When I started in real estate as a young, inexperienced woman, I was told by more established agents that my prospects were grim at best. Not enough houses, too many agents and a poor market were all cited as reasons why my fledging career was doomed from the start. I was advised that the only way I could hope to make it in real estate was to cut my commissions and steal business from more established agents. It was all well-meant and sound advice from the weathered veterans of the industry, but I simply didn’t believe it. I believed that I was worth my six per cent and that I’d work tirelessly to earn it. It was that belief in myself, more so that my systems I developed later, that acted as the impetus that sent me to No. 1 in Canada.
Today, commission cutting has a face. There are discount realty brokerages everywhere. Back in the day, the same thing was happening behind the scenes. I lost out on a lot of listings simply because a rival agent would offer to cut their commission and I refused to. In fact, I’ve walked away from literally hundreds of listings because I would not budge from the six per cent I felt I was worth.
I also got hundreds of listings because of that stance, because of the value to service I gave each and every client. My belief is, and has always been, that if you cut your commission once, there’s no going back. I’ve seen it happen to too many agents who end up selling themselves short again and again.
If you’ve cut your commissions or are thinking of doing it to compete against discount Realtors, I want you to ask yourself this simple question: how much am I worth? Because of the pressure this business puts on people, because of the uncertainty in the market, because of a dozen other factors, most real estate agents underestimate their own worth. They doubt themselves. They second guess themselves. All of this combined chips away at their self worth until they don’t know anymore how good they are.
Remember when you started in this crazy business – remember how you felt like you could take on the world on any given day? That belief in yourself is still in you. True, it has been buried under the realities you face everyday. It’s been tarnished by the need to pay bills and tainted by the fact that you’re not going to get every listing you go after. But way down inside you that belief in yourself is still there, still waiting for you to believe again.
How do you rekindle that fire? How do you reclaim that sense of your own worth? The first thing I suggest is to write down a list of all the things you want to be. Not the things you want to have or buy or places you want to go – that will all come after – but the things you want to be. I remember my list included, I want to be the No. 1 agent in Canada. I became that because I believed I could be it. I believed I was worth it. Do you? Do you believe you can be the best? Do you believe you’re worth it? You are.
I’m not super woman, I don’t jump tall buildings on my way to work. I’m just like you. The fact that I did it means you can too. You can look a client in the eye when they ask if you’ll cut your commission and say, no, I’m worth my full commission and I’ll prove it to you.
You can be a better real estate agent, you can be the best, but you have to believe it before you can be it.
Debbie Hanlon is the founder of Hanlon Realty and CEO of All Knight Inc. She is a three-time top 50 CEO winner and was named one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in Canada. She is currently an elected city official in St. John’s, Nfld. and is available for motivational and training seminars. Email [email protected]