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Building Confidence as a New Agent

The early years as a new agent can be tough, but there are ways to make it more manageable, such as by taking classes and going to events.

WASHINGTON -- Real estate sales can be one of the most challenging yet most rewarding careers out there. Passing the state exam is hard enough but once you’re in the career it’s like, “Well, now what?!” Granted you can choose a brokerage and hope you get a strong head start, but mostly, we’re independent contractors and in charge of our own careers. Our successes and failures are largely in our hands.

The beginning years, I must say, are the hardest. No one in the industry knows who you are. Those around you don’t know what you do. You might be afraid to put yourself out there because of imposter syndrome. The good news is that those before you have been there and gotten through it. You got this! Believe in yourself! It won’t be easy, and quite frankly, it doesn’t get easy because the landscape of the industry is always changing. But you do get better, so it looks easy!

Here are my tips to going from newbie to groovy:

Embrace rentals

For me and most of my agents, rentals were our first deals. Rentals are a great way to quickly find a customer, help them find a place and get deals done. The main reason is because there’s a ton of people out there who are constantly looking for rental housing. Rentals are an accessible housing option for many because of a faster approval process and less funds needed to secure a home.

Rentals are a great entry point into the business because they’re a little less intensive as well, which reduces margin for error. There’s always a learning curve when starting out in a new industry, and mistakes will happen. With rentals, the cost of a mistake will likely be lower.

As agents’ careers grow and their buyer and seller clientele start to fill, some decide they don’t have the time to commit to helping with rental transactions. This leaves a lot of unrepresented rental leads out there who are looking for help. Granted you can likely get a higher commission selling one house versus finalizing one rental, but there are important considerations here. Namely, time and effort: What if in the time it took me to sell one house, you were able to close 10 rental transactions?

Not only is it possible for you to have generated more commission dollars, but you’ve also completed more transactions, done more showings, likely written more contracts and overall, learned more on your journey than me. Best of all, rental transactions seeds are planted throughout your career. It’s common for me to get a call or email from someone I helped move into a rental a while back who’s now ready to find a new rental home (sometimes a bigger one) or they’re ready to buy! Cha Ching! Following up with rental clients is a great way to generate business. Their needs might have changed, which means a different rental, or they might be ready for homeownership.

Take on all clients

I mean all. If a potential customer was ready to try, I was willing to see if I could help them figure it out! When you’re able to close a deal with someone that others may feel is a difficult applicant due to low credit, past legal issues, recent evictions etc., you get an extreme sense of satisfaction seeing your negotiation skills work! Some agents don’t even try to negotiate believe it or not.

If you’re new and don’t have much going on, now is the time to do it all until you’re too busy and your schedule is full. This helps build momentum. You learn what challenges can and will arise and how to overcome them. You learn the most from the difficult deals because that’s where the experience comes in. You got licensed to help people achieve their housing goals, so get out there and start helping! As you see, do and learn more you will start to develop systems and methods to accomplish repetitive tasks faster and help your clients in a more efficient way, thus making you that much better of an agent.

Take classes, go to events

Never stop learning. The industry is always changing, and continuing education is an important way we grow as professionals and individuals. Taking classes and absorbing information on a regular basis makes us better at answering questions. It makes our conversation that much deeper. It gives us that much more confidence to get out there and join conversations and welcome questions from our clients and our peers. The better you answer questions, the more you can teach people, the more confidence they have that you are the go-to person for the job.

My rule is if I’m not working, I’m learning. My viewpoint is that learning is still working! If you haven’t shown a single property or written a single contract yet, but you’ve taken a couple classes here and there you’re still working on your career and developing your business. Just the same as classes, attending events with other industry pros is a great way to gain knowledge and see how others operate. It’s all about that one thing you can take away to better yourself.

Since classes mostly are optional, continuing education can separate the good agents from the great ones. Get used to getting up, getting ready, and showing up, whether for a class or a client. By doing so, you’re staying in motion and making forward progress. You’re building momentum.

Above all else, believe in yourself!

Zoom out and look at the progress you’ve made no matter how big or small. You will soon notice how far you’ve come. Mistakes and problems from yesterday, last month, or last year, are not your problems of tomorrow. We never fully outrun problems. We just get the privilege to get to face bigger challenges and problems that only someone of our caliber can handle. Embrace the struggle, Do a bad job until you do a great job it’s all part of the game. Just keep going. Stay focused and trust yourself! See you at the closing table!

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