What does the money real estate agents spend on top-tier coaching actually buy? It’s not tips, tricks, or hacks, but rather the creation of highly effective habits (and systems) proven to improve your income by hundreds of thousands of dollars. This article is based on a conversation with Tony Smith, a real estate agent and coach with the Mike Ferry Organization who trains dozens of real estate agents every year to develop these core habits.
11 Core Habits For Real Estate Agents Who Prospect
Habit 1: Don’t Invent Excuses
Habit 2: Get Good At Handling Objections
Habit 3: Expose Yourself To Rejection
Habit 4: Be Accountable
Habit 5: Listen To Your Calls
Habit 6: Get Business – Don’t Wait For It
Habit 7: Avoid Unnecessary Distractions
Habit 8: Count Your “Wins”
Habit 9: Don’t Overcomplicate It!
Habit 10: Use A Simple Script
Habit 11: Do The Work
1. Don’t Invent Excuses
We all know what we’re supposed to do to be successful. Sometimes, however, the hardest part is finding the drive to actually do it. According to Tony Smith (real estate coach), one of the hardest things for real estate agents to actually do is to get on the phone and prospect.
Tony can ask any agent, “Do you think you should generate leads in your business?” And 100% of them will answer, “Yes, of course!” When he follows up with, “How do you do it?” they’ll give the usual answer, “Well… open houses, mailers, flyers, door knocking, and prospecting.”
But when he asks how much lead generation they actually do, they admit they often have a hard time getting around to it.
They know they’re supposed to prospect to be successful in their business, they just don’t. But the top-producing real estate agents don’t find excuses to avoid success. They know what it takes to reach their goals, and they don’t stop until they do.
2. Get Good At Handling Objections
Top prospectors know every objection in the book. From, “We’re going to wait to list our home,” all the way to, “Let me talk to my wife.” These objections aren’t new and, as a prospector, you’re likely to hear them almost every day.
The only thing separating good agents from great agents is the habit of pushing for a “yes” when most agents settle for a “no” and move on to the next lead after an objection.
As you know, a good habit takes time to develop. Maneuvering through tough objections and overcoming rejection takes time too. But Tony says exposing yourself to the pain and discomfort is the best (if not the only) way to overcome rejection and become a successful prospector.
So how can you effectively expose yourself to rejection while putting the nerves and fear behind you?
3. Expose Yourself To Rejection
Exposure therapy is one common approach to help people reduce their fears. If you have “phone phobia,” then this method is for you. Schedule a Saturday prospecting session and call 100 people with a single goal: face rejection.
To encounter the maximum rejection in the least amount of time, Tony offers this nine word sentence to expedite your rejection therapy: “Do you want to sell your house, or not?” In 100 calls you’ll receive every type of rejection imaginable.
Tony says, “Somebody will yell at you. Somebody will hang up. Somebody will lie. Somebody will cheat. Somebody will do all these things. But you’ll be exposed to everything that’s ever going to happen to you all in one prospecting session.”
What happens when you experience every type of rejection in one sitting? Tony says if you try it, you’ll see how it’s not as hard as most agents thinks it is. With all that exposure to rejection, you’ll become more resilient, develop strategies to turn them around, and kiss your fears goodbye.
4. Improvement Through Accountability
Hitting the snooze button on prospecting for a day is a lot easier when you don’t have someone holding you accountable. But which one really sounds better? Five more minutes of sleep? Or thousands of dollars to pay for the things you want and need?
As Tony Smith puts it, “My single biggest job as a coach is to get the truth out about what you want to accomplish, then hold you accountable to it. And it all starts with confrontation.”
A good coach (or accountability partner) will confront you about your goals, figure out what it will take to achieve them, then offer direct feedback to help you become better.
Ask any successful real estate coaching client and they’ll tell you the same thing: they didn’t get to the top by themselves. They needed other people to hold them accountable and discourage them from quitting (and failing).
5. Listen To Your Calls
Have you ever looked in the mirror and said, “Wow, I’m looking good today,” then saw yourself in a picture and thought, “Wow, I actually look terrible”? Tony says, “That’s the difference between a recorded document and what our brain tells us. A recorded document is real.”
It’s common for real estate agents to get off a prospecting call and think, “I nailed my script, pushed past objections, but I still didn’t get the listing appointment!” Odds are, if you listen to a recording of the call, you’ll realize where you missed an opportunity.
Call recordings offer immediate learning opportunities because you can hear where your call went wrong and how to improve.
As Tony puts it, “The only way we can get better is to expose ourselves.” Expose yourself to your mistakes (and weaknesses) to become more productive in less time!
6. Go Get Business Instead Of Waiting For It
A great way to keep your “money momentum” moving in the right direction is by remembering the connection between prospecting and profit.
Tony describes agents (many of whom are new to the industry) who believe selling real estate is a matter of “market and wait.” These agents think they can spend money on fliers, billboards, bench ads, and commercials, then sit back and watch the commision checks roll in.
This “wait and see” strategy might help sell one or two properties a year, but is $1,000 a month really enough to live off? Instead of waiting for commissions, the habit of going out and working for it is simply the best strategy.
Prospectors who “list and last” understand, in order to keep commissions coming, you have to get on the phone and dial. The most successful agents prospect every day (some multiple times a day) and stick to a solid routine.
7. Avoid Unnecessary Distractions
In our age of social media, email, and video games, distractions have become easier and easier to come by. All it takes is a quick glance at a text or tweet and all of a sudden you’re hours into what could’ve been a productive prospecting session.
Tony calls these creative avoidance behaviors. “People get really creative with how they avoid the work they know they should be doing,” Tony says. “And even more creative with how we justify our avoidance after it’s all done.”
Relate your prospecting sessions to your car’s gas mileage. You’re going to get the best miles per gallon cruising on the freeway, and the least when you’re driving through the city.
Why is this? It’s all about the stop and go.
The more often you stop, the more energy you spend to get going again. The same idea applies to prospecting. If you stop every ten minutes to check your email, you’re going to waste energy getting back up to speed.
Fortifying your focus is not hard. There are three simple layers you can tinker with to improve your focus: your digital space, your physical space, and your telephone technology.
Starting with your digital space, productivity experts like Tony recommend installing apps and browser plugins to limit your access to sites like Gmail or Facebook during your prospecting sessions.
Next, a prospecting space separate from the rest of your business is a common solution to securing your physical space.
This dedicated space trains your mind for “game time” the same way stepping onto football field or tennis court does for athletes. It also trains the people around you to respect your focus when they see you in this space.
Finally, your telephone technology can have a significant positive impact on your focus. For example, a dialer not only dials for you, but turns prospecting into a game. Like a game, a dialer provides a steady flow of “opponents,” keeping your attention on the leads you loaded.
8. Count Your “Wins”
Have you ever had a disastrous prospecting session? Every prospector has, and they can be a real drain on your motivation (if you let it). This is why making a game out of prospecting is a great way to feel like you’re always winning, even if you don’t get the listing appointment!
Tony’s favorite is “Prospecting Bingo.”
Normally getting hung up on or yelled at doesn’t feel “valuable.” But prospecting is a numbers game, and by playing it as a game you can feel rewarded (instead of punished) by assigning value to the actions and outcomes.
For instance, when you “get hung up on” – mark that square! Achieve “30 consecutive minutes of talk time” – mark that square! Overcome an objection and… mark that square!
You can set up your bingo card however you like. Sooner or later, you’ll score an appointment! But teaching yourself each adversity along the way works to your advantage.
Tony calls this “counting your wins,” because the gap between paychecks can feel large, but when the time in between feels like a win, it doesn’t have to be! And if you want more than the feeling of winning your “BINGO” game, you can even attach a small reward for completing your card that day.
9. Don’t Overcomplicate It!
Most agents agree: having a system is better than no system at all. But be careful not to overcomplicate things! Because if you become too focused on developing the perfect system, you can distract yourself from actually prospecting. It won’t matter how amazing your system is if you’re not actually dialing and making your contacts.
Real world example: Tony recalls working with an agent who had over 25 years’ real estate experience. But as tenured as she was, she had a difficult time making her calls and contacts, and her income was suffering.
When Tony asked to see her system, she pointed out all of the ways she sorted (and resorted) her leads into various categories. Tony saw this over-organization and told her, “You’re still not making your contacts. If you’re not calling them, then what’s the point?”
He challenged her to delete her whole system, and she did! With a fresh start she was able to work through her contacts, simplify her organization, and start making money again.
10. Use A Simple Script
As we just learned, complexity is the enemy of income. Simplicity is the solution, and choosing a simple script is the perfect solution for many real estate agents. A simple script keeps your listing conversations from random ramblings (a common reason appointments don’t get set).
The simplest scripts boil the conversation down to one question: “When would you like to sell your property?” That’s it. Do your opening line, then find a simple way to work in this simple question.
Tony says they’ll either say, “Never, tomorrow, or next year.” Based on their answer you’ll know where to go next with the conversation. This one-line script skips all the fluff and keeps your call to the point.
So maybe it’s time to skip the “20 questions” and try a simple script. And if you don’t choose the script in this post, there are other free proven scripts to keep your conversations clear and concise.
11. Do The Work
If you’re looking for a magic marketing trick, script, or tool to suddenly and forever make real estate easy, you’ll be searching for a very long time. Everlasting real estate agents work hard to develop their skills, and as Tony Robbins puts it, “Repetition is the mother of skill.”
If you prospect with the mindset of nailing million dollar listing appointments on the first or second call, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. More importantly, you’re not focused on building the underlying asset you should be – learning how to show up and play the long game.
Real estate coaches like Tony see agents get fired up after buying a cool new tool or hiring a mentor with the unmet expectation that they will be slingshotted to success. What they don’t understand is that they need to put in effort to make their tools work.
Tony says to keep your expectations in line because if you don’t, you’ll quit. Unrealistic expectations kill more real estate careers than any other factor or force in the industry.
Time To Get It!
You’ve read the habits… now which ones are you going to develop?
Success starts with small, daily actions to improve what you already have. You’ll see your income grow as you focus on your growing skills and solidifying newer, better habits.
After all, how do you expect to earn what you’re worth if you routine is full of distractions? Wishing for things to be different won’t win you what you want.
As John C. Maxwell said, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
The value of habit-driven action can’t be understated. The things you do every hour of every day determine your success.
REDX offers real estate professionals a complete all-in-one prospecting platform for generating listing appointments. The platform includes seller leads, a dialer with up to three lines, and a lead management tool for simple follow-up. REDX maintains the position that all agents should be compliant with state and federal telecom laws – learn more here. Call (800) 731-7339 option 1 to learn more about prospecting FSBOs, Expireds, FRBOs, Pre Foreclosures, GeoLeads, and our Power Dialer – or visit www.theredx.com