Excerpted from Sell with Soul: The New Agent’s Guide to an Extraordinary Career in Real Estate
You must have enthusiasm to succeed in real estate. It’s so easy to procrastinate when you are self-employed – or to sleep late every day if you’re so inclined. Prospecting and previewing seem thankless sometimes.
When I was new in real estate, I had it – enthusiasm, that is. I did open houses every weekend, took names and made cookies. I would work with any buyer, regardless of his motivation or time frame. I even offered to show relocating renters around town just in case they might buy a house someday. I marketed my listings in every imaginable venue-newspapers, mass mailings, postcards and city-wide brochure distribution.
I answered the phone at all hours of the day or night. I worked seven days a week. I checked voicemail during vacation and returned business calls from a hot, noisy street in Mexico.
I’m not saying that these were all smart things to do – I spent a lot of money unnecessarily and destroyed my marriage in the process. But to succeed in this tough business you need to be excited about your new career, nearly to the point of fanaticism.
I once interviewed a licensee right out of real estate school who announced to me that he intended to take every Sunday and Monday off. Fair enough. But then I realized that he meant he wouldn’t even answer his phone on his days off, at the risk of losing potential customers. After several years in real estate, I got to the point where I was willing to risk losing customers for the sake of a mental health day, but in my first year? No way. I lived for phone calls from potential clients. I literally did cartwheels a few times when I got off the phone from a new buyer or a referral. I got a little thrill every time my pager went off; I couldn’t wait to see who had called. I still feel that way most of the time.
That new agent didn’t make it in real estate – he quit within the year. He probably could have been a great agent, but his heart just wasn’t in it.
If your lifestyle doesn’t accommodate a 24/7 availability to your clients, you can still succeed. You can always find people willing to work harder than you, regardless of what field you are in. And guess what? They may be more successful financially than you, and that’s fair. Life is about priorities and compromises. You can’t have it all and do any of it exceptionally well. That said, early in your real estate career you really do need to be committed to building your expertise and business. Remember the 80% failure rate for first-year agents? An awful lot of those failures are likely competent people who aren’t prepared for the overwhelming demands of a new real estate career.
Just think about it.