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Ask McEnearney: What can Ted Lasso teach us about real estate?

This week’s Q&A column is written by Karisue Wyson, Director of Recruiting & Agent Support at McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article, contact Karisue at 703-615-0876 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What Can Ted Lasso Teach Us About Real Estate?

Answer: One of the best things I discovered during the pandemic was “Ted Lasso” on Apple TV+, and I know I wasn’t the only one who connected with the sheer positivity that permeates each and every episode.

For the uninitiated, “Ted Lasso” is about an American football coach who is drafted to lead a ragtag U.K. football club (what Americans call soccer) and find a path to victory amid monumental challenges. It’s a classic fish-out-of-water trope that completely rises above expectations to deliver what viewers needed most in a time of doubt, loss and fear: a reason to hope and dream of bigger things.

Photo via Apple TV+

I think about Ted Lasso, the leader, as I speak with people who are thinking about starting a new career in real estate or who are seasoned agents looking to elevate their business goals. In anticipation of the release of the second season of this delightful show (July 23!), here are a few of the parallels between sports and the competitive world of real estate and the lessons you can learn from Coach Lasso:

1. Be ready to step outside your comfort zone

When Ted Lasso arrives in the U.K., he has to learn not only a new sport but a new “language,” culture and rhythm. Even if you’ve had experience buying, selling or renting your own home, being the one in charge of ensuring the transaction goes smoothly for your clients is a whole new world.

Now, you are expected to know contractual language clearly enough to explain it accurately to others. Now, you are a part of a network of professionals who are each the CEO of their own startup companies, each with their approach to real estate and each with their own expectations of you. Now, you are an independent contractor who doesn’t necessarily have office hours or a “boss” to report to on a daily basis, but you have clients who deserve constant attention, other agents who are calling you for information at all times of the day and a brokerage that is invested in your success. AND, you have to manage your family, friends and business contacts in the process.

Be prepared for a steep learning curve and look for leaders who will help support you. There’s an oft-repeated statistic that 87% of new agents will be out of real estate by their fifth year. If you are taking the risk to embark on a challenging new path, make sure you identify brokerages with strong training, mentoring and coaching programs that are as invested in your career as you are.

2. Know yourself but also get to know others

One of the most endearing traits of Ted Lasso is his ability to connect with others, chiefly by leveling the field — he knows his skills and limitations and is not ashamed to own both — and by letting people know that he values them and what they bring to the table.

As a Realtor® you will meet many people who have a different approach to a transaction, whether that is a competing agent in a sale, a power-player client or a colleague who moves in the same circles you do. Take the time to know the people with whom you are interacting, and you will be rewarded greatly!

There are many books that will help you identify personality types and negotiation styles (some are listed at MCEReads on Amazon) that will help you understand motivation and sidestep potential roadblocks to a smooth deal. It’s also an important skill because real estate is a business built on RELATIONSHIPS. If you can’t find a way to connect with people, to listen to them and to hear them, it is going to be harder to build your business through trust and referrals, and you might strongly consider a different career path. Which leads to…

3. Surround yourself with people you want to work with

Ted Lasso can appear to cynics like he’s a happy-go-lucky doofus who isn’t really good at what he does. He ignores them. Instead, he stays focused on the people he knows will listen to him and help lead others to the successful outcome they all want.

While many agents do build their business via purchased leads — people you don’t already have a relationship with but have been identified by algorithms or a direct brokerage inquiry to be in the market to buy or sell a home — it takes a lot more work to get those leads to the “know-like-trust” client stage than the people you have already been interacting with on a personal and professional level.

When I was an active agent, I used this mantra: “I only want to work with people who want to work with me.” It sounds easy, but when you are new and hustling for every lead you can uncover, it pays to focus on those people ready to hire you as their trusted advisor in their real estate goals. This means developing a comprehensive Sphere of Influence (SOI) of contacts who will become the foundation of your business and refer new clients to you. Your SOI starts with a list of all the people you know — family, friends, former coworkers, those in your social and civic circles, your doctor/dentist/hairstylist/mechanic, your parenting groups, the list goes on! — and their contact information. You can then work with your Broker or mentor to categorize those groups into sections that will yield different approaches to outreach, marketing and referral requests. The important thing to remember is that each person on this list is someone you would want to have a relationship with even if you weren’t a Realtor®. As you build your business, you want to ensure that the people who are with you are cheering you on!

As you develop your skills and knowledge about real estate, you’ll have many wins and losses (and maybe even a few draws). Both Ted Lasso and I want you to take away from the experience is to BELIEVE: in the value of others as much as yourself, that you need a good team standing behind you if you’re going to get anywhere and that a positive mental attitude will get you further than you can imagine.

To join the winning team of McEnearney Associates — or just to talk about your favorite Ted Lasso moments — call me at 703-615-0876 and visit us at

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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