When I was in middle school, we were forced to read and conceptualize the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey, the son of Stephen Covey, who happened to have a similar award-winning title about people instead of teens.
Back then, not myself, or any of my peers, cared about what the book spoke about. All we wanted was for the school day to end so that we could hang out with each other and play sports and video games.
Needless to say, I didn’t gain much from the book.
However, as I’ve gotten older, wiser, and more focused on what it means to be a productive person, I’ve revisited the seven habits.
Turns out, you can apply them to all aspects of life at whatever age. Who knew!
In this article, I’m going to talk about how you can use the seven habits of highly effective people to become an incredible real estate agent.
Below are the seven habits:
- Be proactive.
- Begin with the end in mind.
- Put first things first.
- Think win-win.
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
- Sharpen the saw.
1. Be Proactive: Treat Your Business Like a Child
Any business can be as powerful as a great warrior and as feeble as a small toddler.
If you truly want to unlock to fruits of your labor and build your business, then you need to be proactive.
Being proactive is more than just being productive, it means you’re thinking critically, anticipating the future, paying attention to your budgets, brainstorming ideas, and constantly improving yourself and your real estate business.
I find that a lot of real estate agents become complacent. They get to a point where they no longer have to actively lead generate because they receive enough referrals. They don’t learn new things at a rate they once did or they’re not paying attention to the finer details of their business, etc.
A proactive real estate agent recognizes that they’re in it for the long run. They’re here to build a serious real estate business that has the potential to become the best in the world if they really work at it.
Treat your business like it’s your child. You’ll see it grow with a little food and water.
2. Begin with the End in Mind: You’re Here for The Long Haul
There is no limit in sales.
The ceiling is defined by you. It’s a direct reflection of your production and work ethic.
Therefore, you need to define your goals and the level you want to reach for. You should begin with the end in mind.
If you’re a serious real estate agent, it takes time to build your brand and start to make things click. Thus, you’re in it for the long haul. If results you’re looking for don’t come tomorrow, the next day, next month, or even next year, don’t sweat it!
Obviously, you need to be achieving some sort of results so that you can pay your bills and survive.
But your big goals. The goals that are inspiring you to get up and grind away. They won’t always be immediate or soon to come.
However, it’s important to know that those dreams can be achieved.
Just keep fighting.
3. Put First Things First: Prioritize the Important Stuff
Something I struggle with is prioritization. My mind constantly wanders off and gets distracted by other topics such as politics.
However, if you own a business, then you need to be on top of your tasks agenda. Everything that you have on your to-do list needs to get done, whichever way you plan on doing it. Plain and simple.
But it’s easier said than done.
Here’s some of my tips for staying on point and focusing on important matters for you day.
Keep a Daily To-Do List
Keeping a daily to-do list is the most important aspect of staying on top of your day. Without one, you won’t always know what comes next or what’s important.
I use an app called Todoist to make my list, but you can use whatever you’d like.
Wake Up at the Same Time Each Day
I won’t tell you that it’s a requirement to wake up early in order to be successful, because it’s not. However, I will encourage you to wake up at the same time each morning.
This is important for keeping your energy levels up, sticking to a routine, and ensuring your sleep cycle remains consistent.
This will not only make you more productive, it will make you happier and healthier.
Tackle Your Largest and Most Important Tasks First
For this, I use an Eisenhower Matrix. This is a system U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower developed to become an extremely productive person, as well as defeat the Axis Powers in Europe as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force during World War II.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds either. It’s simply a four-quadrant box where you label your tasks for the day as Important/Not Important and Urgent/Not Urgent. Below is an example of my typical day using the Eisenhower Matrix.
Making the distinctions between urgency and importance can be somewhat challenging. However, over time, you’ll find yourself deciphering with ease, as the more important and urgent tasks will clearly make a difference to your business results in comparison to the other quadrants.
Keep a Consistent Work Environment
I wrote an article on Medium about how Starbucks is essential for my creativity, which you can read here.
Having a specific place to work every day is important. Whether it be your office, a coffee shop like me, or a home workspace, make sure you define a location and stick to it. This will help you stay focused and know when its time to get down to business.
4. Think Win-Win: Do What Makes Your Clients, Third Parties, and Yourself Happy
This is where we start getting into your relationships with others.
Thinking win-win is one of my favorite messages in life. If everyone gets what they want and we all help each other reach a common goal, then we’re all going to walk away feeling happy, respected, and thought of.
Our job as real estate agents is to provide the best service possible to our clients. A win for them is a win for us.
Furthermore, as agents, it’s our responsibility to make sure all third parties involved in a transaction are on the same page so that our clients and their clients win.
This means we’re communicating with the listing agent or buyer’s agent; we’re ensuring the inspection companies are on-time, making sure that closing documents are submitted by all sides, and ensuring that closing is scheduled and ready to go.
Just because you’re not on a particular side of the transaction, does not mean you shouldn’t pay attention to what they’re doing. Anything you do to make sure the process moves efficiently is a win for everyone.
5. Seek First to Understand, Then To Be Understood: Listening is More Important Than Talking
If you’re a real estate agent, then you’re probably a go-getter. You love to do the work and you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty.
I understand. I’m like that as well.
But something I also notice about myself is that I occasionally become more concerned with myself and my own opinions, than listening to what others have to say.
The truth is that people want to be heard. You shouldn’t let your own voice be suppressed. However, it’s best to stay quiet and truly listen to someone rather than open up with your own ideas first and close your mind to what others have to say.
The best way to practice this as a real estate agent is to ask your clients more questions rather than provide a bunch of explanations.
Obviously, your clients will have a lot of questions that you’ll need to explain thoroughly. However, you want to come off as someone who cares about them instead of someone just trying to make a quick buck off them. Asking questions can help project that.
Some of my favorite questions to ask clients are:
- What do you think your house is worth?
- Where do you want to live?
- Why do you think we should price the home this way?
- Would you mind if I explain my thoughts on the price?
- What’s your favorite feature of the home?
- What’s your favorite story about the home?
Notice how everything I ask is about them. The secret to becoming an amazing real estate agent is not how much you know, but how much you want to know.
Make sure you let your clients know you care about them and their success by seeking to understand them.
6. Synergize: Get Along with Everyone
You’re in business now. Some of the most successful business people of all time are the type of people who become friends with, or acquainted with, everyone.
You don’t have to become friends with everyone, nor do you have to trust everyone, and I highly recommend against doing so.
But you have to get along.
Let’s say you’ve fostered a negative relationship with Greg the Realtor over the past few years and your clients want to buy a listing of his. Now have to contact and work with Greg for the next few months.
Not only could this create a miserable and toxic environment for you, but also, it might damage your ability to get important procedures done for your clients.
Maybe Greg doesn’t answer your phone calls or texts because he doesn’t want to deal with you, or he doesn’t reply to emails when you’re trying to get closing proceedings in order. Maybe he’s purposefully working against you out of spite.
Greg is clearly a terrible agent, but that’s his problem, and now it’s yours because you have a bad relationship.
Stay on good terms with your clients as well. If matters go South, then you might be in jeopardy of gaining a negative reputation, as they’ll be sure to tell everyone they know that you’re an awful real estate agent.
Be very mindful of your relationships and get along with everyone. Even if it makes you cringe.
7. Sharpen the Saw: Know When It’s Time to Rest
Something real estate agents and many people in business are bad at is knowing when to slow down and take it easy.
If you’ve gotten to a point where your business is on fire, or you’ve been working hard day and night with little rest in between, then it seems almost natural to keep going at the same momentous pace.
But that can lead to burnout and put you in a spot where you’re mentally jammed, or even worse, reluctant to work.
Taking the time to be unproductive and relax for a while is just as important as being productive. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I’ve met people that preached the main goal of life is to spend a few years working hours on end, never stopping until we’ve reached a plateau where we can finally slow down. Then, suddenly live off passive income and sip martinis on a beach.
I’m alluding to those who read and regurgitate The Four-Hour Workweek. A book about passive income and living a life of financial freedom as you sleep.
I’m not saying the lifestyle doesn’t exist because it does. It’s just not natural for humans. We’re working creatures who need to realize that life is a long-term game (hopefully). Therefore, we need to know when to stop and take a break.
That’s why sharpening the saw is the most important habit on this list. Ironically, the one that tells you to stop doing what you’re doing and relax.
There’s a lot more that defines an excellent real estate agent. But if you follow these seven highly effective habits then you should become a pretty good one.
Being a real estate agent to me is less a job and more of a lifestyle.
Working in real estate gives us the fantastic opportunity to mold our days with work, rather than work being the disruptor of our days.
When I held my previous jobs, all I dreaded was the hour my shift started and all I waited for was the minute it ended.
What kind of life is that?
Yet, unfortunately, it’s the way most people live their lives.
That’s why you should appreciate being a real estate agent and the lifestyle we can create with it.