This April, one of Inman’s most popular recurring theme months returns: Back to Basics. All month, real estate professionals from across the country share what’s working for them, how they’ve evolved their systems and tools, and where they’re investing personally and professionally to drive growth in 2022. It’s always smart to go Back to Basics with Inman.
Looking for more advice? Check out Inman’s New Agent Essentials.
A man named Denis Waitley said once, “It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.”
Impostor syndrome, loosely defined, is that little voice in the back of your head that fills you with self-doubt — “Can you really do this work? You aren’t an expert, why would clients listen to you?” It’s a beast that afflicts everyone at some point, though research repeatedly suggests that it is particularly prevalent among women and BIPOC.
There are many reasons why new real estate agents might be experiencing feelings of imposter syndrome. It could have something to do with feeling like they don’t know what’s going on in the industry or that their skills aren’t up-to-par just yet, but it often just comes down to self-confidence. Even veteran agents can feel this way, especially during times of great change such as we’ve experienced over the last few years.
Today, I want to share some tips for those who struggle with Impostor Syndrome, and how to gain confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Identifying the challenges
One of the biggest challenges new agents face is not so much that they are shy but being nervous about breaking out of their comfort zone. The idea of walking up to complete strangers and striking up a conversation or picking up the phone to call leads can feel intimidating, especially when the experience they do have has so far been limited to friends and family.
One of our coaching clients who is relatively new to the real estate industry told me recently, “I keep reminding myself that I can do this, and that I have the tools, the knowledge and the confidence, but when it comes to actually getting out there and having those conversations, I freeze up.” She isn’t alone.
Challenging our perception of who clients actually want to work with
In our own heads, we have this mental image of the sort of agent we think clients prefer to work with — ultra-successful, attractive, a list of clients a mile long, possibly wearing a superhero cape — but that may not necessarily be accurate.
Let’s say the client has a choice: They could work with a highly successful businessperson who has a lot of clients and sales, but they also have a bit of a reputation for lacking integrity. Then there is the other agent who isn’t really the highest producing agent, but they’re honest, and genuinely care about their clients — they have integrity in spades.
The vast majority of people will choose to work with the second because it isn’t an agent’s list of past successes or dollars earned that matter to them, it’s authenticity and trustworthiness. Buyers and sellers want to know they will be taken care of. So, as a new agent, focus on living from that place of integrity because nobody wants to be sold, they want to be served. So, commit to serving, commit to caring, and commit to helping people in the real estate arena.
Why you are worthy (Really.)
I want to remind you of a few things here, namely all the reasons why that little voice of self-doubt is wrong.
First, you are licensed by the state. The state declares that you know more about real estate than the general public. Your license proves that you have already earned the right to help people buy and sell real estate because you have proven that you are qualified.
Second, focus on helping people. Don’t focus on closing deals, your technique, and scripts, or getting commissions. Focus on those people that need help in buying and selling real estate, because that is the type of agent that clients love to work with.
Third, I am giving you homework — take a few minutes to sit down and make a list of all the things you’ve accomplished in your life. Perhaps you have children, perhaps you served in the navy, perhaps you won an award, or grew the biggest cucumber on the block.
Just take some time to write down every accomplishment you have (no matter how large or small.) so you can see on paper why you are such a valuable human being. You will see exactly what you bring to the table, and how you can truly be of service to your clients.
Action over emotion
There will always be times in life when you will wrestle with self-doubt or imagine you’re not good enough. That’s normal. That’s human. During those times, please remember that action will always be your friend.
Action helps us get over the hump of emotion. Daily activities such as writing down your accomplishments, your goals, and the number of families you will help each day help.
Then dive in. Do the activities that will help you achieve those goals and help those families, even before you feel like you’re ready. Those activities will turn into habits, and those habits will turn into results, and those results will help keep that imposter whisperer at bay.
Why beating impostor syndrome is the key to your success
You don’t have any hope of convincing your clients that you belong in the real estate industry if you aren’t even convinced you belong there, so take five minutes every morning to write down your accomplishments and quiet the voice of impostor syndrome before diving into your phone calls, and you will sound as confident as you feel, and your business will grow exponentially.
Connect with powerful communities
Know that you don’t have to go it alone and you shouldn’t. These days, finding online communities of like-minded professionals who help each other sort through situations, move past hurdles and lift one another up is easier than it has ever been.
Start connecting and fueling those connections. It will keep you from feeling like you are flying solo and keep your confidence level rising.
Darryl Davis is a speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, as well as the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars. He currently hosts weekly free webinars to help agents navigate market change and design careers worth smiling about. Learn more at his website or connect with him on Facebook or YouTube.