Sometimes the best way to win is simply to avoid the pitfalls that lead to losing. Success leaves clues, and as I study successful agents, there are certain things they do that show up time and time again.
But just as important, there are certain things they do not do. This article goes over the seven mistakes top-producing agents avoid.
Mistake 1: Focusing on buyers
Focusing on buyers makes sense when you’re first starting out in this business because you haven’t yet developed a farm area or built the skills to work with sellers. But there comes a time when your focus must change. Agents who focus on buyers sell real estate. Agents that focus on listings build a real estate business — big difference.
There is an old saying I learned early in my career: If you control the listings, you control the market. By focusing on listings, you also have more control over your time.
You aren’t at the mercy of a buyer’s schedule and their availability to see properties. Controlling your schedule leads to dedicated time each day that you can devote to prospecting, marketing and other business development activities.
What you focus on expands. Agents who focus on listings will build a business that’s sustainable and successful over the long term.
Mistake 2: Failing to build a database
Unsuccessful agents simply focus on the current transaction they are involved in and never build a database where they can grow and nurture relationships.
The successful agents I know consistently add new people to their database, and these are people they add value to consistently. The more detailed the information about the people in your database, the easier it will be to service their real estate needs in the future.
You should have complete information including:
- Contact information
- Family information
- Property details about the home they own or want to own
- Details of all communication
When you don’t have a database, you’ll have to react to things around you instead of controlling your own destiny. When you have a database full of people you communicate with consistently, you will build a business that generates consistent business.
Mistake 3: Failing to develop a plan
Successful agents always operate from daily strategies that help them grow their business. They have a detailed plan of action that supports their yearly goals. They understand the activities needed to meet their long-term goals. They have them broken down into monthly, weekly and even daily activities.
For example, suppose you know that having 50 real estate-related conversations on average leads to one real estate transaction, and you are looking to have two transactions per month. In that case, we need 100 conversations per month, 25 per week, and five per day based on a five-day-a-week calling time.
Plan your days around these core leading indicators for your business. Develop your activities so that you can ensure that you end every day having done them. Agents who fail to plan will fail to grow their businesses.
Unsuccessful agents find themselves arriving at the office many mornings without a plan of action for that day. Successful agents avoid this mistake by having clearly defined goals supported by daily activities to achieve those goals.
Mistake 4: Failing to understand the market
Successful agents avoid this mistake by becoming the market expert for their audience. They study the market numbers and trends, looking for opportunities for both buyers and sellers.
Through this knowledge, they’re able to talk to sellers about the factors affecting their home’s value, like the average sold price per square foot of comparable homes, the average number of days on market for sold homes like theirs, and how the list-to-sell averages can affect negotiations during the selling process.
Understanding the market provides an opportunity for successful agents to provide professional service to buyers as well. This knowledge helps successful agents communicate with buyers about how the amount of current inventory affects their ability to negotiate, where opportunities might be for buyers in the current market environment, and how to present the most attractive offers possible to the sellers.
When you understand the market well enough to help your buyers and sellers navigate a sale, you establish yourself as a professional who clients can trust to advise customers, and you’ll consistently succeed in your business.
Mistake 5: Spending time with unproductive agents
It’s easy to get caught in office conversations with agents who complain about how difficult the market is. But successful agents avoid this mistake by seeking out top-producing agents or like-minded people to share ideas with. Ask questions of productive people as a way to solve problems and generate growth in your business.
People frequently say, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with,” because it’s absolutely true. Find the people who are consistently growing their businesses or the people who have a skill that you haven’t yet learned.
Ask how they structure their day and spend time watching how they work. Your association with growth-minded agents leads to your business acceleration.
Mistake 6: Becoming complacent
After 27 years in the business, I recognize that sometimes the market makes us look better than we are, and sometimes it makes us look worse.
When the market is good like it has been for an extended period, don’t get complacent. Deepen relationships with the people in your database and make extra calls to your contacts even if others get complacent.
Many agents are satisfied with their business because the market has been so good, so if you make extra calls right now, you’ll continue to see your business grow.
Complacency is a trap successful agents avoid.
Mistake 7: Staying in their comfort zone
Everything you want is on the other side of your comfort zone. The steps you’ve taken to get to this point in your business won’t get you to the next level.
We must get uncomfortable, and it’s the willingness to get uncomfortable that sets great agents apart from everyone else.
The agents who make additional phone calls, sit at open houses, knock on doors, create more videos and send more handwritten notes are the agents who experience the most growth in their businesses.
If you genuinely want to push yourself out of your comfort zone, do the activities that will help your business, and do the ones that scare you the most.
Do what the top producers do and avoid the mistakes that can keep you from becoming the best agent you can possibly be. Avoid the errors listed above and watch your business explode.