To start off, this is just another in a long list of posts that are related to “Your First Year in Real Estate”. It certainly won’t be the last, and probably won’t be the last on this site. Also, if you can keep the number of “rookie mistakes” you make to five, congratulations. You win Rookie of the Year. Hopefully this will help you avoid some mistakes that others out there have experienced and that I see on a pretty regular basis.
To preface the meat of this post, I have to say a few things about this list. First, none of these mistakes are fatal. You can make them and still turn out as a pretty good agent. Avoiding them will just help speed things along on the road to success for you. Second, this is not a 100% complete list. It’s just a list I made based on personal experience and coaching real estate sales people for a decade now, and some input from a friend who coaches agents and is pretty darn good at it. There are other mistakes you can, and most likely will, make. Remember, and not to sound cliché, it’s a journey. Learn from the mistakes and move on. Finally, if you read this list and realize that you’ve made one of these mistakes, that’s ok. Don’t worry. It can be fixed. Nothing in this crazy real estate world is that permanent, especially in your first year or two. Now, let’s get going…
1. Not Branding Yourself
I know, I know. You just took your exam and got sponsored and you think that your Broker/Brokerage/Parent Company/Coach/Kool-Aid Deliverer is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s an exciting time. It really is. I’m not just being a smart-ass to make a point. I’ve been there.
There is a little secret that I would like to tell you, though. You’ll probably change brokerages at some point in your career (This is not true of any of my agents that happen to be reading this. Y’all just skip this part). It may seem unthinkable, but the number of agents that have stayed at the same brokerage for an entire career is extremely small. So, brand yourself before you brand your Broker. Get your own domain name and your own email address associated with that domain: firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, according to NAR stats, only 3% of people care who you work for. This is a people business. They are buying you, not your Broker. Build your brand, not your Broker’s.
2. You Don’t Focus on Learning
Listen, your education didn’t end when you took that exam. In fact, I can tell you without hesitation that your education didn’t really begin until you took that exam. Most state regulated courses leading up to the exam are a joke and have no practical application in the real world. If you aren’t enrolled in classes (hopefully with your Broker), a mentorship, coaching or something like that a) you chose the wrong Broker, and b) you need to figure that out quickly. Also, start reading, listening to and watching podcasts, surf the web for coaching videos, etc. Follow smart people online, sign-up for webinars, shadow experienced agents. In other words, make learning a top priority in your business. When you aren’t doing something to make you money, you should be learning something that will.
3. Not Putting Systems and Processes in Place
It may not seem like it right now, but, at some point, time becomes your greatest asset and your biggest limitation. There will come a time when you will be so busy that the idea of stopping for a day or two to add systems and processes into your business will seem crazy. The problem is that you will have to do just that or risk stagnation. So, a real simple solution is to put them in place from day one. They don’t have to be perfect, but they do need to be there. You can adjust as you need to. Marketing, customer service, follow-up, transaction management, and database management are just a few areas to focus on. Without scalable systems and processes in place early in your career, your business will suffer later down the road.
NOTE: Don’t spend all of your time doing this. An hour a day or so will be just fine. This isn’t busy work so you can avoid doing real work. You don’t want six months to pass and all you’ve done is organize your contacts.
4. Not Using a CRM Software
We’ve talked about this before, but I just can’t emphasize the importance. Organizing your database, creating perpetual follow-up protocol, and automating as much of it as you can is pivotal to your success, especially at a time when you are initially building your brand awareness. That’s it. There’s nothing else to say. Find one and use it. Remember, the right CRM is the one you actually use. Play with a bunch and find the one that works best for you. Use a CRM or be SOL.
5. Focusing on the Outcome, Not the Input
If nobody told you in your interviews with a broker, let me be the first to break this news to you: success in real estate is not easy. This isn’t HGTV. You don’t just get a license and then the producers show up outside your house and start filming. Real estate is a grind. It’s a game for hustlers. The ones that are willing to do the work, and do it consistently, every f’ing day, are the ones that are making the money here. If that isn’t for you, take your ass back to what you were doing last week. If you’re willing to do the work, focus on the work. Keep your nose to the grindstone and the results will come. They will. I promise. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t get mad (unless that kind of thing motivates you) when a friend uses another agent. Suck it up, put on your big boy/girl panties and move on to the next task. Focus on what you can control. The results will follow with hard work, consistency, and patience.
There you have it. Now, take your ass back to work.