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The 6 Things You Need To Survive Your First Two Years in Real Estate

Being a real estate agent is not for the faint of heart.  It’s a tough business to break into and one to be successful in.  As a new agent, you hear all of the noise of low success rates, suggested timelines for your first deal, and the cynicism of what it’s actually like to be an agent.

Sometimes I just want to hug the negative agents a la the scene in Good Will Hunting between Robin Williams (me) and Matt Damon (the negative-minded agents) and say “It’s not your fault” over and over until they breakdown and start crying. 

Short of this intervention, follow these 6 points to try and create a professional, personal, and emotional framework to be survive and be successful early in your real estate career.  I mapped these out as I went along my first couple of years and I can safely say they are the reason I have found success. 

1. Do not calculate your commission until you’re under contract

Look, let’s be real – you’re not going to follow this one 90% of the time.  I don’t.  But I keep the spirit of this in the back of my mind.  You’re not here to work for commission rather you’re here to guide and advise your clients.  You need to be emotionally and financially prepared for the long game. 

Knowing how much you’ll make on one property over the other will create a subconscious bias and your client will recognize it or get a weird vibe.  The only commission I worry about is the one on the next deal, not on the ones I already have under contract.

2. Forget about what others are doing - to a point

Nothing will take the wind out of your sails in real estate than being jealous of other peoples’ success.  That’s true in all professions but the difference in real estate is that you’ll be exposed to other peoples’ success on a daily basis.  Someone else’s commission is the last thing you should calculate. 

A simple swap mentally is to go from a position of envy to respect will save you countless hours of comparing yourself.  To level up on this, accept the challenge of making a point to congratulate an agent on their recent sale via text or a phone call.

3. Map your transactions and the business will follow.

One of the best pieces of advice I got from a seasoned agent early on was to set a goal for how many transactions you want to do in your first year.  Once you have that number, write them down by category of the source of the sale.  For example, if you’re looking to close 10 transactions, put them in these categories:

  • 2-3 from your Sphere of Influence (Existing Friends, Family, and Personal/Professional Contacts)
  • 1-2 from lead-gen (BoomTown, Chime, Zillow Premier Agent, etc)
  • 1-2 from traditional marketing (Postcard mailers, print ads, event sponsorship)
  • 1-2 from digital marketing (Facebook/Instagram, Adwerx, Google Ads)
  • and 1-2 from client referrals from the business you’ve already generated.

Focus only on those and keep track of where you get the business on your transactions so you can update your list. 

4. Never stop learning

You need to know what you’re not which is a seasoned, experience Agent with tons of knowledge and perspective.  You’re brand new at this.  You shouldn’t be good at it yet.  But that doesn’t mean you can begin to carve our success.  Lean on your broker for advice and ask all of the questions.  Chat with agents at meetings and open houses about what they did when they started.  Run into a legal question?  Reach out to that title attorney you met at that networking event and ask for their take.  Go to workshops and round tables.  Take online courses.  Read or listen to Exactly What to Say For Real Estate Agents by Phil M Jones.  More on that in Number 6.

5. Your relationships with other agents are more important than the ones you have with clients

Reputation and work ethic are load bearing pillars of your success in real estate.  Develop relationships before, during, and after transactions with agents.  You need to have a reputation with other agents and your clients for being informative, transparent, and quick to respond.  It could be the difference on the agent side between getting a deal done and an offer being passed up.  Develop friendships across brokerages and avoid feelings of competition.  This is a commonly overlooked item of focus for new agents.  Don’t underestimate the power of your reputation, even early on.

6. Know Exactly What To Say

Download Exactly What To Say For Real Estate Agents and Exactly What To Say on Audible right now.  Listen to them over and over again.  Read the book.  Attend an EWTS workshop or keynote.  The more you make yourself fluent in these magic words and phrases, the better you will operate personally and professionally. 

Kevin Boyle

Kevin Boyle

Kevin Boyle is a speaker/coach, business consultant, real estate advisor, and Exactly What to Say® Certified Guide. With a passion for transformative communication, Kevin harnesses the power of Exactly What to Say® and other techniques to enhance personal, professional, team, and company-wide interactions.

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