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As real estate agents, we all want to succeed. That's a given. But often we're so close to the daily grind of our work that we don't know where we are in our careers.
Over the years, I've seen too many agents trying to move up a level in their career without being ready for it. They hadn't internalized the lessons necessary for success. On the other hand, I've seen too many agents stuck at a level of their business for much too long-not knowing that they were ready to move up.
I've identified three levels of a real estate agent's career:
Level One: Discovery
This is the exciting - and frustrating - part of your career where you're learning, discovering, figuring out who you are, and figuring out what you want.
You're also learning your capabilities - what you do well and what you're absolutely terrible at. This can be a hard lesson because none of us wants to admit we're incapable of anything. But successful people learn to embrace their limitations. This is where you start to shine because you begin to focus on your strengths.
In this stage, there are months you impress yourself. Excitement empowers you. Then, there are also months you wonder when - or if - you'll see your next commission check. Frustration starts to weigh you down.
It can be tough. But once you get through it, it's never quite as dire again. As you move up levels, you look back on this time as your hard-won battle. The fear and self-doubt you felt become distant memories.
The Discovery Stage is also the time you learn some of your best and worst habits. I like to work with agents in this phase to stop bad habits from forming. It's easier than trying to change the habits of a more experienced agent who clings to old ways of doing things because "that's the way I've always done it."
You also learn here exactly how much money you need in your business - as well as the necessity of spending money to make money. If you're too frugal in your marketing efforts, you don't get the results you should be getting. This causes many agents (wrongly) to say, "Marketing doesn't work. I tried that and I got no response."
The problem wasn't that marketing doesn't work. It's that the agent didn't spend the money to create a marketing campaign that was well-thought out, well designed, and executed the right way. This one marketing lesson, learned in the Discovery Stage, is the impetus to all three stages.
Level Two: The Climb
Okay, your feet are wet. You've been doing this for a while now and you're starting to feel really good about yourself. You may start to get a little cocky here and believe that it's going to be easier than Level One.
But Level Two is the most frustrating level of all. Because it feels like you should be getting more out of your business than you're putting in. You're burning the candle at both ends and you're working, and working, and working!
One of two things happens here. You either:
a) start to burn out
b) learn to automate
The frustration inherent in Level Two comes from the fact that you're busier. You're no longer struggling to find clients. No, you're struggling to manage the clients you already have.
This is where automation comes in. The skilled Level Two real estate agent begins to set up processes for everything. By process, I mean a rote series of actions you take for everything you do. If the phone rings and a client asks you how their listing is going, you go to your computer and - click! - you have an instant report for them. You created the template for this report months ago. All you do is fill in the details for the client and this task is taken care of in seconds - not minutes.
This is just one example of automation. Everything you do should become automatic in Level Two. I have dozens of processes I teach in my seminars and courses - many of which can free up hours from your day.
The Climb is also the time in your career when you take basic marketing and turn it up a notch with consistent follow-up and consistent lead generation. Failing to master these two tasks is why many agents stay stuck in the Climb and never move up to Level Three.
Level Three: Balance
This is the level we all strive for. We no longer worry about money. Leads arrive consistently. Transactions happen regularly. We are happy with our income.
As we enter this stage, we're usually working too much. This is where we begin to let go and delegate some of our work to others.
Perhaps you hire an assistant. Perhaps you allow a company like The Lones Group to handle all your marketing. Perhaps you hire an outside consultant (like me) to do a business analysis and find out where you need to cut and where you need to paste.
You know you're at this level when you're able to say no to clients who are too demanding without feeling like you're losing out on anything. You say no to appointments that encroach on personal time.
This is the level of your business where you truly take time for yourself. You start to love your business for the simple reason that you're NOT burnt out.
It doesn't matter what level you're in right now. Each one provides you with unique opportunities for growth. Level One allows you to prove to yourself that you can do it. Level Two challenges you to create the life you want. Level Three rewards you with wealth and the time to enjoy it.
Wherever you are in your business, don't be afraid to seek help. Whether it's a mentor or colleague or outside help like we provide at The Lones Group, you can move up to the next level faster by learning from others who have already been where you are. This could literally cut years off your growth curve.
Whatever level you are currently at, take heart. You're part of a dynamic growth industry and with the right determination, processes, and mentoring you will be living at Level Three sooner than you may think.