Practice Makes Permanent! (Habits included)

September 1, 2020 | Written by: Pam O'Bryant
How to make good habits permanent.

Making good habits permanent.

We often say that “practice makes perfect,” however I read the other day that practice really “makes permanent.” That got me to thinking about all the things that we are making permanent without giving them the benefit of conscious thought.

By hitting the snooze button, we’re making permanent the habit of oversleeping. Sitting down to watch tv after dinner, we’re making permanent wasting hours in the evening. By zoning out during classes, we’re making permanent our situation.

Read up on your habits.

There are so many really great books out there about changing habits and making things permanent. One of my favorites lately is Atomic Habits by James Clear. He gives nice, practical tips on how to change habits, build good ones and break bad ones. Highly recommended.

atomic habits by James clear

Make a habit of using real estate language.

How does all of this relate to the real estate industry? Well, we have several habits that are starting to feel rather permanent. We have practiced over and over again asking buyers if they are “pre-qualified.” Now, think about that for a minute. When was the last time someone asked you about being pre-qualified? How did that make you feel?

And yet, we still cling to this language. What if, instead, we asked if they had met with a lender to determine their best “financing strategy to meet their long-term goals”? Try it. You will notice people stand up a little straighter when you talk about their strategy. It makes people feel bigger, not smaller.

real estate agent and clients discussing good habit language.

Since we’re on the topic of buyers, how do you present the benefits to the buyer of signing a buyer rep agreement? I have asked that in dozens of classes of hundreds of agents and I usually get some version of “it protects me.” I hate to be the one who says this, however the buyer doesn’t actually care about you… yet. There are significant benefits for the buyer of having a representation agreement. We simply need to practice the best way to explain those.

Make a habit of using scripts. Yes, scripts.

In Real Estate on Purpose, we focus quite a lot on scripts. Why? Because, as my coach Alicia Marie of PeopleBizInc.com would say “language is creative” and what you say matters. Now I get it, when I ask a room of 100 real estate agents “who in here loves scripts?” I get fewer than a dozen hands up. When I ask, “why don’t you like scripts?” I get all the standard answers. You know, the scripts for why people don’t like scripts.

And all of those answers are simply scripts themselves. “They sound canned.” (they do, until you internalize them). “They don’t sound like me.” (nope, they won’t, until you internalize them.)

Coach Alicia Marie discussing habits.

Make a habit out of your calendar.

The last point about “making permanent” is your calendar. When working to implement a new habit or strategy, I look to the calendar. It’s one of the most powerful tools you have in making something permanent. First, determine what it is you need to make permanent. Say, for example, a really powerful answer to “How’s Business?” Then, block time on your calendar to write out your answer, read it to yourself, practice it in front of a mirror and then a video camera, role play it and really make it yours. If you want to learn more about what time-blocking is and its benefits check out our article Time Management Doesn’t Exist – Time Blocking Does.

Once you have it really nailed, you need to schedule “maintenance” time. Keith Cunningham in his book “The Road Less Stupid” calls it “keeping the lug nuts tight.” We all get sloppy over time.

the road less stupid - habit book.

Oh, and one more thing about your calendar. If you have trained yourself to ignore your calendar notifications there are two ways to overcome that. First, connect the activity on the other end of that notification to a human. You don’t ignore a listing appointment, right? Second, use the other tools at your disposal like your alarm. We all went to high school. When the bell rang, we moved to the next thing. That’s deep training you can call on now.

This week, give some thought to “what am I making permanent and is it something I really want?”

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