As every agent knows, real estate is a fast-paced business. There are always multiple things an agent is juggling at a time. We are working with current clients, looking for the next home to sell, trying to stay in touch with past clients, and doing our best to scale a successful business all while trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It can be a lot!
While it’s important to look to the future of our businesses, plan and grow, I’ve found it to be very helpful to stop and reflect on what you’ve learned as an agent so far. I want to share with you five things that my first five years in real estate have taught me.
1. One cup of coffee is worth $1 million
Early on in my real estate career, the most effective way I learned and some of the best training I had was from conversations with other agents. I would reach out to top-producing agents, and I’d ask them to sit down and have a cup of coffee with me (my treat, of course).
At first, this made me really nervous. But the more I did it, the more I learned that most agents are happy to share their knowledge and experience with people who ask.
There’s a lot I could say about this point, but the main thing is to ask good, valuable questions. Busy agents are just that — busy. Spend your time with them asking pointed, specific questions about their experience and success.
Avoid general questions like, “How do you sell so much?” Another thing to note is to not be afraid to reach outside of your brokerage to learn from other agents. I know this can be a bit taboo, but in my experience, the more agents I can learn from, the better agent I become.
Make the call, buy the cup of coffee, ask the questions. One cup of coffee with a top agent could possibly lead you to $1 million.
2. People don’t buy nice kitchens
Well, actually they do. But long before they buy the kitchen, they buy you. The house that they love will sell itself, so focus on selling yourself and selling trust in you. Can your clients trust you? Do you trust yourself?
These are foundational aspects of the selling process, long before you sell the home. The best ways to grow in selling yourself are to educate yourself and become confident in your abilities. Confidence and trust will go further than anything else.
When you go into a listing appointment or a buyer’s consultation, you need to be the best salesperson, not only because you can sell them a home, but because you can sell them trust — and that trust will gain you a client for life.
3. 30 minutes is more than an hour
Productivity is unarguably a key aspect of success. Although our intentions are always to be productive, we have all been in this scenario.
You get to the office with a long to-do list for the day. You make a mental promise to accomplish them all, fuel up with caffeine and motivation, and get cracking on your day’s tasks. The end of the work day rolls around and somehow, you’ve only checked off two of the 20 items on your list.
This was a frustrating reality for me on many work days, and although I’m getting better at managing time and to-do lists, this old habit sometimes sneaks back in. In between the first and second things on my list, I’ve found myself working on a different project, responding to emails, calling a friend to share an idea that popped into my head or scrolling down the endless rabbit hole of YouTube.
However, I read an article that changed the way I viewed my work days, to-do lists and the idea of productivity. The article stated that in 30 minutes of focused, uninterrupted work, you can accomplish more than you could in a whole hour of unfocused and interrupted work.
I realized that I could maximize my time by limiting the amount of interruptions I allowed into my workflow. This small change in thinking made a huge impact on my daily productivity.
So, give it a shot! Next time your to-do list is a mile long, turn everything else off. (Yes, everything.) Focus on each item, and time yourself. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish, and you’ll see for yourself that if you focus, 30 minutes really can be more than an hour.
4. Wear Nikes on Mondays
Or Tuesdays. Or Fridays. It doesn’t have to be Monday. And it really doesn’t have to be Nikes, either. It’s not really about the shoes, but more about that catchy slogan we all know: Just do it.
So much of real estate can be intimidating. Making cold calls, knocking on doors, making videos, asking for that referral — the list goes on. It can be easy to get so intimidated by the little nerve-wracking moments of the business that we put off doing things that could really add to our success.
What I have learned in the last four and half years is that most of the things I dread doing, or am nervous to do, don’t end up being half as bad as I imagined they would be. When I give it my all, things usually turn out well! I gain momentum and learn more each time I challenge myself to do these tasks that seem intimidating at first glance.
Approach the things that intimidate you with confidence and a “I’m just going to do it” attitude. If you are nervous to shoot a video, turn on the camera and just give it a try! Don’t let the fear of someone closing the door in front of you stop you from knocking on it!
On the other side of the things that intimidate you are growth, confidence and success. So whether it’s Mondays, cold calls or knocking on doors that make you nervous, just do it. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did.
5. When you see a Realtor, wave
This final tip is an important one. I learned quickly that real estate can be a tough, demanding and mean business to work in. It’s not an easy career. It’s a highly competitive business, and competition can often create space for people to be mean and derogatory to each other.
I often see listing agents treating buyers’ agents like peasants. I scroll through social media and see posts of Realtors asking questions and a barrage of negative comments that don’t answer the question, but instead tear the person down for even asking it.
I’ve learned that, as competitive as the business can be, we are all in it together. It’s tough for all of us, and each person and each agent is learning at their own pace. I think it’s so important to recognize and understand that, and to treat other agents with that thought in mind.
Instead of tearing people down, be kind and encouraging. The easiest place to start? A simple wave. When you see another real estate agent on the street, wave hello! You never know — you might work together on a great deal someday.
This business is full of lessons to be learned and ways to grow, and there are many more that I didn’t touch on in this list. These are the five main things I’ve learned during my first five years in the business.
I encourage you to take a moment today and reflect on your time in real estate. Ask yourself: What strides have you taken? How have you grown from your experiences? What valuable lessons have you learned along the way? Remembering the milestones reached and lessons learned can help us as we look into the future, dominate our markets and grow successful businesses.