Your real estate self-confidence will affect your success in acquiring listings, in gaining buyers, in securing signed-around purchase agreements, and in taking your transactions from agreement to closing.
When you have self-confidence you approach your career with positivity. It affects your language, your posture, and your actions. It affects your marketing activities. It affects the way prospects and clients respond to you.
In other words, your level of real estate self-confidence determines your level of success.
Armed with self-confidence, you approach a prospect with the knowledge that what you can do for them will help them achieve their goals. When you mail a prospecting letter, place an ad, or make a phone call, you know that the information you’re providing is correct and that you can and will fulfill any promises you make.
Prospects know you’re going to be a reliable guide through the maze of buying or selling real estate, because you know you’re a reliable guide. Your aura of self-confidence gives them confidence in you.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about presenting yourself as a know-it-all. Acting with real estate self-confidence is far different from pretentiousness. We all know some of those people – and try to avoid them.
How do you gain self-confidence in real estate?
You gain confidence in many ways:
- By being good at your job.
- By being prepared for every meeting.
- By always showing up on time.
- By always acting in your client’s best interests.
- By having the courage to tell people what they need to know, rather than what they want to hear.
- By not “biting off more than you can chew.”
If you want to feel confident, ongoing education – both formal and personal – is vital.
To maintain confidence, you must stay on top of changes in:
- Real estate forms
- Real estate laws and regulations
- Your local market
- Mortgage interest rates
- Mortgage programs, including available down payment assistance
It should go without saying that you need to know your forms and the relevant laws/regulations inside out.
When a buyer or seller asks a question about the meaning of a paragraph on a listing form or a purchase agreement, you should be able to answer immediately. When they want to know about all the disclosures, you should be able to explain why they’re required.
In addition, you should be able to answer questions about zoning regulations in your territory, and laws that might affect their purchase or sale. If your focus is on condos or residences subject to an HOA, you should know their rules as well.
At the same time… if you don’t know the answer to a question, you should have the confidence to say you don’t know, but you will find out. And then, of course you have to do so.
If you want to have confidence in yourself as a real estate professional, you need to be able to give prospects a true picture of your local market and your niche.
To do so, pay close attention to listing prices, selling prices, and days on the market. Create a spreadsheet, so you can show prospects how your market is changing – if it is changing.
You might even create a market analysis of a typical house in your target market and update it every 2 to 4 weeks, depending on how quickly changes are happening. Use the latest comps to make the updates.
Being able to say “this is what’s happening” will give you far more confidence than making vague statements.
Avoid trying to know everything.
Choose a neighborhood or a niche and learn all you can about that. Don’t try to know everything about the market over hundreds of miles. Don’t try to know all about every possible niche all at once.
Instead, start somewhere and learn it well. Then expand into more territory or another niche – and learn it well.
Gain real estate self-confidence through organization and preparedness.
When you know that you know and have the facts to back it up, organize the information so that it is easily at your fingertips.
- Add your research to your listing presentations, so if there’s a number you don’t remember, you can find it at a glance.
- Make a list for yourself of the most common questions people ask about listing agreements or purchase offers, then memorize your answers.
- Do the same with questions about zoning or issues specific to your niche.
If you want confidence in real estate, dress appropriately.
Remember to dress professionally and appropriately for your climate, your market, and your plans for the day. (The woman who showed up in hopes of listing my friend’s home and 20 acres didn’t stand a chance when she got out of her car wearing a long skirt and 4” heels.)
Allow yourself plenty of time to get to appointments.
If you show up looking harried and rushed, or if you show up late, you will not make a positive impression. And – you will feel flustered and “off” throughout the presentation.
Arrive in the neighborhood early. Park a little way away and stop to gather your thoughts and prepare for a successful meeting. Then show up on time – or a minute early!
If an earlier client has taken too much time and you can’t help being late, call as soon as you know. Explain, apologize, and give your prospects the option to re-schedule if they also happen to be on a tight schedule. Remember to take a deep breath and put a smile on your face before you make that call.
Caution: Your speech habits can undermine your self-confidence.
Even if you feel that you have plenty of real estate self-confidence, you may have lingering speech habits that will undermine you.
It’s hard to maintain self-confidence if other people are reacting to you like you might not really know what you’re doing – and the words you choose can lead to that. It’s even more difficult if the words you use make YOU feel like you’re not quite sure.
Some of the most common words in our vocabulary are the culprits:
The words look innocent, but what they convey is “I’m not sure of myself or of what I’m telling you.”
Consider the statement “I think.”
If you say you “think” a homeowner should list at a certain price, it says you’re not sure. Switch to “I believe,” or “Based on my market analysis, the correct price is ____”
How about “I think you should _____” That could be anything from “have the house staged,” to “have the carpets shampooed,” or “keep the cat’s litter box clean.” If you just “think” so, maybe they don’t really need to do it. Switch it to “Before we go live with the listing, have the carpets shampooed.”
This comes under having the courage to tell people what they need to know – it’s tough, but necessary.
“I need” and “I want” both convey neediness and lack of authority.
Drop the need and want and just state your request. Think for a minute about giving your assistant an assignment.
Instead of saying “I need you to have this information uploaded by noon” switch to “Please have this information uploaded by noon.” The same would apply to a homeowner whose task is to fill out a property condition report. Instead of telling them you need or want them to get it done, switch to “Please have this finished and sent to me by tomorrow morning.”
“I hope” means just that.
You don’t know, but you hope. Consider speaking with a client about their listing going live the next day. Instead of “hoping” that you’ll get showing appointments the same day, replace it with “I’m looking forward to…” or “I expect…”
Additionally, poor grammar will erode your confidence.
If your broker or a co-worker is constantly correcting your grammar, it can make you afraid to write a letter – or to fill out a real estate agreement.
If that’s the case, get help. Get a copy of my Grammar Guide for Real Estate Agents and learn to spot your mistakes before you hit send.
Two more ways to bolster your real estate self-confidence.
Your Power and Your Posture
When a dog is threatened or wishes to be threatening, the hair stands up on his back and he bars his teeth. He may also growl. When a cat is threatened, his hair is apt to stand out over his whole body while he hisses. When a bird is threatened, it fluffs it’s feathers.
It’s the same reason that a cop who wants to intimidate stands with his or her feet wide apart and elbows sticking out.
It’s the same reason why an effective leader or speaker stands up straight, with shoulders squared, and keeps eyes forward, making contact.
Would anyone listen to someone who slumped over the podium and delivered the speech to the floor? (Oh wait, now I just realized why a couple of the continuing ed classes I took were so useless.)
YOU can use the same tactics to give yourself confidence.
You may not want to assume an authority pose when you’re talking with clients in person – in fact you might look a bit silly adopting a “cop stance.” But you can school yourself to avoid using a meek, submissive pose.
You can always stand or sit up straight, with shoulders relaxed, but squared. You can always keep your head up and look people in the eye.
Try “Power Posing.”
You can, privately, use “power posing” to give yourself a confidence boost prior to an important interaction with a client, a friend, or a family member.
Researchers have proven that you can make yourself happier by smiling even when you don’t feel like it. Others have proven that you can lift a down mood and reduce stress by sighing and turning your eyes skyward a few times. Now we’re learning that you can reduce your fear and increase your confidence by posing with confidence – even if you do it privately and only for a few minutes.
Here’s how it’s done:
First, find a private spot. If you’re working from your home office or have an office door you can close – wonderful. If not, find a private spot, even if it’s a stall in the rest room.
Your goal will be to make your body as big as it can be, so…
- Adopt a wide stance, then stand as tall as possible. (Streeetch yourself upward.)
- Reach your hands high in the air – just as if you just crossed the finish line in a big race.
- Or… put your hands on your hips with your elbows sticking way out.
- Hold that pose for 30 seconds.
And then… since anxiety over the coming meeting is probably what made you need a little extra confidence, do the “Sigh and look up” exercise. Just take a deep breath and let it out in a sigh, while turning your eyes to the sky. Repeat 3 or 4 times and you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel within a few minutes.
One last thing…
Think positive thoughts and use positive self-talk.
Say things to yourself like “I’m off to get sellers’ signatures on a new listing” or “I’m helping a nice young couple find their home today.” Do not allow yourself to think that they won’t like you, or won’t like any of the houses, or won’t be ready to act.
If you’re mailing prospecting letters, say something to yourself like “I’m sending away for solid new prospects today.”
Plan on things going well, because quite often we get exactly what we expect.