Approximately 80% of real estate agents fail in the first year. Even after that, the odds don’t improve much.
If there was one easy answer to this question, those failures could probably be prevented. While no magic solution exists to the question of why most real estate agents fail, here are some common pitfalls to avoid in order to set yourself up for success.
Lack of Planning
Being a real estate agent is different from having a regular office job. The freedom can be a good thing--making your own hours, unlimited earning potential--but also a bad thing if you aren’t prepared.
You need a plan.
Where will you get leads? How will you market your business? What’s your goal for growing your network? If you don’t know the answers, your efforts will leave you scattered and exhausted. Make sure you have a plan in place for marketing, customer relationship management, lead generation, and your goals for all of the above.
Read more: The Real Estate Business Plan
If you cringe at the adage “spend money to make money,” you may be in for a rude awakening--because it’s true.
The trick is knowing what to spend your money on, and how much. Whether it’s marketing, CRM, metrics tracking, or knowledgeable support staff, you need to invest in your business and in yourself.
Real estate is a people-oriented field. This applies to the buyers and sellers who seek you out for your expertise as well as to the other real estate agents in your area with whom you’ll have to interact to make transactions happen.
If you’re not pleasant to work with for whatever reason--unfriendly, unprofessional, frequently late, poor communication skills--a client can easily find another agent who is, and other agents are likely to go out of their way to avoid you.
All that scattered effort often leads to burnout in a competitive industry like real estate. It kicks off a vicious cycle by leading to clients feeling neglected, which leads to dwindling referrals, which leaves a burned out real estate agent feeling even worse.
Skip the cycle by managing your time well (which may mean scheduling yourself silly until you get the hang of allocating enough time for different tasks), nurturing new and ongoing relationships in tandem so you always have something in the hopper, and consider adding an assistant or another agent to help your business explode rather than implode when things get busy.
It’s also important to know if real estate is actually right for you--if you don’t love the hustle within the first few years, that’s unlikely to change over the longer term. Trying to get a real estate career off the ground on a part-time basis while you work elsewhere is also a recipe for disaster.
Psychology plays a big part in how well you do in the real estate industry. If that sounds a bit too new-age for you, consider it this way: if you don’t run your business like you believe you’ll be successful, you will find yourself settling for less than what you need--and ultimately attracting the types of clients who may be more likely to undervalue your time and expertise.
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