In our very first Agent Insights article, we featured Mel Peterson - an experienced real estae agent who shared the 5 biggest mistakes she's made throughout her career. The response we got has been incredible - so we decided to ask Loren Coburn - another Agent Insights guest blogger - to share his thoughts on the topic. Enjoy!
Mistake #1: Tunnel Vision
I started out with tunnel vision. I worked as a builder for many years and when I first started my real estate business, I assumed that new home sales were the ticket to success. I developed a mindset that I was going to sell new homes and nothing else. After all, what’s better than having secure listings?
Unfortunately, I learned very quickly that listing a new home doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to get tons of leads or have easy sales. New homebuilders look out for themselves and many of the ones I encountered weren’t loyal. If they found an agent willing to reduce their commission, the builder would jump ship and list with the cheaper agent without hesitation.
I’ve adjusted my real estate strategy in a way that it provides me with more consistent business. Now, I list new construction for builders as EO listings and I’ve expanded my inventory include existing homes. I’ve also developed a marketing strategy that really works. If you’re a new agent, I strongly suggest you focus on multiple types of listings – don’t keep yourself in one area. In order to expand you have to spread your business around so you are able to grow.
Mistake #2: Overestimating a Sale
I hear this all the time: "I'm worth every penny of my commission - and I'm not giving up a dime of it."
I have a phenomenal passion for real estate and I believe that we are all worth what we earn BUT I’ve been burned with that attitude - many times - and I've lost deals. What’s more, is I realized I was losing substantially more than just money - I was actually hindering clients and friends and preventing them from accomplishing their dreams. After I felt the repercussions a few times, I decided to shift my attitude and change my approach.
Now, I offer my sellers different incentives to promote their listing, which in turn helps my clients (and new friends) sell their homes and net a larger profit. I keep their interests in mind at all times and work hard for them so they continue to think about me for years to come. I offer to help clients list and purchase through me so they get an all-around great experience and I can take care of them on both sides.
Learn to build a business for your clients, not for fast profits. I always tell my team to focus on building your business for success years down the road - not just as your next commission check.
Mistake #3: Growing Pains:
I know the pains of growing too fast and over-expanding beyond my ability all too well. My company expanded quickly and I wasn't able to keep up with my leads and current customers. My success was causing a problem - I was trying to wear too many hats - and I didn't see it. I was losing more clients than I was closing. I was even forgetting about appointments! I was lucky that my experience was able to help me fix the problem - but it wasn't easy.
I quickly learned how to say no and I decided to bring on a new team member that could help me respond to the growth. I slowed down the number of incoming leads and brought in another agent to serve exclusively as a buyers agent. Once I learned how to delegate and ask for help I started to become more and more productive.
Our industry is 95% relationships and 4% business. If you don't have time to take on a client and build a relationship and you do it anyway – you could be setting yourself up for major growing pains. What started with “I” became “us” and shortly thereafter, became “the team”.
If you’re feeling the stress of rapid growth, consider enlisting some help. Buyer’s agents, office assistants, listings agents and schedule coordinators can all help lessen the burden. The order in which you hire will not be the same as everyone else’s – be sure to examine where your biggest challenges are and evaluate what type of role would be best suited to help you improve productivity. I started out by adding an experienced agent and we did a great job managing for a while, but as we expanded rapidly again, we brought on an assistant who became a full-blown agent within a few months.
Success Advice from Loren: Stay Grounded
Another very important element of real estate success is staying grounded. Always keep yourself in mind – don’t get lost in your business. I talk to my wife and think about my family any time I consider making a big change to my business. I keep myself in check and make sure I'm not just thinking about increasing profits. I don’t want to take away time from my family. More money isn't always the growth factor.
The moral of the story is, if you're scared to grow, you're either not ready to build your business or you're not adequately prepared to expand. However, if you want to grow and you’re trying to grow but you’re not growing, get out of your comfort zone! It will take some insane courage but if you're willing to go that extra mile – success will come. Just remember it's not going to fall into your lap. Make yourself uncomfortable and do things that aren’t your norm.
Do you want to be the next guest blogger in our Agent Insight series? We want to hear from you!