For entrepreneurs, crises of confidence can come often and hard. When you’re responsible for whether your business will sink or swim, the pressure sometimes makes you question whether you know what you’re doing and if you’re on the right track.
Don’t think you’re the only one who’s ever wondered if you’ve got what it takes to make it in real estate. (You do, by the way!) We’ve been conducting interviews with more than 80 real estate professionals around the country to discuss their frustrations, dreams, and goals. And the one thing the vast majority of them have in common is that they cite a lack of confidence as a significant challenge to business growth.
In candid moments, they used terms such as “inferior,” “less knowledgeable,” “less accomplished,” and “unprepared” to describe themselves compared to their peers. It’s OK to feel this way from time to time, but what do you do to get out of your funk? We’re not therapists, but we’ve got some ideas for how you can get your act together and see your path to success more clearly. Based on our interviews, here are five common states of self-doubt practitioners go through and how to address each one.
“I just don’t feel confident that I measure up to the caliber of other agents.”
How it affects your business: When you feel like someone else has the authority in any given situation, you’ll feel like you don’t measure up. Our favorite quote on this subject comes from former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” The problem is that this feeling of inferiority often causes us to shy away from being who we are, being decisive, and going after what we want with gusto. People sense that hesitation, and it reflects a lack of confidence in your ability to compete.
How to overcome it: You have to clearly define who you are professionally. Find a niche in your market that you know well and feel confident you can serve. This takes you from feeling inferior to being recognized for how you’re different than the rest. Those two things are worlds apart. If you lay claim to one specific attribute, accomplishment, or business segment, you’ve taken the most important step to gaining tremendous confidence. There’s something powerful about that suit of armor called “differentiation.”
Not Knowing Enough
“I’m relatively new to real estate (or a specific segment or area), and I just don’t have the knowledge more seasoned agents have. I fear I can’t answer my client’s questions.”
How it affects your business: Some people are born with confidence and can talk their way into — or out of — practically any situation. But if you don’t know your craft, it will become apparent sooner or later to your clients, especially when they are exposed to another agent who is more knowledgeable. We’ve seen many situations where someone makes a choice based on relationship, but ends up regretting that choice when the person they have chosen isn’t qualified. Clients want someone who knows their stuff.
How to overcome it: This one is pretty easy to eradicate. Get more education; information is at our fingertips literally everywhere. If you know you’re deficient in an area of expertise, reach out to a mentor, enroll in a class, watch YouTube videos, attend webinars. The only thing standing between you and someone else’s level of knowledge is simply the time and effort you’re willing to put forth to equal the playing field.
Having Fewer Accomplishments
“Whenever prospects ask me how many homes I’ve sold or how much business I’ve done in their neighborhood, I’m not sure what to say. I don’t have the track record that some of my competitors do.”
How it affects your business: If you don’t have quick and concise answers already prepared when prospects question you about your experience, it can make them second-guess whether you’re prepared to represent them in the largest investment they will make in their lifetime.
How to overcome it: There are two ways to handle this situation. First, lean on the stats of your brokerage. Your company’s track record and expertise on a larger scale is at your disposal. Respond with, “We’ve sold 42 properties in this area this year alone,” or “We’ve been specializing in luxury homes the last 37 years.” Second, be honest and make it personal. “I’m new to this career/area, but I’m confident that no other agent will work harder to get you what you want without letting anything fall through the cracks. I’ll return your calls, texts, and e-mails promptly and communicate clearly about every step of the process. I have just completed the most up-to-date and rigorous training available in real estate today. What sets me apart is my ability/willingness to ______. I’m the one you want.” Define your own accomplishments and take no prisoners when advocating for why you’re the right person for the job.
“My brand is all over the place. I feel like I don’t stand out and I’m not prepared to attract the right type of client with my current image.”
How it affects your business: This usually means your marketing platforms and materials are either lacking or not adequately representing the image you wish to portray. Therefore, you feel unprepared to put yourself out there, and it affects how you present yourself in person. We see a difference between agents whose image is unclear and undefined and agents who have their brand buttoned up. Their posture and even how they walk or shake hands is strikingly different. Pride is a powerful thing and a magnet for prospects.
How to overcome it: It’s very difficult to properly prepare marketing materials without first defining your brand and position. Tackle that step first. When you have a library of clearly defined brand messaging and images to choose from, you can then begin to establish and display your brand consistently across all of your marketing platforms. When this happens, you will no doubt see the effect of a strong brand. You’ll begin to attract your ideal customer, get questions about your area of expertise, and become recognized for what makes you different. This kind of preparation works on your behalf even while you sleep.
Unable to Focus
“I know I should focus on a specific idea/concept/area. But every time I try to focus, I have no idea where to start. I’m afraid I’ll lose out on other opportunities.”
How it affects your business: Many people have been conditioned to believe that they either must be all things to all people or, at the very least, shouldn’t isolate any type of prospect. The truth is, you really don’t want just any customer. You want the ideal customer, one whom you feel you can truly help and will give you enthusiastic reviews and referrals. This fear drives us to stay in the comfort zone of an undefined position and brand, which doesn’t get recognized or remembered.
How to overcome it: Most of the agents we spoke with understand that they need to focus; they just don’t really know where to begin. It begins by clearly defining your goals, your ideal customer’s needs, and your own strengths and point of differentiation (relative to those needs). Once you do that, a clear path begins to emerge, and you gain the confidence of knowing exactly how you want to be recognized and remembered.
BrandFace, a coaching company focused on personal branding, based this article on interview subjects who first attended a BrandFace webinar and then booked a follow-up phone call to discuss forming a strategy for their brand.