Eyes wide open: navigating the challenges of a real estate career

Real estate can be a challenge, especially if you’re new to the industry. But it’s also one of the most rewarding careers. Here, coach Marnie Beauchamp outlines her practical, hands-on advice for new agents, and shares tips for lead agents and principals to help their teams smash their KPIs.

Be a real estate agent, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. You’ll be great, they said. You’ll make loads of money, they said.

How many of you came into the industry with stars in your eyes, shiny new shoes and an expectation that you would be a superstar raking in cash, wearing a designer suit and driving a Mercedes? Be honest now!

Of course, you CAN be all of the above and more – it’s just bloody hard work.

Many agents, especially younger ones, come into the industry with big plans but aren’t fully equipped for the emotional experience this job entails.

Often they don’t have the life skills, inner strength or understanding to cope with rejection.

Let’s face it, the real estate industry is a challenging and competitive field.

But it’s also one of the most rewarding career opportunities if you come in with the right attitude, perseverance, a good dose of ‘never give up’ energy and a truly kind-hearted, empathetic approach. 

So what are the biggest challenges many new agents face? 

  1. rejection
  2. targets and KPIs
  3. dealing with the emotions and trauma of strangers
  4. long hours. 

So here are some insights and practical advice for new agents as well as principals and lead agents bringing in new staff.

How to reduce rejection

Prospecting is the area that’s likely to result in the most rejection for a new agent, from cold calling through to being turned down after the listing presentation.

If you’re a lead agent or a principal, remember your first time picking up the phone or knocking on someone’s door. It’s not easy, and your newbies can benefit from your dos and don’ts.

The days of, “Here’s a phone, and there’s the phone book” are over, so ensure each team member has adequate training.

As an agent, remember that cold calls and door knocking are intrusions on people’s time, so always come from a place of giving rather than selling.

Make sure the nature of the calls are wholesome and offer information such as a recent sale around the corner. Role play the call before you make it, and if someone is rude or gruff on the phone, don’t take it personally.

Learn the skills to remove yourself from conflict effectively, stay polite and humble, don’t argue and always finish a conversation with gratitude.

You’d be surprised how simply saying, “I didn’t mean to interrupt” or “I’m happy to take you off our list, have a great day and I thank you for taking my call,” can actually create a halo effect.

If you’re in a listing presentation, ensure you’re prepared without being ‘rehearsed’. Have good dialogue around providing information, asking the prospects questions to understand their needs and sharing your results.

If you miss out on a listing, use it as an opportunity to analyse what you could do better, and seek feedback from the client.

Targets and KPIs

This is all about balancing challenging goals, experience levels and realistic expectations.

Many new agents will not have heard of targets or KPIs before, so as a principal, break down the numbers and explain how long it takes to earn a commission.

Ensure the KPIs are fair and reasonable for your newbie’s experience level.

As a new agent, break split your targets up into weekly targets and daily schedules.

This clarifies what needs to be done and when, and it will feel much more manageable.

Dealing with emotion and trauma

Every agent will inevitably have clients selling due to divorce, death and other cataclysmic events.

It’s important to guide new agents so they feel prepared for those situations and know how to handle them.

Listen without judgement, empathise, console, and give your clients space to talk.

Particularly when it comes to divorce, don’t have an opinion and never take sides. Also keep your clients’ confidence. It’s not your place to share sensitive information with others.

It’s also important to know how to leave work at work and not take on any negative energy from your clients. If you are struggling, ask someone with more experienced to help you.

The hours

Real estate is a 24/7 gig, and because you’re either on the phone or with people, you must take downtime when an opportunity presents itself.

When you’re at work you need to be high energy, fully focused and 100 per cent present.

If you’re coming to real estate from a 9-5 job, forget everything you think you know about the world of work.

Clients will call you at all hours and expect you to answer. Weekends are no longer yours. You will miss your kids’ sport and days with family and friends.

This can cause a lot of guilt, anxiety and pressure, so ensure you manage your time effectively and maintain the best work-life balance possible.

A career in real estate is a lifestyle, not a job. You have to be passionate about it and commit to it. 

Being a real estate agent is not for the faint-hearted. You need to have thick skin, calm reactions and be ready to dodge any bullets that come your way. But this is why we are paid the big bucks when everything falls into place. 

Despite the challenges, as real estate agents, we play a crucial role in helping families and individuals navigate the process of selling a home, bringing hope and closure and assisting clients in moving on to the next exciting chapter in their lives.

So if you’re a new agent reading this, grab your suit, a hard hat, steel-capped boots or stilettos and tune into your sense of humour because the world of real estate is a wild ride, and you’re in for the adventure of a lifetime!

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Marnie Beauchamp

Marnie Beauchamp has over 30 years experience in real estate & business ownership. Accolades include Business person of the year, business of the year & most outstanding real estate agency multiple years. With a passion for hard work, Marnie looks to revolutionise the way agents and agencies work.