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In nine out of ten discussions among real estate agents about how they level up their business, someone somewhere mentions a coach. The coaching phenomenon has exploded in real estate in recent years, and it seems to be taken as a given that real estate agents who are at the top of their game are also the agents who have coaches.
If you don't have a coach yet, it can be hard to know what a real estate coach can do for you, or whether you need one at all. Ask yourself if you could use some assistance with any of these parts of your real estate business planning -- if the answer is an honest "yes," then there's a strong possibility that you could benefit, or even thrive, from a relationship with a coach.
Setting your goals
How many transaction sides are you hoping to close this year? If you can name that number off the top of your head and you also know how close you are to achieving your goal, then well done -- you're way ahead of a lot of agents. But if you're just kind of aiming for a vague "do the best I can," then you're not actually doing yourself any favors.
A coach can help you figure out those basic numbers by helping you do some math to assess where you are, target where you want to be, and take appropriate steps to close the gap. Different coaches have different approaches and different formulas, and there really isn't one correct way to set your goals; as long as your coach is using an approach that you can intuitively grasp, you'll be in good shape.
Planning how to meet them
One big challenge of working as a real estate agent is that you are your own boss. It's also a huge advantage and what draws a lot of people to the business, but the problem manifests when you can't adequately motivate yourself to get moving toward your goals. It can be all too easy to procrastinate and tell yourself you'll do it later when "it" is a lead-generation strategy that you don't enjoy, for example.
When you know where you want to go with your business, a coach can help you find and eliminate the blockers one by one -- the habits or mindsets that are encouraging you to procrastinate, in this example.
Staying on track
You'll often see real estate agents compare themselves to elite athletes when they're talking about why they have a coach. They identify with that level of commitment and the drive to be the very best. It can be an apt comparison, because those athletes are also setting performance goals and working to meet them by improving their performance, often with incremental changes.
Put yourself in that athlete's shoes for a second. You know what your goal is, and if you're committed, you also know what your current performance looks like. But can you say for sure whether you're on track to meet or beat that goal, or whether you're going to have to ramp up performance at the home stretch?
A coach not only helps you set a goal and figure out how to get there; they also track your performance along the way and can encourage you to step it up if you're at risk of missing your goal -- even months before your deadline.
Identifying gaps in your business ...
One reason why real estate teams have become such a popular phenomenon in recent years is that it's an efficient way to solve one big problem in the industry: How to be an expert at a bunch of different (and disparate) skillsets as an agent. It's not that it's impossible to be an individual agent and be amazing at everything that your job requires, from lead generation to marketing to negotiation to networking to market knowledge to managing the transaction, and on and on. But it is quite difficult.
Real estate coaches can assess your current strategy and task list and help you figure out what you're missing. It's possible that you're giving your clients a seamless end-to-end experience already, but if you suspect that you could be doing better, a coach can help you figure out exactly how.
... And solving for them
It's one thing to know that you aren't working on a certain area of your business, but it's quite another thing to know exactly what you should be doing. For example, maybe you know that one of the aforementioned gaps in social media. You don't have a strategy to promote your business, let alone your listings, and you've seen other agents in your market get some traction on Instagram.
So you've identified the problem -- but what's the next step? Do you train yourself on social media and try to build this part of your business on your own, or do you outsource? What are good resources to use for each approach? If you're building it solo, do you have a future plan to hand it over to someone else? What will that look like and how will you know you're ready?
Specific strategy questions
Sometimes you might not need or want a coach to help with every last thing in your business, but you know that you can use some help in one very specific area. Perhaps you're not leveraging technology the way that you could and you want someone to help you walk through your options and make some choices about which products to use -- then train you on how to integrate them into your workflow.
Or maybe you know that you could use some help on the marketing side. A coach can help you figure out how to create a plug-and-play marketing strategy for your listings or how to polish up your website to better guide visitors.
Many agents think they're ready to expand their business and establish a partnership with another agent, collaborate with a junior agent, or bring on an assistant -- when really, they should be focusing on their core business practices instead. On the other hand, there are many agents who don't believe it's time to take that step, but that's only because they don't recognize the signals in their own business or understand what they mean.
Some coaches specialize in business expansion and scaling, and they work with dozens of different agents who are all at different stages of their own business. Working with a coach like this can give you access to deep insight as to when you're ready to scale up and exactly how to go about doing it.
Minimizing your weaknesses
Although some humans are excellent at assessing their own abilities (and, more importantly, where they fall short), others are woefully inadequate when it comes to determining where they could use some work ... and whether it's even worth it to try, frankly. After all, if you're not great at something but could get significantly better with just a little effort, then the effort is probably worth your time -- but if you're not great at something and the effort to get you significantly better is going to be momentous, then you need to know when to cut your losses and delegate that part of your job.
A coach isn't living inside your head and also has quite a lot of experience at assessing where real estate agents are struggling. Working with a coach can help you really pinpoint all of your weaknesses if you're not sure where they are, as well as help you make a plan to tackle them (even if that plan is "hire someone to do it for me.").
Playing up your strengths
We've already covered the fact that an agent's job includes many facets -- and some agents excel at several. How do those agents decide where to focus their personal attentions once business picks up to the point where it's just not feasible to manage everything?
Ideally, your coach will know who you are, what you enjoy, what motivates you, and how to use all of those different things to help you meet your goals. Oftentimes, that means knowing when you should double down in the areas where you already excel -- not always easy to see from inside your shoes.
Building your confidence
Have you ever heard of the concept of the dip? Marketing guru Seth Godin wrote a book about it. The idea is that there's almost always a dip right before your idea starts to catch on -- that same concept can sometimes apply to your business. Sometimes you might see a dip in results before things start to really catch on, especially if you're trying something new. How do you know when to quit and when to stick?
Having confidence in your ideas can be one solution to this issue (as can a coach's perspective). Confidence is important in real estate because it can be a really tough business! Sometimes it's important to count your wins and give yourself a pat on the back, and if you're not great at doing that, a real estate coach can help you with it. This might just be what you need to push through more dips!
Evaluating your performance
Your broker might or might not offer performance feedback -- the best ones want you to improve and will be willing to give you some pointers. But your broker is probably also busy, and may not have the opportunity to pay attention when you could most use the help.
One of the most valuable services that a real estate coach can provide for agents is ongoing and consistent feedback and evaluation. If one thing you're sorely lacking in your world is accountability and a reality check here and there, a coach can be the person who keeps it real with you, helping you objectively look at how well you're doing and where you could be leveling up.