There are five principles you’ll need to build a real estate business that are remarkably similar to how a runner trains, says Jimmy Burgess. His best advice: “Run your race now in a way that your future self will thank you.”

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Over the past few years, my 14-year-old son began training to run longer distances, extending from 1 mile to 5K (3.1 miles). I’ve learned a lot about the preparation for running a race, the psychology required during a race and the power in finishing a race strong.

If you want to build a successful real estate business, you have to plan to go the distance. And that requires exercising the same mental muscles marathoners hone through training. Here are the five principles you’ll need to remember while building a long-distance real estate business.

1. The more you run, the faster you become

One of the most basic principles of running distance races is that the more you run, the faster you become. The beauty of this principle is that everybody can get faster if they put in the miles it takes. The more you run, the better your technique becomes because you notice slight adjustments that lead to increased efficiencies.

I’ve found this principle to be true for real estate agents as well. The more you do something in real estate, the better you become at it. The more calls you make, the better you become at communicating value. The more social media content you post, the easier it is to identify the content your ideal clients respond favorably to. The more listing appointments you go on, the better your presentation and the higher your conversion rate will be.

Whatever area of your business you are looking to improve, simply do more of it, and improvement will follow.

2. You must be prepared to perform at your best

Preparing properly is critical to success in running races. You must be rested, hydrated, properly fueled with quality food, and have practiced enough to perform your best on race day.

The best-prepared athletes are the best performing athletes. Although talent can sometimes win one race, the best-prepared athletes win consistently over time.

Do a gut-check before heading into any day:

  • Are you prepared to perform at your best in real estate?
  • Do you have the energy and mental clarity you need to provide your clients with the very best you possible?
  • Have you studied your local market statistics at a level where you can provide the most professional insight to your clients?
  • Have you practiced your listing presentation before winging it in front of the potential listing client?

Preparation leads to peak performance. When you become the most prepared agent in your market, success is inevitable.

3. Find your pace and run your own race

One of the biggest mistakes new runners make is running their race based on what others are doing. If other runners sprint out of the gate, they set their pace based on them and usually finish poorly due to starting out too fast. If a group of runners slow the pace in the race, then they slow their pace to the point that they don’t get all they can out of themselves.

Sometimes, when a runner gets so far ahead, the other runners simply give up and coast to the finish line, never reaching their full potential. These are all mistakes that keep the runner from running his or her best race.

Sadly, many real estate agents fall into similar traps. They see other agents doing business a certain way, and they think that is the way they must run their business. Then there are agents who find themselves in offices where others are coasting and not growing their businesses. This leads to stagnation and a lack of growth that meets the agent’s potential.

Another trap is seeing an agent find success very quickly and then, based on their extreme success, giving up because they feel inadequate to the results they see in the other agent.

The beauty of our business is that there are so many ways to find success. Find your pace, and build your business on your timing. Surround yourself with other agents who are growing, and you will grow.

Lastly, don’t judge your results based on the successes or failures of others. You control your business and how you build it.

Whatever it is for you, run your race and find the pace that helps you build the real estate business you desire.

4. Push through the pain

Every successful runner will encounter pain if they are to run their best race. The question is, how will they react to the pain? Most people pull back when they feel pain or discomfort in a race. The champions run into the pain.

They understand that pain is temporary and that we all live with one of two types of pain.

The temporary physical pain that comes in the race or the psychological pain of regret for not pushing through the temporary physical pain or discomfort to perform at our best in the race that lasts a lifetime.

Agents may not feel physical pain, but they do search for their comfort zone and avoid discomfort whenever possible. Does shooting video, making prospecting calls, door-knocking or posting regularly on social media make you uncomfortable?

I would argue the thing that frightens you most or that is the most uncomfortable for you is the very thing that will propel your business to the next level of success.

The discomfort and pain of stretching yourself to grow your business is temporary. But not pushing through that discomfort pales in comparison to the pain of regret for agents who don’t achieve the success they could have achieved.

5. Sprint when other people are fading

In cross-country racing, there are often hills on the course, or there might be a time when the runner is running into the wind, making that portion of the race more difficult. These are the times when champions make up time while others coast or fade. Many runners also fade at the finish because they are not properly prepared, or they don’t have the energy to finish strong. This is when champions sprint as others fade.

The market is shifting. It would be naïve to think that there will be fewer transactions either this year or next year than there were in the previous year. Many agents have had a tremendous run over the past few years, and this transition in the market is a time when many agents will coast or fade in their pursuit of business growth as it becomes even more challenging.

This is the time when the agent who increases his or her business-building activities can gain market share. Acting now, while others are slowing down, is the optimal time to see leveraged growth in your business.

Adapt to an ever-changing market, add value to the marketplace, and always run your own race. We will all cross the finish line of our business at some point. Run your race now in a way that your future self will thank you.

Jimmy Burgess is the chief growth officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in northwest Florida. Connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.

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