There it is—your brand new license, all shiny in its pretty frame, ready to hang on the wall in your brand new office. You’ve landed a spot in one of the city’s best firms, and you are just itching to set the real estate world on fire. And you can do it too.
But the road to success is full of pitfalls and potholes that lie in your way. Here are seven typical rookie mistakes, and how you can avoid making them.
- You’re not taking the long view. You are so anxious to get started that you are totally focused on all you’re going to accomplish this week, or this month. That’s totally understandable, and congratulations on your enthusiasm. However, true success is a long process, not a half-hour sitcom. Visualize where you want to be in your career a year from now, five years from now. Then work backwards to what you need to do today to make that happen. Conduct your own personal SWOT Analysis. Build the foundation before the roof goes on.
- You’re not being SMART about your goals. Goals work when they are put in writing and when they follow the tried and true SMART formula: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Here are the two most important parts of the formula. Specific and Timely. Say this: “I will obtain five new listings this month.” Not this: “I need to get more new listings this month.” The power of good goal setting is the subject of hundreds of books, articles, and seminars. This is just Baby Step One.
- You’re not listening. When you’re brand new on the job, you want to share your story. You want everyone to know who you are and how you got here—your coworkers, prospective clients, the barista at the coffee house. Here’s the point: God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason. You’ll learn a lot more by listening than by talking, especially when you’re with a client. Don’t tell them what you’ve got. Ask them what they want and write down their answers. Then find a way to give it to them. That’s how you build trust.
- You’re not seeking feedback. It’s so easy to rush full speed ahead into the rosy future of your real estate career. But you’ll go farther faster if you ask for feedback from those who have been down the road before. Find a mentor, whether it’s your boss, another experienced Realtor, or a colleague in another firm. Schedule regular meetings, bounce ideas around, ask them how you’re doing. Listen, and make mid-course corrections if you need to.
- You’re neglecting your network. It’s easy to get so busy that you start skipping everything that’s not related to direct client contact. Big mistake. You need to be visible, both in your profession and in your community. Join a service club. Show up at meetings and volunteer for a committee that interests you. Be seen at Realtor forums, Chamber of Commerce mixers, or city business development presentations. You’ll build a reputation, not only as a good Realtor, but as a good citizen. And people give referrals to colleagues they like and trust.
- You’re avoiding the tough stuff. This is a paper-intensive business and maybe you hate that. So the mountain of paper piles up on your desk until it threatens to obscure everything in the room, including you. Either develop a strategy to keep the mountain at bay, or delegate this task to someone else. If you hate making those “cold” calls or asking for referrals, see our blog on turning cold calls into hot business.
- You’re stuck in success. You’ve been on the job for a while and you’re doing great. You’re bringing in those listings and maybe you’ve even closed a few sales. It’s so easy to just kick back and think, “Hey, I’ve got this!” Not so fast.
First of all, it’s a great feeling to enjoy your success, to celebrate with friends and family, to give yourself a gold star. But don’t stop there. Go back over what you’ve accomplished and see what worked and what didn’t work. Learn how to train your clients to make your more successful. If you lost a listing or had a sale that fell apart, what can you learn from that? Apply those lessons to your current and future business and your road to success will be smooth and pothole-free.