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Are Your Expectations Realistic?

1:38 Minute Read.

Do brokers have a telltale sign whether new agents will survive the real estate business? Every month, GRAR reports almost as many agents leaving the business as are joining. When interviewing agents, I have one question that can predict who will make it. Over the last two decades, this one question has set apart the winners from the losers with 100% accuracy:

“How much money do you expect

to earn this year?”

Did you think the agent who sets high-income goals early in their career would last? Think again.

New agents that end up failing offer this as the most common answer: “My goal is to make $100,000 this year!” Upon which, my follow up questions are always, “Have you ever earned that much in a year?" And, "How much did you earn last year?” Truth is, the answers to those questions are by far a more reliable indicator of future earnings.

Why is that? Allow me to throw some armchair psychology at you.

Inside every person is a gauge. For some people, that gauge measures comfort. For others, it measures worth. Think of our income as the needle that moves either higher or lower. Somewhere between HI and LOW is the “everything-is-going-to-be-OK” zone. I’ve watched plenty of agents work hard at keeping that gauge happily in the middle. It’s just human nature.

Here’s how it works: It doesn’t matter whether we measure comfort or worth. Our gauge is busy working inside of us. When we feel our meter is running on the low side, we step up our efforts to get back into the OK zone. Likewise, when things are going great, we tend to slack off and enjoy the fruit of our labor. Have you ever noticed experienced agents that work like crazy in the spring and summer and spend their winters in Florida? That’s the same principle at work. It also explains why some agents who make over $200k each year still aren’t happy while others are content with $30k.

It’s all about your internal gauge. And only you can calibrate it.

So, is setting goals a bad idea? Heck no. Rather than setting big goals, it’s better to understand yourself and set reasonable expectations. Good goal setting is not a function of pegging a big number and working towards it. Instead, it’s about stretching your expectations regarding the quality of your life. If you want to earn more in real estate, you redefine what you feel you’re worth or what makes you comfortable. Reach a little. Raise the bar for what you consider just OK. And if you ask me, a 20% improvement each year is very reasonable.

Oh, and if you’re interested in hearing the BEST answer ever given to my question, "How much do you expect to earn this year?" It was this: “Honestly, I don’t have an EARNING goal. Instead, I have a LEARNING goal. I plan to learn everything I can about this business, and then determine its income potential for me.”

As you would guess, that agent is doing just fine!

Are you looking for a broker to help reach your goals?


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