Friday, January 16, 2015

Agents, how do you know when it’s time to quit?

In my time I have seen many real estate agents begin their career only to give up a short time later. I’ve also seen agents with many years of experience decide it’s time to move on. For some of them I’m sure they made the right decision. Becoming a real estate agent is not as easy as some people may think and in the beginning paydays can be few and far in between.

For new agents, trying to manage their personal finances can sometimes be impossible and they have no choice but to return to the daily 9 – 5 grind that most people are accustomed to. But why do some of the established agents suddenly “throw in the towel”? I suspect that many times the decision to quit is based more on personal reasons than as a result of “financial” necessity. The truth is that “burnout” is not just a word, it is a reality and it can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of their occupation.
If you are considering changing your occupation or simply retiring all together than there is something that you must ask yourself: “Do I still enjoy what I am doing?”  Maybe that sounds simplistic to some of you but the reality is that being a realtor is not just an occupation, it is a way of life. I can remember seeing the recruitment commercials for the U.S. army on television when I was very young. The catch phrase was “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure”. I think the same can be said for my occupation.

If you are no longer energized when you wake up in the morning, and more importantly, if you feel that you no longer enjoy working with clients and helping them to the best of your ability than it might be time for you to make a change. If you are not 100% sure that you wish to continue your career as an agent than you should consider the following questions before making a decision that you might possibly regret.

  • Simple and to the point, “Do you love what you do?” Life is short and spending so much of your time doing anything that you don’t enjoy is not a wise decision. Regardless of your occupation, if you dread waking up every morning than you need to make a change.
  • “Is marketing a problem for you?” Doing your tasks as an agent is one thing but marketing is a completely different animal. If you don’t enjoy the process of obtaining new business than you have a serious dilemma. Phone calls, emails, blogs, networking, open houses and more are all necessary to being a successful real estate agent. If you don’t enjoy this process than you are undermining your own success. One solution to this situation is to hire people to do your marketing for you. This will free you up to spend your time dealing with clients instead of trying to get more of them. In this way you can continue to do what you do enjoy and perhaps now is not the time for you to move on.
  • “Are you mentally and financially able to deal with the slow times?” For many agents it’s quite easy to be upbeat and positive when we have a multitude of closings on our schedule but what about when there are none? If you don’t have the fortitude to keep going when the going gets tough this may not be the business for you.
  • “Are you reluctant or do you procrastinate when it’s time to do the things you need to do?” This is a sure sign that something is wrong. If there is something that you need to do to be successful but you always “put it off” than something needs to change. I have seen agents that hate to do certain duties such as attend an open house, call people to solicit new business or even meet with prospective new clients. For me this is an indication that a person has a fear of rejection. If you hesitate to meet with new prospects but are comfortable dealing with existing clients than you may also fear being rejected. The truth is that a surprising number of successful salespersons have had this problem in the past. The good news is that it can be overcome and is not a good reason to give up what could be an enjoyable and rewarding career.
  • “Do you habitually procrastinate?” Always putting things off until the last possible moment is yet another indication that something is not quite right. Think about it, we never procrastinate when we want do something that we truly enjoy. Do you procrastinate when your favorite show is about to come on or it’s time to eat your favorite meal? If certain duties at work cause you to procrastinate or you simply dread doing them than you have only 2 choices: Change your attitude or stop doing them altogether. Again, if you can afford to pay someone else to do these tasks for you, than do so. If not, you need to learn to enjoy doing them or you will never be happy in your career.

Being a real estate agent is not for everyone but if you have made it this far than you owe it to yourself to truly discover if it’s time to quit or if you can change the things that you don’t like. Whether you are new to the industry or an agent with 30 years experience you owe it to yourself to continue if you can fix whatever may be wrong. If not, you owe it to your clients, colleagues and most importantly, to yourself to move on if the time has truly come.

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