Teeing Up a Big, Fat Failure

I scratched the surface of this topic a couple of posts ago. You can read that here. I am going to dive into it a little deeper in this post because I truly think it is one of two things that holds most people back in real estate. The first is the mindset element, which we can talk about another time. The more and more that I think about this, and I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about it, the more I believe that the way the real estate industry trains prospecting is broken. In fact, I might argue that the majority of this training sets people up for failure, not success.

Now, a couple of notes to preface my argument. First, I don’t think anyone in the real estate training universe is purposely trying to set their students/agents up for failure. That would be ridiculous. Second, what might be seen as disparagement of certain business practices below is not intended as such. All of these things work. It’s the mindset behind them that sets the table for failure.

With that said, let’s get right to the point. Most real estate training, especially for new licensees, sets the expectation that without setting an appointment or getting a referral, you have failed. It’s something of a “dial for dollars” mentality. It harkens back to the “it’s a numbers game” bullshit from a hundred years ago. Scenes from Glengarry Glen Ross flash through my mind (taking nothing at all from one of if not the best sales movie ever). I am also now inspired to write a top sales movies blog post.

My two big problems with this expectation are that it isn’t sustainable and it is short-term thinking. Let’s dive into that, and a better solution.

“Cold” Calling

My first “real” job was selling advertising. The majority of that included, as a new salesperson with no book of business, cold calling business and trying to get appointments. I would get so excited setting an appointment. then I stopped getting that excited. The newness wore off. The constant rejection set in. I hated making those calls. I still do.

Whether it’s making a bunch of expired listing or FSBO calls, or walking around door knocking random houses, or whatever the prospecting program of the moment is, most people are not suited to consistently get shot down by strangers. We aren’t built that way. So, why do we want everyone to do shit that we don’t want to do ourselves?

Short-Term Thinking

More importantly, I think, is that this expectation creates a very short-term view of how our business works. In my brokerage, which is the only one I feel comfortable talking about, the majority of our business from new licensees comes from either their sphere of influence or working open houses. I am good with that. Both are tried and true business development methods. Both set the stage for long-term relationships.

When you set a transactional mindset, you forgo the truth that this is a people business. This is a relationship business. It is not about dialing for dollars. It is about dialing for depth of relationships and brand building.

The Solution

To fix this problem, nothing but the mindset behind it needs to change.

The first part of that is setting the expectation that a conversation is a win. If we are calling and talking to people, we are making progress towards that appointment and/or referral. We connect, we deepen the relationship, and we give ourselves permission to call back in the future.

The second part is consistently building a new licensee’s brand. I have long said that the first two years of an agent’s career are an exercise in changing the minds of their audience from what they used to do for a living to being the trusted source for real estate. Relationship building does that. Making sales-focused calls does not.

We know that not enough agents regularly prospect. I believe it is because it has taken on a bad name due to the unrealistic expectations that the industry has created. Work on training conversation before conversion. Trust before transaction. Relationships over referrals. In the long-term, agents will actually make their calls on a daily basis and build a stronger brand and business.