Hint: It’s something you can do for yourself
- Coaches can provide accountability and motivation — but so can spouses, coworkers, and brokers.
- Share your goals with your social circle, and ask them to hold you accountable — peer pressure is a powerful motivator.
- Be your own consultant, and look over your business with a critical eye — you’ll be surprised by how many ideas for improvement you find.
Accountability. That is the number one reason many agents pay over $1,000 a month for a coach. Does that mean they can’t find other ways — even free ways — to hold themselves accountable?
Here are some alternative (free) ways to hold yourself accountable:
- Set goals and write down the dates you want each step completed.
- Tell other agents in your office what goals you’ve set and ask them to hold you accountable to your timeline. Ask them to check in on you and ask you for progress reports.
- Ask your broker to check in with you on a weekly or monthly basis on your goals. Any broker or office manager should be happy to help you hold yourself accountable to your goals.
- Tell your spouse and family members. Ask them to support you and hold you accountable.
- Announce your goals in a social group, on Facebook, or at an office meeting. Tell them when you expect to complete each goal and offer to buy them lunch if you don’t meet your timeline. Peer pressure is a powerful thing.
Be your own guru
Have you ever noticed that it’s easy to give good advice to others, but somehow with your own life or business you often don’t take your own advice?
A good friend shared with me a great way to solve this problem. She has a standing appointment with herself every day at 11 a.m. She pretends she is meeting with an experienced professional (with much more confidence and experience than she has), who values the same things she does, and she has that professional examine specific areas of her business.
For example, she will look over her company website with a critical eye like a paid consultant might. She pretends she is that consultant and looks for ways to make the website better, and makes notes on what isn’t working.
She told me that, surprisingly, she gets a clear answer or solution every day. It makes her honest about what she knows deep down that she needs to do better. She then implements the changes, which means she is improving her company every day.
The point is, you don’t always have to pay someone to tell you what you already know, but you do need to find a way to consistently tap into your own knowing, to trust your own advice and make time to implement it.
The noise of the gurus, trainers, coaches, and experts will become significantly quieter by implementing your own advice first. Write down your goals, set deadlines for mastering them, and then do it. Hold yourself accountable by telling your coworkers, friends, and family your goals and timeline as mentioned above.
If you do that, the noise from the gurus is going to get really quiet, because you’ll be too busy implementing your own plans and changing your business.
Master the art of presentation and visibility before lowering the price
- Clients hire you to sell their home for the highest possible price — so don’t accept common advice that dropping the price is your only option for a quick sale.
- Focus on presentation to assure your listing is immaculate online and in person.
- Make sure your listing has peak visibility to reach as many buyers as possible.
You have a listing that won’t sell. You reach out to your broker, fellow agents, coaches, and gurus, and what do they tell you? “It’s overpriced. Drop the price. Price is everything.”
It’s likely that you’ve given that same advice to somebody who asked you about a listing that wouldn’t sell. It’s an easy answer: Drop the price. If it’s been on the market for months and it’s not selling, it’s got to be the price.
It’s true — if you drop the price on a listing, someone will eventually buy it. But that’s not what the seller hired you to do. They hired you to sell it for the highest price possible.
Some agents convince themselves that it’s their job to make the seller “accept reality” and lower the price to a point where the agent thinks it will draw an offer — as though everything depends on price. The agent’s advice could potentially cost the seller tens of thousands of dollars. It could also cost the agent months of unnecessary headaches as he continues to drop the price and wait for an offer. It might even cost him the listing.
Why do agents lose listings?
A listing is lost when a home doesn’t sell after months on the market. The sellers may feel that another agent could do a better job — or they might convince themselves that the home will never sell and take it off the market. In either case, it’s an awful situation for the agent who has put a lot of effort and money into the listing with no return.
There are things you can do as a listing agent to help your clients and prevent those issues from ever arising. If you follow the principles of the Listing Triangle, those problems should never be an issue for you.
What goes wrong with a listing?
You get a listing, you work your butt off, you do everything you can think to do — list it on the MLS, get nice photos, host open houses often — but the property won’t sell. Your clients won’t drop their price any further. You blame the sellers for not lowering the price.
In fact, most real estate books, trainings, and gurus will teach agents how to avoid this outcome by learning the skilled art of getting the seller to lower their price. Some agents do this before they even take the listing — they get the seller to pre-agree to lower their price after so many days.
When agents focus solely on price and use the skills they learned from their broker or trainer to basically beat up sellers to get them to lower their price, they’re perpetuating the bad reputation that real estate agents have earned.
How many sellers have you personally heard saying, “My last agent was only focused on dropping the price”? That’s how people feel when that’s the only solution an agent brings to the table once they do the work up front. Clients aren’t sure what their agent does after a property is listed. They’re not sure what options they have other than dropping the price.
There is always something else an agent can do to alter a listing besides dropping the price that could better the odds of that home selling. There’s always more that can be done to make that property more appealing. It might need both a lower price and changes in visibility and presentation. Price, visibility, and presentation are equally important — which is why I call this the Listing Triangle.
You need to become not just proficient but truly a master of each corner of the triangle, to know with absolute certainty that you are doing everything you can to net your seller the highest price for their home.
Build a ‘presentation team’ and use them on every transaction
- Effective presentation leads to higher offers and less time on the market — so it’s worth doing right.
- Develop a presentation team — stagers, photographers, graphic designers — and use their services even on lower-priced homes.
- Become masterful at helping sellers complete the necessary steps before the home is listed.
When I talk about presentation, I’m referring to how a home comes across to buyers when they browse online or walk through the home for the first time.
Every day I see agents not investing enough time or putting enough emphasis on this critical step. In some cases, it’s because the agent is battling with an uncooperative seller. The vast majority of times, however, it’s the agent who fails to recognize the importance of presentation with their listing.
Here are four ways listing agents can improve a home’s presentation:
1. Hire the right people to help you. Develop an awesome team of professionals who can help deliver the best experience and results for your clients. Hiring the right people to help you, and using them even on the lower-priced homes, makes your presentation really stand out. You might sell a house in one day, and that’s just good business.
2. Learn how to edit photos, or find someone who can help you inexpensively. Sometimes you’ll need to illustrate or point out things on a photo. You might add an arrow and description to an aerial photo to highlight a feature that’s next to a house.
A photo might need its brightness or color adjusted to make it really pop. There are a lot of free apps and more expensive software to help you tweak photos. Learn to use them, or find someone in your office or someone you can hire inexpensively to help you.
Humans are visual. It’s so critical that you deliver astounding photos on your listings.
3. There is a lot more to staging than moving furniture. Maybe you already use a stager or hire one only under certain circumstances like vacant homes or new construction. Staging is becoming more popular because it has proven itself to work over and over again.
Staging doesn’t always mean spending big money. Sometimes it’s a matter of consulting and hearing a professional designer say that a wall color has to be changed or some furnishings rearranged. Agents must become skilled at articulating the importance of staging, because sellers often don’t budget the cost of staging the home to look its best.
4. Become masterful at helping the seller get the necessary steps done before listing the home. There is so much to do before listing a home — de-clutter, clean, move things to storage, touch up paint, clean the garage, landscaping, and maximize curb appeal. Those things all cost time and energy.
Any agent could tell the seller not to worry about those things, because the house will sell just like it is. Yes, it will sell, but it will sell for a lot less. As a good agent, you should become masterful at communicating the importance of these tasks. Then become creative about how you help sellers tackle those problems.
If you become skilled at helping your clients present their homes in the best possible way for buyers, you will not only net way more money for your seller, but your time on the market will be a fraction of what it would have been otherwise — which means happier sellers and fewer hours invested into each listing.
This is why you invest more time, money, and energy up front, before you list the home, so that you are virtually guaranteed a positive outcome and higher return on investment (in less time) for your clients.
Clients can’t resist a confident agent who listens and acts
- Clients aren’t impressed by high-tech listing presentations — they’re impressed by agents who listen and respond.
- Ask questions. Take notes. Get started.
- Be prepared with specific, meaningful market insights that show you have a rich understanding of market conditions and your clients’ needs.
Agents experience more anxiety over an upcoming listing appointment than anything else. Some agents get nervous because they’re new and inexperienced. At the same time, very experienced agents get nervous when they see they’re competing against other experienced agents for a listing.
A lot of agents will learn a fancy listing presentation from their brokerage or some guru who sells “millions of homes.” Some agents will go in with their tablets and their fancy tech to show prospective clients what they can do.
All of those things might impress sellers. But I say, more than anything, sellers don’t pick you as their agent because of the listing presentation you give. They pick you because of you.
As an agent, you want to develop a method to build up your confidence — and the client’s confidence in you. There are a number of ways to do this:
First, when you go into somebody’s house, make sure you pay attention. Listen to them. Find out if they’ve ever sold a home before and how it went. Have they previously listed this home, and how did that experience go?
Take Notes. Ask plenty of questions about the house. If it was listed before, figure out why it didn’t sell. It might become obvious once you walk through the house. Make a list of things the seller needs to improve or change before listing the home. Make notes of what kind of photos you’ll need and what kind of help you think the sellers will need to get the house sold this time.
If you’re going into a listing appointment and you know you’re not competing against other agents, take those notes and get started. Schedule the next thing that needs to happen right there in front of the clients. Don’t focus too much on the paperwork, even though that needs to happen. Focus first on getting the process started rather than trying to close them on choosing you as their agent. They’ll get excited because they can see the process starting.
If you are competing against other agents, then it’s all the more important that you bring something to the table that the sellers are not hearing from anybody else. It’s critical that you offer something different — for example, your ability to listen, understand, and address their biggest concerns.
Share specific market insights that are meaningful to them — not just generic charts, but information that shows them that you have a richer understanding of the market than other agents do. Maybe you have a unique way of conducting your business that resonates with the sellers. Or you have a method or a unique approach to selling real estate that gives the sellers confidence in their decision to pick you.
Confidence comes from having a rich understanding of not only the job that needs to get done, but understanding the needs of your clients and possessing the ability to address those needs.
With listing appointments, don’t overthink your approach. Be as prepared as possible, but understand that you don’t need a fancy presentation or high-tech gadgets to get the listing. I’ve seen agents win hundreds of listings with just a notepad and a pen.
If you have “fancy” in your box of tricks, great. If that’s what gives you confidence, fine. Just remember, it’s not a one-sided presentation — it’s a consultation. It’s a chance for you to learn more about your clients and their home and to let them learn more about you.
How to be an effective agent when you’re a homebody or introvert
- The role of the real estate agent has shifted from information gatekeeper to problem-solver — and people skills are essential.
- Homebodies and introverts may be at a disadvantage because so much of real estate is relationship-based networking.
- Any personality type can find creative ways to network and communicate — through writing, radio shows, podcasts, whatever feels genuine.
Building relationships, being able to communicate, being likeable — these are all important traits in today’s real estate market. I say today’s because, looking back historically, I think agents in the past could be jerks and still remain in business because agents were the gatekeepers to certain information.
These days, information is more available and accessible, and agents who operate without people skills struggle. With information more accessible, the role of the real estate agent has shifted from gatekeeper to problem-solver — a negotiator who finds creative ways to make things happen.
Nowadays, much of the role of real estate agent is relationship-based.
Can I be an introvert and still be an effective agent?
I’m a bit of a homebody. I don’t go out and meet people very often. That can be detrimental to a real estate agent, because the more people you network with, the more people you attract to your business. When it comes time to find an agent, people turn to someone they know and trust.
Now let’s say you’re a homebody or a bit of an introvert — can you still make a career of it? Absolutely. I’m in that category, so I work hard at building relationships. I write articles, create videos and host a real estate show on the radio. I’m not perfect, and I don’t pretend to be, and therefore my audience can see that I’m being authentic. Plus, it’s a lot more fun to communicate with others when you are just being yourself.
To grow your sphere of influence, you don’t have to door knock, do pop by’s, attend networking events, or cold call old and new contacts. But you do have to find your own way to interact, communicate, and make an impression with people.
You may be an excellent agent, but if don’t have an audience of people that will go out of there way to work with you or will send referrals to you then your business can and will suffer.
The good news is you don’t need a giant audience to build relationships with. Even if you start with 1, 10, or 20 people. Look for ways to make an impact with them. This could be as simple as writing them a handwritten note, responding to them on their social media, asking them about how their family members are doing, sending them a fun birthday gift, it doesn’t matter how you build the relationships, just make an effort to deepen the relationship.
Another strategy to grow more relationships is to find or create an audience of people who have something in common. Where people will identify with you faster because you like what they like, think like them.
Such as, helping them in some way that is not typical for a real estate agent. This could be putting them in touch with someone that could help them
We all have some natural strengths and areas where we tend to struggle. However, we can all learn new skills. So if you dislike making cold calls to internet leads, what else can you do to grow your nueture Just because you might dislike going to social events, you may still excel at a face to face meetings. You may struggle and making new relationships but may be your excellent at keeping and deepening the relationships you do have.
You don’t have to be social in the traditional sense of that word
Even though I’m quiet and reserved in my personal life, I can talk all day and seem extroverted in front of clients or an audience.
You can make this business work for you no matter your personality type, so long as you can bring your A-game when you need it.
The key is to flex your “idea muscle” every day
- Making “idea lists” every day tunes your brain to constantly find solutions to difficult problems.
- Pushing past obvious solutions makes your brain “sweat” but results in solutions that will positively impact your business.
- Discovering ideas that “lights your heart on fire” can change your life — if you build upon them with additional ideas.
What is your “idea muscle”? It’s a concept I first heard from author and podcaster James Altucher. At one point in his life, Altucher felt so low he contemplated suicide. He even created lists of different ways to kill himself.
The process of making those lists started him on a habit that he attributes to not only saving his life but to opening up a world of constant opportunities.
The habit that saved his life was flexing his idea muscle every day. Those lists were “idea lists,” and he began to write down at least 10 ideas every day. His lists could be about anything: 10 exotic dishes to make for dinner, 10 new routes to get to work, 10 ideas to improve his office space, etc.
Altucher says that the first three ideas come easy and fast, the next couple are much tougher, and the last five will make your brain sweat. The trick is to not get too caught up on listing only good ideas, because 99 percent of them will not be great, and that’s okay.
Why flex your “idea muscle”?
As with any exercise plan, it takes weeks or months before you start to see the benefits of flexing your idea muscle. Altucher says that you will need to flex it every day for six months to become an “idea machine.”
Becoming an idea machine will change your life in amazing ways, and it will give you the confidence to find solutions to your problems, and the problems of others, at will. When confronted with obstacles, your idea muscle will kick in and instantly start producing possible solutions.
Imagine how you could help impact clients and friends when they come to you for counsel. Think about how this talent could help salvage real estate deals and open doors to new opportunities. You could help builders find new ways to get more jobs, and help business owners find new ideas to spark more sales.
If you share ideas with them and ask nothing in return, chances are good that they’ll refer business to you.
Ideas that light your heart on fire
The added benefit of working out your idea muscle is that occasionally you’ll come up with an idea that lights your heart on fire with excitement. When that happens, make your next list of 10 ideas be about that original idea: 10 ways you could implement the idea, 10 possible challenges with the idea, or 10 ways you could enlist help from others to implement the idea.
In other words, devote your next idea lists to exploring that original idea and see if you still feel it’s great. You’ll know when you have a potential great idea because it will fill you with the kind of excitement that makes you want to stay up all night working on it. You won’t even feel tired because you’ll be lit up with drive and anticipation.
Start flexing your idea muscle now, and soon you’ll feel your idea machine kick into high gear. Start with an easy list: 10 new dishes to fix for dinner. Then try a list that applies to your business: 10 ways I waste time, and 10 ways I can be more productive. Real estate agents will find it valuable to brainstorm 10 new ways to spread the word about a new listing.
The point is: just get started, and strengthen that muscle.