• Chelsea Donovan

5 Unconventional Real Estate Lessons that Will Teach You to Put Yourself (and the Client) First

With any career, there’s going to be things that you can only learn while on the job. Going to school for real estate will teach you the ropes and get you going, for sure. However, it takes some time in the industry to really master the subtle art of wowing your real estate clients and sealing deal after deal… after deal.


With 87% of real estate agents failing within their first year on the job, it’s crucial to absorb and apply as much information as possible.


So whether you’re a brand new agent or a broker with hundreds of agents on your team, here are 5 unconventional real estate lessons to empower you to always put the client first.


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Our Top 5 Unconventional Real Estate Lessons

  1. Focus on self care

  2. Be a resource

  3. Say no

  4. Keep it human

  5. Embrace change

Lesson #1. Focus on self care


“I want to be a real estate agent so I can make my own hours!”


Who wants to tell them? 🙈


The reality is, 49% of real estate agents work over 40 hours per week. Many of the most successful realtors attribute their success to well, allowing their job to consume their life.


For some people, a good work/life balance looks like taking your clients out to dinner after hours. Others find joy in arranging playdates for their kids with the neighbors after they overheard them talking about wanting to move to Hawaii.


Bottom line?


Real estate is not for people who need a solid separation of life and work. There’s this common misconception that being your own boss means you won’t have to work as hard, leaving many new agents faced with a harsh reality once they get up and going.


If you do happen to be one of the rare humans who are mentally built to take on the industry, it’s going to be really important that you learn signs of burnout, and practice self-care both on and off the clock.


With real estate being such an emotionally and digitally-driven field, clients are going to need you at the top of your game, 24/7.


The world health organization defines “burnout” as:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

  • increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings negative towards one’s career

  • reduced professional productivity

In the US, “workplace stress” costs the economy more than $500 billion dollars each year — and real estate is one of the most stressful industries to work in.


49% of real estate agents work over 40 hours per week

In fact, The National Institute for Occupational Safety ranks “real estate agent” as number 6 on the list of jobs with the highest suicide rates.


Stress levels in real estate are most commonly attributed to:

  • Low sales numbers

  • Highly competitive environments

  • Lack of a work/life balance

  • Long hours

Be sure that you are frequently checking in with how you’re feeling with your stress levels at work. Practice self care regularly to ensure that you are ready and inspired to help your clients achieve their goals.


Tips for handling stress:

  • Hire a transaction coordinator to help if you’re feeling overwhelmed with details

  • Schedule time each day to unwind

  • Get the Starbucks (or whatever your equivalent is). Don’t feel bad about spending $5 on coffee

  • Have frequent outings with friends and family where you are not allowed to discuss work

Lesson #2. Be a resource


Real estate is confusing for your clients.


There are so many steps to purchasing or selling a home, and clients are going to have questions. Being a solid resource, even before prospects reach out to you will not only provide an opportunity for them to work with you in the future, but could also make your transactions more profitable.


Empowering buyers and sellers to prepare for a transaction is not only an effective marketing tool, but helps clients ready themselves to make even bigger transactions.


For example, teaching clients about different loan types before they even start the homebuying process may help them consider searching in alternative areas with down payment assistance to purchase a higher priced home.


By stepping into the role of a teacher, with a big heart to match, both you and your clients will feel great the whole way through. 💖


#3. Say no


Running your own real estate SOI gives you a lot of power.


But with so many people depending on you, it’s not exactly natural for agents to say “no”.


Those who strive the most in real estate tend to be the people pleasers, who go out of their way to make clients happy. While this is an awesome trait to have, it can also be a negative if you’re saying yes to too many things at once.


What to say “no” to in real estate:

  • Overpriced listings

  • Reducing your commissions

  • Poor professionalism from a client

  • Non-emergency contact during off hours

  • Anything that makes you uncomfortable

Taking on the wrong client can take time away from other business. Putting in your 100% isn’t always going to be enough for every single person that comes across your desk, and that’s ok. Saying no is a really powerful tool for running a successful business.


Get support. Use processes that do the communicating for you. And learn what healthy boundaries look like so you can protect your mental health and your client relationships.


Tips to help you say no:

  • Have a list of non-negotiables

  • Communicate expectations with clients at the beginning of a working relationship

  • Uphold boundaries from day one

  • Practice saying no outside of work

  • Have email templates prepared for common situations


Tammi Quote

Lesson #4. Keep it human


Real estate transactions are some of the largest in a person’s life.


These are usually coupled with major life changes such as a new child or a divorce. Understanding that your clients are likely going through some sort of a transitional period, and having empathy for their situation is so important in finding success in your relationships.


Communicating effectively with clients is one way to ensure they feel confident in your interactions. With communication, the right tools can make all the difference. Not every client is going to have time to jump on a phone call to discuss the process and your needs from them. Consider some new tools to help you keep information digestible and accessible.


Here are some must-have communication tips:

  • Prepare email templates for frequent communications to save time on the details and focus more on the relationship

  • Remember names and birthdays, and send cards to celebrate big events

  • Keep up with clients after a sale

Lesson #5. Embrace change


In recent years, we’ve seen some pretty significant changes in how real estate transactions are happening.


More and more people are putting offers down on homes without even stepping foot inside!


Between the pandemic limiting in-person engagements, as well as houses selling faster than ever, we have less time to connect with our clients. You need to be ready with tools to manage the unexpected.


A new generation


We’re entering a new phase in the real estate industry, where a new generation of homebuyers and sellers are entering the market.


Millennials and gen z are going to have a ton of different needs than their parents when it comes to buying or selling a home.


Here are some things to revisit:

  • Your marketing strategy: Focus on digital advertising and social media

  • Your communication strategy: Email, text and chat may be preferred over phone calls

  • Your security in communications: Are conversations regarding sensitive information protected?


Automate to work less and connect more


It’s 2022, and whatever your needs are, there’s an app for that.


The real estate industry has a big need when it comes to new technologies that help eliminate repetitive, read-tape heavy processes and free up more time or authentic connection with clients.


Between a younger generation entering the market, and business moving so fast you simply can’t keep up, it’s time to look at streamlining your systems and processes.


Here are some ways technology can help automate your workflow:

  • Store important information about your contacts such as names, birthdays, etc.

  • Connect multiple email accounts to your calendar for easier scheduling

  • Use email templates to send important information

  • Send gifs to clients to make communication feel more personal

The right tools and processes can help you streamline your workflow, allowing more time for personalized interactions with clients, and more time to enjoy your craft as an agent, TC, or team leader.


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