Get out of Real Estate!
What did he say? You read it right. However, I’m not talking about changing careers. Over the course of my career, I’ve been guided to success by a very simple approach. If everyone else is doing it, I shouldn’t be. Why would I feel that way? There are many reasons, but I’ll share a few that will shed some light on why I’ve started this venture for you.
As a buyer’s agent, we’re faced with 2 major challenges every single day. First, most agents in our industry see Buyer’s Agents as second class citizens. They seem to feel it’s only reserved for the young and inexperienced agent to learn the ropes and then move on. Look around your market and you’ll find that many current buyer’s agents buy into this view as well. Because of this, real estate teams “breathe” buyer’s agents like stale air. In one month, out the next. Lather, rinse, repeat.
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Second, we are fighting against our own less than professional industry. Let’s be honest, the ease of access to real estate has created a bloated mess of inexperience across the board. For every professional agent you can name, I bet you can name 10 that make you sick that they’re associated with your profession.
I frequently tell clients who marvel at the actions of other agents that “it’s easier to get a license to sell someone’s home than it is to cut someone’s hair.” Put some thought into that, because it’s not an issue with Cosmetology licensing! They work hard to become professionals in an industry that can impact public health if performed poorly. However, as real estate agents we advise people on managing the largest financial transaction of their lifetime after a 2 week online course, an hour long test, and a couple of office-led training courses.
So, to clarify my original point, my recommendation to “get out of real estate” is really to challenge yourself to think outside of real estate dogma. The “conventional thinking” is tied to the two problems above. The typical training for agents perpetuates the disposable culture centered on the buyer agent role and most training focuses around activities (cold calling, door knocking, open houses) that everyone is doing and carry negative connotations with prospects.
Why would you do this? Why not “follow the model” as we’re encouraged every day? Simple; it’s because the model is designed to focus on building success for listing based agents. As you probably know, the functions of a listing agent and a buyer agent are distinctly different. As a buyer agent, you need a different model. You need one that fits your world, your daily activities, and ideally, your personality style.
In the introduction on Altiores.com I say I believe buyer agency can be “profitable, sustainable, and fulfilling.” I’ve found these three to be the right mix for career success. For example, I don’t do open houses...ever. Could I close more buyers if I did? Possibly, but it would completely ignore the other two pillars of success for me. It’s not sustainable for me because I can spend my time showing homes instead. But where will I get those buyers, if not open houses, you say? We’ll get there! As far as fulfilling, if I’m not showing during a time people typically hold open houses, then I’ll be with my family or spending time doing something I enjoy. Sitting in an open house is definitely not on that list.
That’s just one example of how to measure if an activity is worthwhile in this approach. We’ll get to specifics of acquiring clients and other buyer lead generation activities and how they fit in the plan. As I close this first missive, I’ll leave you with a specific action to take as you evaluate and craft your own “profitable, sustainable, and fulfilling” environment. Here’s your first assignment.
Start investing time in non-real estate media to start challenging why you’re doing things the way you are. Here are a few resource recommendations I’ve found especially helpful.
The goal here isn’t to actually work 4 hours a week. This book is so popular because it challenges you to look at how you’re doing everything. A great resource to help you ask “why do I do it this way?”
I swear I'm not just trying to confuse you here. This book is one of my favorites to read when I feel stuck by something in my process. It’s written like a novel, but introduces the Theory of Constraints as a process for organizational improvement. The mindset of challenging hurdles or “constraints” in our success systems is extremely valuable.
1 Million Cups is a national entrepreneurship live event that is held weekly in 100+ cities across the country. Every wednesday morning, entrepreneurs get together to listen to 1 or 2 founders tell the story of their startup and then take questions from an expert panel and the audience. There’s a great chance one is in your city, but if not, you can also watch them on a livestream. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to attend or enjoy this. This community is built on continuously questioning the value of each other’s activities and learning from each other. It is an amazing place to challenge your own thinking about how you operate your buyer business. A side bonus is that it’s a place where other agents aren't going. It's fantastic place to meet people who want to build their network and freely give you their contact info!
I can't think of a more diverse collection of business professionals to recommend you listen to. The idea isn’t to inspire you to leave real estate, but again, to change your mindset. Pay attention to the attitudes and perseverance of those you hear.
Motivation and world changing thinking. TED talks are full of it. You need to believe that following the crowd isn’t always necessary. What a great resource to help reinforce that.
So, no magic bullets. I hope that's not what you were expecting. In my opinion, a large part of success in this industry, with buyers or sellers, is playing the long game. Like success anywhere else in life, there's no quick fix. Stay tuned, and thank you for making it this far!