• Even experienced pros take themselves, their clients and their databases for granted. These mistakes are costly to one’s career.

No matter how long you’ve been in the real estate business, we all fall into old habits and similar routines at some point. As a 20-year real estate veteran, I’ve seen a lot of mistakes made, even by the most seasoned real estate agents. Here are five of my favorites.

Not managing your energy

What do I mean by that? As real estate agents, we’re always expected to be “on” for our clients.

They don’t want to see you in anything less than a happy, shiny mood; to deliver full-wattage customer service and turn that enthusiasm up to a level 10 when required, you need to proactively manage your personal battery.

That means investing time into things you might consider nonproductive, but that are crucial to your ongoing success, like eating right, ensuring you get enough sleep, meditation, active relaxation — like time off or holidays — and exercise, my own personal passion.

I shed accumulated negative thoughts and emotions, and at the same time, recharge my resilience, focus and energy levels via physical exertion.

It might seem counter intuitive — expending energy to create it — but I find it works. It’s natural for energy levels to fluctuate, but make sure you do what’s required to avoid draining yourself and having that battery drained.

Taking the client for granted

This is something you would never make the conscious decision to do, but it can happen if you run on autopilot for too long.

You know what works, you have great processes in place and patterns of behavior that generate success. But even at cruise, your attitude dial needs regular adjustment!

Remind yourself to step into your client’s shoes. Look at yourself through your competitor’s eyes.

Be observant. Don’t get distorted. Stay hungry. Always be smiling.

Maintain high service levels, return calls and emails, follow up and act promptly for each and every client no matter what stage the relationship is in.

Complacency is the enemy of progress.

Misunderstanding what a database is and what it can do

I know you know what a database is — we’ve all got them. The mistake here is mistaking your database for your contacts list: just those people you’re currently in touch or have crossed paths with in the past few months.

A database is more than the modern equivalent of an address book. It’s an information archive that you should be obsessed with and mining on a regular basis.

Ensure you have the disciplines in place to both collect the right information and the time to create a variety of conversations with everyone in your database, regardless of how long they’ve been on it or how much you like them!

Segmenting your database and staying in touch with appropriate messages has never been easier with the use of technology and software.

People talk, which makes your database a passive customer service portal and lead generation tool when you use it to communicate in a structured and repeated way.

Forgetting that we are salespeople

Business doesn’t come to us in the traditional sense. We’re not working in retail; we don’t have a container of goods to offload before the invoice is due.

Our strengths are in the relationships we form and the services we offer combined with a more subtle approach, so stretch your thinking about who might need what you have to offer.

Outside the normal relationships that are logical — like solicitors and accountants — there are other businesses that share common touch points.

Seek out and establish communication channels with doctors and medical practices in your area, the local gym, paint shop, interior design consultants, and hearing aid and optometry stores. You can’t sell a secret!

Not learning from the past

You’re part of your community and may well have plenty of shared history with it’s residents.

You sold a first home to a young couple, and it was a two-bedroom semi, then watched as their family grew to include two children who eventually reached school age.

Why don’t you ask them for a chat — a high-level conversation — about their thoughts and plans?

Life generally follows some fairly established patterns, so use your knowledge of the way events unfold to preemptively act. No point in observing from the sidelines as that young couple lists their home with another agent because your database was dormant.

Don’t let the door hit you on the bum on the way out!

As an agent with some years in the business, and the experience of many markets across the globe, my passion and enthusiasm for all things real estate still burns bright. I encourage us, as an industry worldwide, to always be learning and love what we do.

Chris Wilkins is the director at Ray White Drummoyne in Sydney, Australia. Follow him on Facebook or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription