In today’s episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast, we have Steven Cohen with us. He is an award winning, Wall Street Journal's claimed top realtor in Manhattan.
Steven Cohen’s Tip: “ Don't ask why, ask how? Because that is so powerful.”
Steven is recognized as one of Manhattan’s premier brokers, with more than $2.25 billion in sales to his name. He is consistently ranked by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top brokers nationally and in New York. In addition, Steven has received numerous accolades and awards including Broker of the Year and Deal of the Year.
Steven is a well-versed agent in both luxury resales and new developments, setting multiple sales records in prominent NYC buildings. He has a reputation as an accomplished and seasoned broker who is able to anticipate his clients’ needs, effectively evaluate the marketplace and subsequently, exceed his clients’ expectations. As a result, Steven enjoys a loyal clientele of repeat customers domestically and internationally, a strong referral base, and valuable contacts throughout the city.
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[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]
Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone! My name is Umar Hameed, I'm your host on The No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I've got a question for you, do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I'm gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed, not only remove it, but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there's one that propels you to much higher levels of performance and success. There's a link in the show notes, click on it to find out more. All right! Let's get started.
Umar Hameed 0:41
Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the No Limit Selling podcast today. We have Steven Cohen with us today from New York City. Welcome to the program.
Steven Cohen 0:49
Thank you Good to be here.
Umar Hameed 0:52
Steven, one of the things we were talking about, we were actually recording and the Internet Gods gonna, like spite us and stop the recording in the middle. So the question I was asking you was this, that, you know, when you lose a deal, you know, how do you brush it off? How you get how do you get back on track and focus on what's most important? And you said there were two elements that you used, that allowed you to just be more resilient and do it faster?
Steven Cohen 1:18
Yeah. So yeah, the the two one is just a case of practicality that I don't have the time or the luxury of time to wallow or feel sorry for myself, because thank God, we're busy enough. We have a number of other deals, always transacting, so I have to be in those. So I'd say that's first. And that's just a practical case of being busy. And you know, ask a, ask a busy person to get something done, and it will get done. The other is something I learned a long time ago, from a business coach who said to me, years ago, I was upset about something that didn't happen, or, and this person said to me, you're asking the wrong question, because I was essentially saying, Why me? And why is this happening? And she said to me, don't ask why, ask how? And that is so powerful. So it's not about for me, why is this happening? It's what can I do? How can I do? How can I do it differently? What could I have done differently? What can I learn from this? How can I learn from this? And that goes a long way for me. So in this particular case of a deal recently was a very large deal that didn't happen, we'll get another deal. It'll still happen, just not per se with this buyer or seller, or maybe it will. But it's a matter of I in that case, I felt like wow, I really did everything right. This could just be a case of as I said before, man makes plans and God laughs wants to be the deal.
Umar Hameed 2:49
So, two things kind of came up there as you were talking about that. Number one, I think How, is like a frickin amazing question. And dear agents, as you're listening to this, you know, when someone is looking for a home, you're saying, you know, what kind of home? Are you looking for a walk question, which is really important. But the one I like better is, how will you know you found the right house? And when you ask that question, people giving you their criteria of how they will know. And sometimes it's the first time they've ever actually thought about it.
Steven Cohen 3:17
I love that. I love that. I think I do that. But I've never thought about asking this. How will you know? That's great.
Umar Hameed 3:24
Yeah, and then also lets their spouse know.
Steven Cohen 3:27
Yeah, this is.
Umar Hameed 3:29
And then it's like, sir, how will you know, and then they'll give you their criteria. And then all of a sudden, you're like, marriage counseling. It's amazing.
Steven Cohen 3:37
A big part of our job.
Umar Hameed 3:40
Two is really, you know, Steven, I'm about to say something that may be shocking to you. You may not know this, but you're not dead yet. It's like when things happen. It's like it's it's as if you're going to die. And it's like, in your career, like the entirety of your life. Have you ever come close to financial calamity ever?
Steven Cohen 4:02
Umar Hameed 4:03
Yeah, lost a job or something like that happened?
Steven Cohen 4:07
Fortunately, not I've been in situations where I think I felt like, I hit my peak and how am I ever going to get higher? This is it. I've plateaued. I think it's more that. Yeah, I look back and I'm like, Oh my God, when you thought that look where you've come from there, look where you've come from there. Look where you've come from there. So..
Umar Hameed 4:27
So there is a book from Marcus Aurelius, the Emperor of Rome 323 BC, and every end of every chapter he had this one line so it's a chapter on you know, when friends treat you badly, who's more like going out interacting with friends. And the punchline was, well at least you're not dead yet. Then was talking about finances you may not be earning what you did and yes, this whole thing at the end is like they should not dead yet. And this kind of works to live by sometimes we get so focused on the negative that we're looking I think there's a quote from Helen Keller you know, when one door of opportunity closes, we're so busy looking at the door that shut that we missed the ones that opened.
Steven Cohen 5:05
That's right. Yeah. Listen, in a perfect world, we're living with that sensitivity and that awareness all the time. I mean, on the greatest level, it's this appreciation of everything happens for a reason. Is it easy to do that in every moment of every day? No, of course not. Because, again, we're human. And we get tied into what we think or how it should look or control it. But I think if you that's really a high level to know, in every moment, everything happens for a reason. And there's a, there's an expression in Yiddish called "Hushed Lutz", which means making your effort. And I say this to my team all the time. If you you know, if you just if you're doing what you're meant to be doing, you know, making calls always staying in touch with people reaching out to people activity breeds activity. And inevitably, when we do that, it's not like the for people, I pick up the call that day to stay in touch with, say, Oh, great, you know, come list this, or I want to buy this. But inevitably, I get a call from this person, I haven't talked to her that person, it's just making the hashtag loop making the effort, and then the then then it flows from there.
Umar Hameed 6:14
You open up the possibility, and I'm a firm believer that we hold on to our reality with a death grip. And if you're trying to take this pen away from me, you probably would, but it would take you a lot of time to do it. And when you start making the effort, you loosen your grip on reality, and you allow for possibilities. And I'm a firm believer in uh, you know, if you're talking to three or four people, then all of a sudden somebody that hasn't spoken to you in like 10 years calls you that day, because you're open to that possibility. And one of the things that, dear salespeople, I'm not sure why this works. But you know, you've probably got three or four people you're trying to get a hold off that you just cannot get a hold off. I guarantee if you get a hold of one of them one day, call the other three, immediately, you'll least get two of them that day. I'm not sure why that works. But somehow it always seems to work that they're all on stuck at the same time. They don't know each other. They're in different parts of the country. So yeah, and one of my favorite things from the Talmud is we do not see the universe as it is. We see the universe as we are. And all too often we're seeing the world through our eyes, you know, why don't they see it this way? And we really need to step in to go, Hmm, I wonder how they're seeing it. And just by asking that question, you get insights into what they might be seeing. And so let's say I get the insights that Steven isn't really sure about the neighborhood. All I need to do is say, Steven, so what do you think about the neighborhood? And it's an open ended question, and you get to articulate what you think. If I go, Steven, so you probably think this neighborhood is bad, which may not be true, in which case, it creates a disconnect, but just asking that question, and more times than not, if I Devine that's how Steven seeing it, then Steven is gonna say, Yeah, I know, gentrification is coming. I'm not sure how long and then all of a sudden, we're talking about a different the real issue as opposed to what we think the issue is.
Steven Cohen 8:07
Yeah, we started off by saying, we talked about there's the reality, and then there's the perception, and the perception and all of that. Yeah, it's so true. And we can so much is controlled by, you know, our thoughts. And, you know, I years ago, I watched the news, but I don't watch or read the news, like I used to all the time, every moment. And I say to people all the time, if it's that important, believe me, I'll find out about it, my partner will tell me about are enough people will be talking about it, believe me, I'll know. And then I can dive into it, or ask or research it. But but the point being that so much news is just negative, and that's not my job, my job is to go forward, be the best dad, I can be the best person, the best human, the best friend, the best broker for clients. And I don't need a lot of negative energy always coming at me, again, doesn't mean you have to be naive in any ways or live under a rock.
Umar Hameed 9:01
But like you said, you're going to find out someone's going to tell you, and it kind of takes me back to that 911 Like I was in Atlanta, and we're going to trade show. And just if we go one of the plane hits, and it's like, oh, wow, tragic accident. And then my wife was on the west coast called in a panic, saying, you know, another plane has hit the tower and I'm like, don't get around. It was my first reaction like that cannot be happening. But yeah, if something's happening, you'll find out See, here's a Steven, you seem someone that's, you know, highly successful. You've been at this for a while, there's been ups and downs. One of the things you said is, you know, when I look back and in my career, you know, I was over here thinking, you know, I've plateaued and now I'm over here, I improved. That didn't happen by magic, that you had to kind of notice that there's something a shortcoming in you or hey, I need to learn this. What are you learning right now? Now, so that Steven, you know, 7.0 emerges like what are the things you're focusing on? On you as a human being or a broker or a father? What are you working on right now to make you better?
Steven Cohen 10:12
That's a great question. I'd say that. The easiest answer right now one of the things I'm working on is patience in all areas, including with myself. And so patience is one thing. And then it's also appreciating and acknowledging where I am the level of what I've achieved and know I pretty much live in it, but really stepping into it are very fortunate and to kind of to own it, in essence. So..
Umar Hameed 10:46
I have several wishes for humanity and people. One of them you described it in a different way. But I'll articulated my way that savoring life, like taking the moment to really appreciate what you have, it just changes your mindset, being patient. And, and I think the phraseology used was even with myself, because sometimes we're the harshest critics on ourselves, I think cut yourself some slack. And I, here's what I've been working on. This is like my project. And I think my life's mission, like theory is love, where it's like, Oh, my God, I love my wife, or my girlfriend, or then this love for our children is love for our parents and his love for our country. But this is another thing that is a state of love. That is a state of being that you can get into. And one of the ways I experience it is, I'll be playing tennis. And I'll be doing okay. And then I just dropped down into this state of love. And instantly my game slows down, I'm more strategic time seems to be like this more time for me to hit back. I just time slows down. And when I cook, I can cook for people that I love. And that's nice. Or I can drop down into the state of love as I'm cooking. And it just changes the entire experience. Does any of what I'm saying makes sense to you?
Steven Cohen 12:14
Yeah, absolutely. First of all, I think that's beautiful state of love. I mean, there's so many books and so many different philosophies and thoughts on spirituality and many are most of them all come back to love. And I love that state of love. I'll say two things on it. The first is years ago and I don't know the practice or where it's quite from. But in essence, it's wishing love on to everyone so I'd get on the subway, you know, on a crowded subway on Morning wherever I was going in New York City and I would just look around. And I'd wish I just wish love on to everyone in the in the cart in the car, this car. So I'm literally just wishing love to the whole car. That was one thing. And then my daughter. I have two daughters, my little one. I sent her my four year old I asked Scarlett Why do i Why do I love you so much. My older one, I asked that she just gives me a kiss and says I love you too. But my little one, she's she's beyond that she doesn't have time. My little one, my four year old says to me because I have so much love in my heart.
Umar Hameed 13:22
Thank you for sharing that. And I think this from the mouths of babes. Because ultimately, if if I step into the place of love, it basically allows me to see the humanity in you more easily.
Steven Cohen 13:39
And you can only you can only give what you have part of so yeah, because she has so much love in her heart. I'm able to love her.
Umar Hameed 13:48
Yeah, and that is like brilliant. So this is my project, which is writing a book. I don't want to start writing in December. I've written a few books, but this one is going to be maybe three inches by three inches, and maybe 30 pages, something small. And all I want to do is teach people how to step into that place of love. I think that's the gist. Here are the five steps go do this. I don't know what they are yet. I can do it. But I'm no know what the hell I'm doing. So I'm researching and having this conversation. Yeah, so they can step in. And I think if we could do that for humanity, because at the end of the day, like one of the pivotal moments for me was they used to have this show called Donohue when I was going to high school and he was interviewing Paul Newman. And Newman had just come back from Russia when America had a hard on for Russia. And so Donahue says Don't they hate us. And Paul Newman says you know the average Russian. All he wants is a safe place for his family, food on the table and a better future for his kids. That's what the average American wants. And in my 14 year old mind back then it was like we're all the same. That's what everybody wants. It is. And if we realize that, and we focus on the sameness, it's like you love your daughter, and, you know, makes your heart smile. I mean, some dude, right now, in the jungles of Africa, the most important thing is his daughter is like, we're all the same. And if we could just become fearless, and just let go of our limitations, because we have a responsibility, like, Stephen, you have a responsibility to be your best self. Because when you do that, your daughters have this beacon of light that lets them know that they can actually grow into what they need to be. Because you talking about you can be anything you want. And I love you, and it's gonna be amazing is nice. But when you're stepping into that space and modeling it, this is where you let the agents that you lead the clients, your children have permission to let go of being less than and seeing the possibility of being exceptional.
Steven Cohen 15:57
Yeah, that's so true. I think that we're all in essence, I mean, pure souls when we're born and we're your souls. But there's, what's it from the musical South Pacific, there's a lyric that says, "You have to be taught before it's too late to hate all the people, your relatives hate." And I always think about that funny line that I learned when I was a little kid meaning a wait, you're taught hatred. You're taught hatred, and love. Hopefully, it's, it's natural, you can be taught to grow it and experience it. But hopefully, it's the natural state.
Umar Hameed 16:34
So when you were a baby, you know, for you, Steven, it was a long time ago, but when you maybe this photographs to prove that this happen. So when babies are born, they can't control anything. Pretty much. They're like just useless lumps. But one of the things they can control is their time. And Baby's days after they're born. If their mom goes to them like this, they will mimic it. Because we're hot wired, to connect with other human beings. We're not judgmental, we're just we're just learning machines. And we're connecting. And one of the ways we do that is to get into rapport with people. And babies, like days old, are hardwired to do that. And so ...
Steven Cohen 17:14
You are saying the baby will mimic the mother?
Umar Hameed 17:16
Yeah, that's the only thing that can control this their tongue. And they'll do the same thing back to their mom, and they'll stick their tongue back at their mom. And that's just a beautiful thing. And that's how babies learn is just by mimicking the moms and the dads and their siblings. And they go from being like nothing to just these amazing walking, talking, laughing, making jokes, and all that comes from those mirror neurons that allow us to do that. And like you said, as we grow up, we also pick up their biases and become less than. And I think Pablo Picasso said, you know, most people lose that childlike quality. I never lost mine, I fought to keep it. That's why I can paint that way. And, Steven, this has been such a delightful conversation, I've got three last questions for you. What brings you joy in your work?
Steven Cohen 18:05
What brings me joy in my work? I'm very fortunate a) to work in New York City. And because I'm in New York, and many of the, you know, I work with clients and brokers from other markets, but I get to meet really fascinating, interesting and successful people that turns me on and get to help them and advise them. But I'm very fortunate to be able to meet some really fascinating, incredible people.
Umar Hameed 18:34
Question number two, what's one piece of advice you'd like to share with our listeners that they could implement immediately and just start being happier, more productive, whatever that advice leads them to?
Steven Cohen 18:47
Well if, it's, if it's advice to a broker, or a new broker, I'd say, you can only be the best you possible. And so really just be you. There's enough business to go around. There are brokers who I look at and say, Why would very successful brokers there, you know, I respect a lot of people, but there are a few where I shake my head and say, why would anyone want to work with them? And guess what, they're super successful? And there are people that do and there are people that would want to work with them not for every pot. And it's what makes the world go round so you can only be the best you possible.
Umar Hameed 19:25
Brilliant. How about advice for mere humans, that are not brokers?
Steven Cohen 19:30
The same, people, I'd say it's the same of course. It's the be yourself, you can only be the best you you can possibly be.
Umar Hameed 19:37
I love that. Here's the last question which could be the toughest. What's the question? I should have asked you that I did not.
Steven Cohen 19:43
How did I get so handsome?
Umar Hameed 19:47
Blessed by God, mazel tov.
Steven Cohen 19:52
I think you've covered it all. I think, I think very interesting. This conversation went in a completely a much deeper level than I thought it was. Going to go which I loved, but in essence, right that's what it's all about. I think you've covered it all.
Umar Hameed 20:06
Umar Hameed 20:11
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