Being successful in the real estate industry is not easy but many people get their licenses thinking that it will be. This may explain why, according to the National Association of REALTORS’® 2017 Member Profile, 56% of agents with two years’ or less experience make less than $10,000/year. It’s difficult to know what to expect as a new agent.
EXIT Realty Corp. International recently asked hundreds of real estate professionals, “Looking back to when you first started, what’s the one thing you wish you’d known then about a career in real estate?”. The recurring theme among their responses was wishing they knew how much work and additional learning would be required of them after becoming licensed. The licensing course generally deals with governmental rules and regulations but doesn’t cover how to run your business, how to get and keep clients and how to develop the thick skin needed in a highly competitive industry. Here are the three major learning curves agents need to master before feeling successful and in control of their real estate career:
- Developing personal resilience
When you’re new to the industry, you come to realize there are peaks as high as Mount Everest and valleys lower than the Marianas Trench. Rejection is constant, paychecks are unsteady, and the stress can be overwhelming. Before you can get a handle on your business, you need to learn how to control your emotions. This means employing strategies for stress control, time management, and financial planning.
Rejection can be stressful and it’s hard not to take it personally. It’s important that you understand that when somebody rejects your service, they are not rejecting you as an individual; they are simply saying that now is not the right time for them. Monitor your inner monologue and see whether your self-talk is contributing to or hindering a positive attitude. Be kind to yourself and your attitude will follow.
When you’re your own boss, it’s easy to cut yourself slack at every opportunity. However, it’s important to understand the role and responsibilities of a boss. It’s up to you to set realistic goals, plan a timeline of when and how you will achieve those goals, keep motivated, manage your time, be accountable and propel your business. Understand the difference between “busy work” and the type of work that helps grow your business. Remember that it’s easy to fill a day with work, the real challenge is filling a day with productive work.
Lastly, understanding money management is a hurdle we all face, but it is even more critical in real estate with the inconsistency of your paychecks. Working out your budget and expenses, eliminating unnecessary costs, putting money aside for taxes and saving as much as you possibly can month-to-month goes a long way towards regulating your emotions. Building a nest egg helps alleviate the pressure that accumulates during a slow period.
- Learning the ins and outs of the industry
Your license may qualify you to sell real estate, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be any good at it. The first thing you’ll notice is that clients are not actively seeking you. Developing the necessary skill set involves broadening your understanding of marketing, prospecting, lead generation, client retention, and organizational systems. Fortunately, there are many companies offering tools and services that can help streamline these processes. For EXIT associates, there are many high-quality suppliers that have partnered with EXIT’s Ancillary Network found on EXIT associate's Resource Center.
There are two fundamental principles that will help guide your business. The first is the Pareto Principle, which is more commonly known as the 80/20 rule. The idea behind this principle is that 20% of your investments are responsible for 80% of the results. In real estate this can be applied to networking, marketing, and time management. The goal is to identify which activities are part of the 20% and make those your focus. If most of your referrals come from 20% of your social network, you want to direct your attention to them. The second principle is based on an old saying, “What gets measured gets managed”. This is an important principle when it comes to evaluating your progress, achieving your goals, and assessing the return on your investments. Actively measuring your progress helps to keep you accountable and allows you to track what is and isn’t working.
- Understanding that you’re not alone
There are many support structures available to real estate agents, however a lot of agents don’t know where to look. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right brokerage. These are some of the questions you should be asking: do they have strong leadership, what’s their reputation, what’s the commission split, are there opportunities to further your education, is the culture a good fit, how will you receive leads and prospects, do they offer any marketing incentives, are there any expenses, is there an opportunity to earn additional income, is there a retirement plan or “exit” strategy, will you have access to any mentors? EXIT is built on the five pillars of training, branding, technology, culture and the opportunity to earn additional income through a process known as sponsoring which provides stability to the otherwise unpredictable income of a real estate professional. The right brokerage can be an excellent resource for encouragement and growth, so be careful with your selection and ask the right questions.
A new career in real estate can seem daunting, but with the right mindset, tools, and adequate training it doesn’t need to be. Remember that everyone has to start from somewhere, and if you tackle these three points early on in your career, you will be way ahead of the game.