5 Things to Remember When the Going Gets Tough
Agents have a reputation – to an almost ridiculous degree – of being positive in all situations. And, most of the time, real estate actually is a pretty shiny-happy industry. When there’s a job to do involving clients, we put on our best faces and genuinely enjoy the process of helping people sell or buy their greatest investments. Most of the time.
What the sitcoms don’t show you (though American Beauty certainly did, if dramatically) are the long nights, the slow months, the entire darn recessions that can make this a terribly difficult industry to navigate for the long term. Many people don’t realize that agents pay for their own health insurance, or don’t carry it at all. A big commission doesn’t always guarantee a Caribbean vacation – it often has to be set back for the inevitable month without a sale. Many of us are one typo away from a lost sale, if not a lawsuit. Sometimes it’s enough to make even the most relentlessly perky agent consider going into teaching.
Yet we persevere, always because we have to and usually because we love the work. But, the next time you’re having a “screaming at your steering wheel in the driveway” moment, here are a few things to remember:
Take care of yourself.
Read a book. Get up a half hour early and enjoy a cup of coffee, disconnected from your phone or social media. Meditate (there are some great free or cheap apps out there that will calm your mind – if you’re having trouble sleeping we recommend a cup of chamomile tea and 10 minutes of “ommmmmm”ing before you hit the hay). Talk to someone, be it a professional or a supportive spouse or friend (not a co-worker). Develop a hobby or set up a standing date night with your significant other or even your kids. There’s more to your life than work, and remembering that more often will make the work feel more purposeful and less weighty.
Procrastination is the enemy
Maybe you’ve been putting off a difficult conversation with a client or delaying returning a call from a disgruntled colleague. Do yourself a favor and pull over in the nearest parking lot and make the call, or meet the client for coffee soon. There’s no better feeling than the weight of a dreaded conversation being over, and nine times out of 10 they aren’t as bad as you’re expecting them to be. Wouldn’t you like to have that feeling today? Make the call.
Flip your point of view.
Sometimes your anxiety and stress center around one particular listing. This is the perfect time to workshop the situation in your head, or even talk to some trusted coworkers about it. Difficult-to-sell properties will always be around, but chances are there’s hope for it or you – as a quality agent – wouldn’t have taken it, right?
Have a run-down house at a good price that needs a significant cleanup? Sure, you can hang out (or at least hang signs) in places where millennials hang out. But better yet: What if you focus your efforts and messaging on their parents – many young people’s first homes are found, if not paid for, by parents with the means to do so. Determination sometimes isn’t enough – you’re going to have to display some ingenuity to make the sale, and that may require traveling outside your normal circles or exploring marketing avenues you’ve never tried before.
Remember the other “P”
Perseverance is essential, but so it it’s counterpoint “P,” which is Patience. No agent is going to be a success overnight. Reminding yourself that sales take time and attention will be a necessary part of the process. It can keep you focused on the small things that need to be done in order to complete a sale. It will also allow you to put several sales in motion rather than devoting all of your time to one particular property – trust us, you’ll find it a lot easier to be patient if you’ve got 10 listings to keep an eye on rather than one “ride or die.” Or, at least, you’ll be busier.
This isn’t meant to be some Instagram hashtag cliché. Sometimes you need to sit back and remember how good you have it. Sure, your teacher friend may have summers off and be vested in a state retirement system (if you consider that a good thing), but she’s also being hounded for seven hours a day and will quite possibly be puked on or have to break up a fight this month. Meanwhile, you’re making your own decisions about your business and your time. And, most importantly, the only thing standing between you and wild success is… you guessed it: