So one of the trickiest things I have had to learn in my career is how to back myself. Not just in a ‘yeah…maybe…I can kinda do this’ I mean in a ‘bring it on and fight me on this’ kinda way.
Let’s start at the beginning shall we?
When I first started Valuations I had no idea, literally zero, on how to do a property valuation. I remember the first objection I was handed and had to determine whether or not their Rating and Taxation Valuation was correct. I went through all the sales I could find, came up with a spreadsheet analyses which was waaay bigger than it needed to be, and showed my boss with my opinion that the valuation was correct. He agreed so I was all ready to call up this objector and let them know their valuation was correct and wasn’t going to change.
So at the ripe old age of 19 I picked up the phone, called the objector and let him know my decision. Lo and behold he didn’t agree with me (I must say 19 year old me was quite surprised though apparently no-one else was – that’s naivety for you hey!) and questioned me, my sales, my analyses, anything and everything I could think of. So you want to know what I did? Even with all the evidence in front of me and approval from my manager that the valuation was correct – I caved and reduced the valuation. This was my very first lesson in backing myself!
Luckily, my boss was expecting this course of events and sat me down afterwards, took me through the phone conversation and explained where I could have taken the conversation and how to steer it in that direction.
Six and half years later I have a reputation as the Valuer who won’t go down without a fight, I am a manager whom people come to and ask how to get their points across and I know when I make a decision (in regards to a valuation) I am going to stick with it and justify it – because you know what? I’ve learned how to back myself.
This is such a tricky question to answer specifically for everyone but today I am going to go through the tricks which work best for me!
Preparation preparation preparation! Oh did I say preparation? When I have a phone call, or a face to face meeting or even at a Valuers conference I go in armed with the evidence I have used to reach my valuation. I have it neatly arranged (this is important as you don’t want to look like a goose fluttering around to find a piece of paper that you actually left on your desk!), with all my notes next to each individual sale so if I lose my train of thought or get flustered I have my thoughts already written down so I can re-centre myself and continue kicking butt!
Another important lesson I learnt through dealing with objectors (and this may sound a tad cliche) is that we do not have to agree on everything, they don’t have to agree with my opinion and I do not have to agree with theirs. As much as it would make life easier if everything ended up in a nice little tied together bow we all know this is just wishful thinking. In addition to this, I have learnt that just because I believe I am right doesn’t mean I am always going to be able to convince them of this. Sometimes the best thing is to just agree to disagree and move on. Some of my favourite phrases are;
- “We have both stated our side and opinions and it appears we are not going to be able to resolve this so I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree:
- “Sir/Madam it appears we are just going around in circles here. What I am going to do is send out the objection form **insert your specific procedure here**, please fill this out and return it by XX and we will go from there.”
- “Sir/Madam I understand where you are coming from (empathy is golden) but I believe you may not have considered XX”
If I were to wish upon a star I would ask to be exactly where I am now…
One of my favourite quotes of all time comes from a podcast I listen to called ‘She’s on the Money’ and it goes “Know your worth, then add tax”. This quote resonated with me because I saw how applicable it was to all aspects of my life including my work. Knowing my worth means not settling for anything less than I deserve – it means accepting what I think is appropriate and respecting myself to not be taken advantage of. Recently, to me it meant not undercutting myself when I had to propose a salary which I thought was fair and reasonable for the work I know I am going to be undertaking.
All the lessons I have learnt in the work context are easily able to be attributed to my everyday life. I have recently gotten a new job in a company which wasn’t advertising for a position. I did my research and knew that I would be a valuable addition to their team. So I backed myself and asked them if they would consider creating a role for me so I could be a part of their team, and you want to know what happened? They said yes!!!
Funnily enough I almost didn’t send the email – I almost didn’t ask the question because there was that pesky little voice in my brain telling me I shouldn’t – telling me I wouldn’t be a valuable member of the team. And boy am I glad I didn’t listen to that voice because I got my dream job because of it.
So ladies and gents as tricky as it sounds, believe in yourself and back yourself and you will end up exactly where you want to be!