We can debate what success is but for expedience I’m going to suggest it’s achieving more than average in a pursuit you consider worthwhile. Using this definition I’ve considered what it is that causes some people to be more successful than others and yes there are many factors. But if I had to distill them down to one thing it would be this – they have an edge.
They have developed something the competition doesn’t have, isn’t aware of or hasn’t properly worked on. And more often than not their edge is something that’s obtainable by many others, by most even, but the others just haven’t got it. So how have the successful ones, the winners, got their edge? The answer, I believe, is mostly by just working a bit harder, a bit longer and in a more focussed and deliberate manner.
At last year’s Lettings Agency of the Year Awards I had the very good fortune to sit next to one of my heroines, Paula Radcliffe. Of course I asked her about breaking the marathon world record and we discussed the low points in the Olympics too but what was most interesting and revealing was listening to how she first became a long distance runner. She said that she wasn’t that good at sport at school, certainly no better than average, but one day there was a cross country race and she came first.
Now one of our brilliant speakers, Marcus Child, told several of our Mastermind Groups how he’d met Paula’s father and he recounted this moment too – apparently Paula said to her father, “Dad, I did cross country today and came second and I know I could have come first…I’m going to be a long distance runner” to which Peter Radcliffe replied, “yes dear, very good” and went back to his tea! When I mentioned this to Paula she had a very different recollection, “I definitely came first” she told me, revealing a competitive spirit that is never far away from the surface I suspect. But regardless of whose memory is correct, what both agree on is from that point Paula set about becoming the fastest long distance runner ever. Does she have the perfect technique? Many commentators have highlighted that it’s ungainly, and that’s being kind. Does she have a superior physique? Well she’s as fit as a fiddle but suffers from asthma and anaemia so hardly has the best hand ever dealt. Did she get off to a flying start? Well her school run aside, in her first race at national level, when she was 12 years old, she finished 299th in the English Schools Cross Country Championships – so no. But what she did was to train every day, compete at every opportunity and bit by bit, gradually improve until she was the one finishing first. Indeed in 1991, at 17 years old, she won the English Schools 1,500 metres title. She developed her edge by hard work and by putting herself up against the competition, not being afraid to come second or even 299th but to learn from the experience for the next race.
In the next few weeks we’re going to see which Lettings Agencies have got the edge as the judging for the Lettings Agency of the Year gets underway. And whilst the winner of the Best Innovation category is likely to have developed something new and different the winners of the regional awards and the overall winners are likely to be firms that are doing the ordinary things extraordinarily well. I’ve had many conversations with previous winners and note that in many cases they don’t believe that they are that much better or different, indeed a common comment is “we just work hard on improving our service to customers and find that this in turn helps our business improve” – it’s not that complicated.
Of course the only firms that win will be those that have entered the competition and already a number of Lettings Agents will have ruled themselves out saying “we’re not good enough” or worse “we haven’t got the time” which will mean that their competitors will win, and not just on the day but on every market appraisal too – it’s been proven time and again that a winners medal gives an an agency a definite edge over the rest. So do you want an edge? There’s still time to enter the most valuable awards in the Lettings industry.
To take part in The Lettings Agency of the Year Awards you must register by this Friday and then you have until Thursday 28th April to complete a simple questionnaire which should take no more than 60-90 minutes. Full details here.