I eventually succeeded.

It was a difficult struggle and took years to be successful but giving up was not an option for me. On the other hand, my friend was out of the business within a year and the opportunity with the dot-com company never materialized.

The lesson to be learned is this: It is very difficult to succeed in any profession or any endeavor if you are not 100% committed to it. In today’s economy that principle is truer than ever. Some may view having another job waiting in the wings as a prudent safety net should their current job not pan out. In reality, it’s a recipe for failure.

If Necessary, Redefine Yourself
Sometimes after you go through the self-assessment process you realize you’re not the problem, the market is.

No matter how good you may be at differentiating yourself from your competition, there may not be enough remaining market share left to make a living, no matter how good you are at your profession.

If that is true for you, redefine yourself by finding a new market niche within your profession.

Recently, a friend of mine was meeting with someone who is in the residential mortgage market. As you know, this market has been devastated. Employment in this sector of the economy has declined over 80% in the past year or so.

But this person, who is in this profession, is surviving. How so? He has moved away from doing exclusively residential mortgages to focusing on reverse mortgages for seniors, currently a lucrative market.

With every change in the economy there are winners and losers. Find those clients who are in the most financial pain resulting from the poor economy. They are the ones in need of assistance and they are motivated to make changes in their current situations. Then find a market niche that helps those who are in financial distress.

You will be doing them a service while making a living until the market changes again. As Jerry Mason of Westland Apartment Brokers says so aptly, “Follow the pain.”

Stay Positive!
Having a positive attitude, to me, is by far the single most important thing to focus on during difficult times. Here are some suggestions for staying positive when the business is hurting:

Avoid negative people
We all know who they are. Sometimes these negative people are unaware of the harmful impact they have on those around them. Avoid them at all costs and, if you cannot avoid them, tell them you don’t want to hear it.

Quit watching the news
Yes, a lot bad things are happening right now. Each day, some new calamitous event happens that makes our economy that much worse.

But it’s also important to realize that those in the news business are there to make headlines so that they have an audience.

How much of what we hear is overstated or incorrectly stated by the news media in order to create headlines and increase their own market share?

Don’t go it alone
Find someone, or maybe more than one person, with whom you can share your deepest fears, someone who will lift your spirits when things aren’t going well, and someone who can celebrate with you when you succeed.

Solomon once said, “There is a friend that is closer than a brother.” Find that person. Don’t be a Lone Ranger.

End, part two