Though failure is common in the real estate industry, there are agents who get into the business and close 20, 30 or 40-plus homes their first year.

  • Starting off on the right foot is key to being successful in real estate, so be sure to chose the brokerage/team that’s right for you, and learn the skills you need to be self-sufficient.

Though failure is common in the real estate industry, there are real estate agents who get into the business and close 20, 30 or 40-plus homes their first year.

Imagine earning that type of income right out of the gate. You too can make this happen when you treat real estate as a career.

Below, you’ll find five ways that people fail and a few things you can do to ensure your success.

5 ways to fail fast

Don’t: Sign on with the first company you talk to

Too often, real estate agents only talk to one company before agreeing to go to work. There is no such thing as a one size fits all.

You must interview a few companies to make sure that you find the company that fits your style and the vision you have for your future.

Don’t: Decide to work from home too early in the game

The freedom to work from home is so tempting. But, if you want to be on the fast track to stabilizing your income, you need to surround yourself with mentors and top agents who can show you how the business is done.

Too often, agents don’t have any leads, so they stay home and miss out on the many learning opportunities they would get if they were in the office around other agents.

Don’t: Join a top agent team too fast

Top agents love to bring people on their real estate team to leverage your time to generate additional leads for them. This doesn’t make them bad — yet, this may not work out well for your future. Don’t agree too soon!

Take your time to learn the company, learn the different directions you can take your business in, and then decide if working on a team is right for you.

When you learn the business right, you may be the person wanting to build your own team versus helping someone else build theirs.

Don’t: Rely on someone else to provide you leads

It may sound great to work with a company that promises to give you a lot of leads, but what happens when they decide to redirect those leads to another agent?

Where does that leave you? Do your research, and look at the company’s production, and you may see a conflict between the promises they make and the results they get.

Don’t: Work part time

Starting in the business as a part-timer could be risky. A career in real estate is a true profession, and it takes time to learn the business.

So the more time you have to invest in learning, the more likely you will succeed. If you have limited time to invest in your career, then make sure you invest that time in learning and lead generation.

Unfortunately, these are just a few ways that people start off a real estate career on the wrong foot. It is important to learn from others’ mistakes and avoid these pitfalls if you want to experience success in the industry.

Now that you know what not to do, start applying the next five steps to put you on the fast track to success.

5 ways to avoid failure 

Do: Join a company that coaches

There is a big difference in training and coaching. Most companies offer similar yet ineffective training programs where you sit in front of a computer and read an article or watch a video.

Look for that company where you can watch those videos — that also offers coaching and allows you to mentor under a top agent, go on live presentations and gives you access to a coach who can discuss your progress.

Do: Look at the numbers 

There are companies out there that will tell you they coach, but really don’t. Make sure you research the company and look at its average per person production (PPP).

The PPP numbers will tell you how well the agents are performing under the coaching of that company. If the average PPP is low, it means the agents are not getting what they need to succeed, and you should stay away!

The proof is in the numbers!

Do: Learn the language

Real estate is a conversation, and like any other profession, you must know what to say at all times.

In real estate, you are responsible for handling one of the largest financial decisions that a person will ever make in their lifetime.

Take it seriously, and don’t just wing it.

Do: Learn scripts, but don’t be a robot

Imagine you’re a doctor; you wouldn’t go into an important surgery and just wing it. You wouldn’t go into a surgery without knowing exactly what to do, or not having practiced it over and over.

It is important that you practice the conversation over and over again to make sure that you are confident in what you are saying, and your clients are confident with using you as their agent.

Agents who are succeeding at the highest level are the ones who take the business serious and master their craft.

Learning the art of conversation is a three-step process:

  1. Memorize: Yes, you have to memorize the script like you did as a kid. Repeat it over and over again until you no longer need your script book.
  2. Internalize: You must understand why you are asking certain questions and making certain statements. Once you have a deep understanding of the process, you will be more confident in your conversations.
  3. Personalize: Once you have the script memorized and you understand why you are saying what you are saying — make it yours. By this time you no longer sound like a robot. You are allowing your personality to shine through, and the conversation sounds natural.

Do: Learn to self-generate

There is nothing wrong with starting a career investing in a few leads, but if you are not the generator of your own leads, then you are forever at the mercy of the company.

There are many forms of lead generation. You can take an aggressive approach and start calling expireds, FSBOs or cold call.

Or you can warm up to lead generation by starting with family, friends and generating referrals from the people you already know.

It’s important that your hand controls the lead flow. Take all the leads a company will give you, but always build a portion of your business on top of a personal generation platform.

Don’t forget follow-up

Poor lead follow-up is likely responsible for more income loss than any other aspect of our real estate business. It’s amazing to see how many agents will fail to return a buyer call, a seller call or follow up after the appointment.

You want to make follow-up your strength!

When someone calls you, answer immediately or at least act with urgency to get back with the caller immediately. Consumers will not wait long for you to get back with them, so the longer you wait, the less likely you will earn their business.

After an appointment, call them back within two hours, and check to see if they have any questions. Then, call them every day until they do business with you.

A strong follow-up strategy will win you more business than you could ever imagine.

Build a database

A database is an asset that you can build over time and pays out long term.

Imagine being five years into your career and receiving come-list-me calls from people who are in your database. This is not a fantasy, there are agents all across the country who are building and communicating to their database and getting a huge annual return.

 The key with building a database:

  1. Add everyone you knew yesterday and everyone you meet today.
  2. Segment your database into buyer, seller, subdivision or building name.
  3. Include address, email, home number and cell number.
  4. Use a CRM that allows for drip and mass email distribution.
  5. Add names daily.
  6. Communicate to your database a minimum of once per month.

It’s simple: show up, be willing to learn, understand there will be hiccups, adjust when things aren’t going right — and enjoy the process.

Greg Harrelson is the owner of Century 21 The Harrelson Group in Myrtle Beach. Follow him on Twitter.

Email Greg Harrelson

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