We all talk about things agents should do to be successful, but today, let’s talk about things that’ll absolutely ruin your business, so that you read, absorb — and go do the opposite of these things.

Whether you’re a rookie agent, a rising team leader or an established veteran broker, we can all benefit from sharpening our skills. Follow our “Back to Basics” series to learn fundamental strategies, tactics, philosophies and more from real estate pros across the industry.

Since writing my first article with Inman, titled “11 things successful real estate agents don’t do,” I have received hundreds of emails telling me how that article impacted them.

When agents were at their lowest, they would search the internet for something that would help them get over the hump, rise above the chaos and get clear about the steps it will take to turn their business around.  

These agents are new, have been in the business five years or are super successful and at the top of their game, but for some reason or another, life happened, deals fell through consecutively — whatever the disrupter — their business was crumbled.

It always made me feel good, but I wanted to provide more to each agent I heard from. I wanted to empower their minds and line their wallets beyond anything they ever imagined.

We talk so much about what to do and what we should do that sometimes it takes away from the power of learning from mistakes.

Paraphrased from Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s business partner, the best way to learn is vicariously through the mistakes of others.

Whether it’s a market breakdown, an economic crisis, or changes in your individual real estate career, look at all the companies that have had an overnight success and gone to dust the next day. Study those companies — and do the opposite.

The value in getting the right input

There was one particular agent I spoke with on the phone who asked me to tell him things I have done and that other agents have done that really messed them up and ruined their businesses.

We all talk about things we should do and what things will make us successful, but today I would like to share with you what will absolutely ruin your business, fully expecting you to read and absorb these things so that you go out and do the opposite

If you read these and are offended that some of these things are things you already know, there’s a problem.

One of the greatest weapons you have is repetitive consumption of the right input.

The other day, I started listening to an audio program from the real estate coach Bill Nasby. I have listened to this program at least two dozen times because of the wisdom locked up inside this program. You are never going to go wrong consuming the kind of information that empowers you. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve listened to it or read it.

That would be like saying, “Oh, I’ve already eaten vegetables, I don’t need to eat any more.” Read on to get your business’s health fix for today, and refer back as often as you need to, to sustain yourself long term.  

How to ruin your business

1. Complaining

Language is a powerful weapon. Use it to turn your life and business around and build something amazing — not the other way. The easiest way to take you out of the game is talking about how hard things are. Be aware of it, and turn it around.

2. Avoiding risk

Anything that carries potential carries risk in equal proportion. For you to look at your business and try to eliminate all the risk would be robbing your potential. Focus and learn how to manage risk.

3. Chasing a destination

There is no destination. Identity is something you are constantly becoming. It is much wiser, safer and more empowering to see obstacles and victories as signposts along the way to what you are going to become. Eliminate the idea that “When I have _____, I will be happy.”

4. Not seeking knowledge

Seek knowledge just for the opportunity to seek knowledge. Everyone knows someone who knows everything but is totally broke or knows everything but has nothing.  

Get into a place of learn plus application.

5. Seeking praise

Looking for the validation to feel unique, successful and good about ourselves is a mistake. We really need to become people who seek out criticism, welcome it so that we can grow and know what opportunities there are for improvement.

Do not judge your success by your haters or that one client who didn’t like your services.

6. Looking for the easiest route

Everyone is looking for the path of least resistance instead of enjoying the process of learning and mastering a skill worth having.

Be willing to go the extra mile to get what you and your clients want. This is different from feeling constant struggle with what you are doing, which might mean you are totally out of alignment with what you are great at.

7. Putting your fears first

What is your priority of input? Heed your vision first and your fear second.  

8. Beating yourself up

Shift your view to reflect that everything that happens to you. Every consequence is the tuition you pay for your success. Even seemingly bad things that happen can empower you. 

You can’t serve people when you are selfishly focused on yourself, wallowing in your self-pity.

9. Obsessing over the lag indicator

A lead indicator is something you can control, but nothing is attached to it. The lag indicator is the effect that happens when you do a series of lead indicators. 

For example, when you take action (get up every morning at 5 a.m., do positive affirmations, which I call my “morning formula,” call clients, time-block, prospect, etc.), then you will see the fruit of those actions (the lag indicator or end results of your effort.)

What are the things you can control that will bring about the things you can’t control? 

When you find your business out of control, tanking, taking a dive, ask yourself: Why is this happening? Then, start looking at your daily lead indicators.

What are you doing (or not doing) every day?

Stay tuned for more on lead and lag indicators and how they will transform your real estate business as well as your life.

How do you stay ahead in a changing market? Inman Connect Las Vegas — Featuring 250+ experts from across the industry sharing insight and tactics to navigate threat and seize opportunity in tomorrow’s real estate. Join over 4,000 top producers, brokers and industry leaders to network and discover what’s next, July 23-26 at the Aria Resort. Hurry! Tickets are going fast, register today!

Thinking of bringing your team? There are special onsite perks and discounts when you buy tickets together. Contact us to find out more.


Cheryl Spangler is an associate broker with eXp Realty LLC and founder of The Rich Niche Academy for Real Estate Professionals. You can follow her on TwitterInstagram or LinkedIn.

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