An interoffice message pops up on your screen. The tagline reads: "1-Year Celebration!"
An invitation is extended to everyone for cake in the break room. One year ago, you walked into the office for your first day on the job. You were eager to sell houses.
Boy, did you have a lot to learn.
If you only knew then, right?
During the meeting, a few veterans joke about the times you probably attempted to forget — but shouldn't.
Everyone makes mistakes, especially early in their careers. Rookie real estate agents certainly are not immune. Given the sheer number of new situations agents encounter, it's simply impossible not to make mistakes — both big and small.
During lunch, the same vets started teasing each other about their monumental early career lapses. It's a cycle, and someday, if you continue to effectively digest industry lessons, you'll take center stage with your own battle stories.
To help cut down on familiar pitfalls, here are five “do not” scenarios and advice for young agents:
1. ...Detour from a sound business plan
In any type of business, the most successful people have strong business plans and stick to them. Real estate agents are no different, establishing goals that follow basic principles of specific measurements and achievable, timely results.
Like household bills, monthly budgets should not be ignored. It's one of the true tests. If a monthly budget consistently disintegrates without much evidence of business growth, well, it's safe to assume the foundation will not hold over the long haul.
Advice: Chronicle every expense, from coffee and lunch with clients to gas. Extra data charges? Expense it.
2. ...Be out of touch
In our mobile universe, there are few excuses for failing to communicate with potential or current clients.
By staying on top of communications, you'll be one step ahead of the majority of your peers, new and old. Of the biggest complaints clients have about their home-buying experiences, a lack of communication with their agents is generally near the top of the list.
And yet, it's a duty that takes little effort, just energy. While there is still no substitution for talking to a client on the phone, a quick text or email can go a long way to maintaining a comfort level with clients.
Advice: Set aside an hour each morning to connect with hot and cold prospects.
3. ...Be a "Yes" Realtor
Over-promising can be the biggest hurdle for a lot of rookie Realtors. Not saying "no" to obvious negotiation hurdles will only create stress down the road.
Most overbearing buyers are obvious, some obnoxious. Being able to professionally fend off requests such as lowering your commission will aid in establishing a rapport to negotiate a good deal.
Advice: Grow thick skin fast.
4. ...Fail to establish a contingency plan
Confidence in your ability is paramount to sales success, true. But there is one industry factor you can do nothing about: fluctuating markets.
There will be times when dealing with properties can seem like you're dealing a five-card stud poker game at a swanky Las Vegas casino. Other times? You'll feel like you're trying to sell ice in a snow storm.
As sure as you should be in knowing markets will rise, know that they also will fall. Often, young agents are more focused on getting deals than planning for the future. Smart new agents have backup plans.
Advice: Save a percentage of each paycheck for the inevitable rough times.
5. ...Alter consistent client communications
How often has a young agent met a client in front of a property and spoke glowingly of its assets?
Agent: "Oh, you are going to love it. It has everything you want. Are you ready to take a look?"
Then inside …
Client: "Well … I really don't like the layout … there are only two bathrooms on the second floor … the yard is too small for our two dogs …"
Agent: "Yeah, I really didn't like this property from the start. I have a few other ideas …"
Suddenly, creditability is lost.
Advice: Remain consistent with your commentary to customers. No flip-flopping.
As your one-year anniversary celebration winds down, the office veteran who serves as your de facto mentor takes center stage. He jokes about your first deal’s paperwork pileup: "We had an office-wide shortage of staples for a week..." He jokes about the initial hesitant, sputtering cold calls: "Um, hello...this is...um, I'm calling to...um, do you have time to discuss ... um, I have the perfect property..."
A moment later, however, he focuses his speech on your improvements, concentrating on the lessons you learned.
- Like the way you learned to forage for your own leads and not be so dependent on the broker.
- Like the way you learned to live and work with high moral fiber, not taking short-cuts and treating clients with respect.
- Like the way you learned to receive mentorship and retain high ambitions and high character.
- Like the way you learned that no matter how much experience you gained during the first year, you have displayed an eagerness to continue career tutelage.
The office veteran ends the celebration by confirming just how much you are maturing into a true professional.
Young agents are not the only ones who make mistakes. You should never shy away from learning new information.
On-the-job experience can be enhanced by adapting to changes and learning from mistakes. Extra effort has always proven to be a blanket for mistakes. With a passion to improve, shortfalls can be overlooked.
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