I’d love to portray a strong demeanor and say that nothing in my real estate practice fazes me, but that would be a lie. Because of lost deals, mistakes made, and periods of months without a paycheck I have had some tough times. There are days that beat me down and make me question my career, my business strategies, even my personality and demeanor. Does any of this sound familiar? So how do we deal with these disappointments in real estate? How do we grow a strong practice while staying strong mentally and emotionally?
FIRST YEAR IN THE BUSINESS
Statistics show that 80% of new real estate agents don’t make it to their one year anniversary. This incredibly high attrition rate proves that discouragement and disappointment are rampant in the real estate industry. Even the small percentage that make it to years two and three find that the early years of starting a practice are not easy! Amidst these difficult times, here are some helpful things to remember:
1) Persistence pays off
A good real estate friend of mine started his career in real estate 10 years ago. After 2 brutal years in the business with only a handful of homes sold and a tremendous amount of debt incurred, he contemplated quitting. However, after much thought and encouragement from his wife he stuck with it. Since then, he has won the N.A.R.’s “Top 30 Under 30” award and averages $50,000,000+ in sales each year. Suffice it to say, his persistence paid off! So if you didn’t begin your career with a bang and win “Rookie of the Year,” don’t worry, you are amidst good company.
2) If it was easy, everyone would do it
Making a good living while working for yourself is an incredible luxury. Who wouldn’t want to avoid tough bosses, low pay and punching a time clock? If there was an easy route to becoming a successful real estate agent, everyone in the world would do it. But the fact is, it is not easy! They say if you live your life like no one wants to now, then you can live your life like no one can later. Invest in yourself and pay your dues now.
LOST LISTINGS OR BUYERS
When I started my career, I was under the impression that there would be a point where I would never lose business. My talent and success would be so renowned that I would win every listing I competed for and represent every buyer in town. This ideology turned out to be false (as I’m sure you saw coming), but for reasons I did not expect.
1) It’s not me, it’s you
The exact same reasons I gain some business are the reasons I lose other business. Here is what I mean. Most buyers and sellers are attracted to our high-volume practice because they want experienced agents that will get the job done. However, occasionally clients think that we are too busy with our other deals and they won’t get the attention they desire. So some clients want a successful agent and some want a slow one? How can I win them all? The answer: I can't.
Another example that will strike a familiar chord with younger agents has to do with my age. Some clients think that I am too young and want an agent with a bit more grey hair (ironically they usually end up with an older agent with less experience than me – age means nothing). Conversely, I sold a home last month with a seller who said a major factor in her decision to work with me was my young age; she valued my innovative marketing and energetic personality. The moral of the story? Be confident in who you are because you can’t please everybody.
2) Everything happens for a reason
Last year I lost out on a $1.4 million listing to another local agent. That property is still on the market – for $1.6 million. That poor agent has spent a tremendous amount of her time and money dealing with an unrealistic seller. Thank goodness I dodged that bullet! Sometimes it is best not to be the first agent!
I could spend hours typing other examples just like this, but for the sake of time just remember that everything happens for a reason so don’t let it affect you. Continue to be yourself, run your business and move on to the next deal.
TRANSACTIONS/CLIENTS FROM HELL
We’ve all been there before. The buyers lose financing, the inspector finds mold, the seller gets hit by a bus the day before escrow closes. Stuff happens! So how do we continue to enjoy life and “keep on keepin’ on” amidst the turmoil?
1) Stay strong, you are the professional
Buyers and sellers are allowed to get emotion and irrational; this is not their daily job. We, on the other hand, are the professionals involved and need to stay calm. Act like you have been there before and be the stability that your client needs.
2) Don’t give disproportionate attention to the bad
My natural inclination is to only focus on the difficult deals and completely forget the ones that go quickly and smoothly. Amidst the hard times think back to the homes that sold with fun clients in 30 days to an all cash buyer. They all even out in the long run!
3) Know when to say "uncle"
No commission is worth your health or family life. I end up firing a few clients each year that prove themselves to be more hassle than worth. Don’t think of these clients as lost business, but gained business. In the time you would have spent running in circles with these terrible clients you will sell multiple homes; trust me.
DON’T FIND YOUR IDENTITY IN YOUR BUSINESS
If you find your identity in your business, your happiness will look a lot like the stock market – up and down. You cannot control the market so don’t even attempt to. Control the foundations in which you find your joy and allow business to be separate. True joy does not follow market fluctuations!
So work hard, enjoy every single day and have fun!