5 Things Barbara Corcoran Taught Me About Natural-Born Salespeople

5 Things Barbara Corcoran Taught Me About Natural-Born Salespeople

If you work in sales or real estate, you know Barbara Corcoran; She’s the O.G. real estate queen, original Shark Tank shark, and overall powerhouse businesswoman who sold The Corcoran Group for $66 million. But what you don’t know is that she grew up as the middle child, was a waitress at the Fort Lee Diner, and almost lost her business entirely during an economic downturn. The reason she ended up becoming a hugely successful entrepreneur was this: Barbara is a natural-born salesperson. Whatever “it” is, she has it. And here are five things I learned when I recently sat down with her.

1. Natural-born salespeople thrive on competition.

“If I could say one thing that prepared me for the real estate career—that I enjoyed—it was the ability to compete, and I learned it at home. How did I compete? I became the most creative child,” she said. “I could open up rock stores and sell rocks, I could put on Broadway plays in the basement on a rainy day, I could get my parents’ attention—and that was a huge advantage going into this crazy, wacky business.”

2. They don’t let fear of failure hold them back.

When Barbara started The Corcoran Group, “I don’t think I ever had the thought for a moment that I might fail,” she said. “The reason for it is that I was so busy building that I had no time to give anything any thought.”

3. When the chips are down, they get creative.

“I don’t know what year it was but nothing was going on. Two-thirds of my competitors in New York City were down, I had no cash, I had no receivables, I had whining salespeople, and I actually thought of announcing the business was closing,” she said. “But, funny enough about adversity—it popped into my head, ‘The One Day, One Price Sale,’ and I made a million dollars one week later—in two hours—selling 88 unwanted apartments at the same price to a line of people that didn’t know they wanted to buy—until they were going fast.”

4. They don’t wait to expand.

While most people would be hugging that stack of money and carefully plotting their next move, Barbara moved full steam ahead, right away. “I opened another office that same week, as my competitors continued to go out of business,” she said.

5. They go against the grain.

None of Barbara’s local competitors thought those 88 units could be sold. Instead of looking at them as impossible, she looked at them as an opportunity. “I created a market that everyone said was not there,” she said. If she had gone with popular opinion, she would have failed just like the rest of the competition. Luckily, Barbara’s innate drive to compete kicked in just when she needed it the most. “You never know what you’re made of until the chips are against the wall,” she said.

Want more? Listen to my full Big Money Energy podcast episode with Barbara Corcoran here. Got another guest you’d love to hear me interview? Leave a comment with your suggestion below.