Managing Expectations

A new agent recently asked if we distributed “leads” and if any our agents were designated “showing” agents?  Clearly life would be so much easier if we simply sent checks.  Sign up to be a realtor, put a sign in the yard, and start collecting checks.  Sadly, I wonder if people think this is the way things work?

The success rate for new real estate agents is very low.  As a matter of fact, if people actually thought about a career as a full-time real estate agent at the ONSET, nobody would do it.  It almost seems impossible. 

If $100K is a salary target, that means an agent would need to sell a $300K house EVERY month.  To ensure a closing month in, month out, the agent’s sales funnel would need to be consistently 3 or 4 times that.   Being a Sales Contractor, regardless of industry, is hard.  Real estate only makes it harder.  It’s not like people are buying houses with the change of seasons. 

So, am I saying we have no full-time agents making over $100K?  No, not at all.  

I will say no agent did $100K in their first year.  AND, everyone who is in that position today, built up to that position over time.    I have known hundreds of successful realtors over the years and almost to a person their story is eerily similar.  “It just kind of happened. Over time the referrals kick in.  The more sales you do, the more referrals you get.  Then one day you realize this can work!”   

Malcolm Gladwell is known for his “10,000 Hour Theory”.  As the theory goes, people need ten years of practicing, working and developing their craft to achieve a level of “mastery”.   This theory applies to almost everything in life.  Real estate is no exception.  Does it take ten years to master real estate?  Absolutely not.  The trade of real estate can be mastered in months. 

But what takes time, is the honing of the skill set needed to be a professional sales contractor.  Discipline, routine, and habit are all learned traits.  They don’t come easy.  Watch a veteran agent’s eyeroll when they see a new agent’s hair on fire over working simultaneous deals.   

What takes time is the development of an agent’s own referral network.   Like fine wine and compounding interest, it really can’t be rushed.  It takes a few years of sales to have a pool of happy customers large enough to support some level of consistent new client referral.  

What takes time is the ongoing development of “customer acquisition” skills.   New agents stress over cold-shouldered clients and can often come off as desperate.  Veteran agents know what does or doesn’t happen today may very well pop up again at some later point.  Nothing is ever really lost.  The more people an agent speaks to, the more chances of something in the future popping up. 

What takes time is gaining the experience needed that allows an agent to play the long game.  Given a more mature sales funnel, and a referral network, agents can concentrate their time working on things 8-10 months out.  New agents by nature start out, station to station.  Outside of the family circle, every new client is a mountain to climb. 

Anecdotally, I can state I have watched several part time agents become full-time agents.  In each case, real estate started out as a side gig.  They stuck with it.  Depending on the agent, you can see their activity levels significantly change around the 3-5 year mark.     

So, am I saying it takes 3-5 years to become a viable full-time sales agent?  Not at all.  But what’s clear is six-figure incomes don’t come easy.  It’s a lot of work and while we don’t dwell on it, so much of an agent’s success is dependent on their personality.   A lot of people simply don’t have the personality it takes to do this job on a full-time basis.

This may sound discouraging.  But remember there is a HUGE difference between full and part-time sales.  Full time real estate sales is hard and requires skill.  Part-time real estate sales is easy and requires nothing more than a pulse coupled with good common sense.  Few people have the skills needed for full-time sales.  Everyone has the skills needed for part-time sales

Maybe all real estate should begin as a part-time gig.  How else do you answer: is this for me?  How can you try it before you commit to an agent’s lifestyle?

Our next blog will discuss all things important to part-timers.  When Wynd Realty began, we advertised ourselves as “Atlanta’s Part-time Agent Advocate”.    We did that because no one else wanted them.  The franchises had long ago turned their backs on part-timers.   They’ve worked out pretty well for us. 

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