The funk. The slump. The burnout. That moment in time where you want to throw your hands up, quit selling real estate and find a new line of work. Usually this is sparked by an event like finding out a past client moved and listed with someone else. Or that prospect you’ve been chasing for months decides to use another agent to buy a house. You have worked your butt off and when it doesn’t go well you may feel like completely giving up. Every agent has been there and it is depressing. You may feel like a loser or a failure at selling real estate. You feel like everyone else is more successful than you and you don’t know why. If you are really being honest with yourself you feel like there is something wrong with you that makes you unsuccessful. See, depressing isn’t it?
So you are there in the funk, the slump, the burnout and the way I see it is you have two choices. You can quit real estate all together, polish up the résumé and go get a steady 9-5 job with a steady paycheck. Nothing wrong with that choice and for your well-being that may in fact be the best thing you can do for yourself.
For those of you that know deep down in your soul that you love selling real estate, that it is your passion, that you can’t imagine another career and that a typical 9-5 job isn’t something you can do you have to find a way out of the slump, the funk, the burnout. Your livelihood depends on it.
So what can you do to get out of this slump? Everyone has their own way of getting out of that mindset; here are eight of my thoughts on how to help you shake off the funk.
1. Stop Working
No I don’t mean throw in the towel all together and quit working. You can’t do that– you have bills to pay! But you can stop working for a day or two. Take some time off. Take a day or two until you no longer feel hopeless. Take time to do something fun for yourself like a day at the spa or go fishing or spend time with your kids. If you need to veg on the couch and watch old reruns of Friends then do it. Do whatever it is that you do that puts you back in your happy place. You can’t move forward in real estate or in life really, until you can start to get that funk lifted from you. I am sure you will still need to answer phone calls and emails from clients, but don’t actively promote your business during this time. Do what you have to do to get the current deals closed, but don’t try to go out there and promote yourself. Right now you don’t believe in you so why would anyone else?
During your time off take some time to picture yourself quitting real estate. Imagine never trying to sell yourself to a new prospect. Imagine never having to deal with an issue from an inspection. Imagine never having to listen to yet another buyer complain about how none of the houses you are showing them fits their needs. Imagine never having to talk about real estate again.
Not many people know this but many years ago I was a mortgage loan officer. I sold loans for about five years and I loved it. I stopped shortly before everything went to hell in 2007. I used to play this imagine game when I got down. I imagined never having to talk about interest rates again. Never having to ask another agent for referrals, never having to deal with a loan application. It always made me sad until one day it didn’t. One day it sounded like sweet, sweet relief and sweet, sweet freedom. That day was the beginning of the end of that career for me which turned out to be a blessing as I am happier on this side of things. My point is this: imagine a life without doing the things you do everyday to sell real estate. If imagining makes you sad, you know that this funk will pass. If not, you know it’s time to explore other options.
3. Talk to Someone
We all have that person that we go to that will bring us back up when we are down on ourselves . Many times it’s a spouse or a best friend or a parent. I would encourage you to reach out to that person with the simple statement, “I need to talk, will you listen?” We are all running around at the speed of light, too busy half the time to invest in our real relationships so give “your person” the benefit of the doubt by letting them know you need them. I would also suggest you find a trusted colleague, a real estate agent that you can talk to about this funk. Every agent has been where you are I promise! It helps to talk to someone who can empathize with you and remind you that this funk is normal. We were not made to exist in a bubble so reach out to people when you need them and return the favor when they do.
4. Get Off Your Duff
Once you have done things to make yourself happy, played the imagined game and talked to someone, get off your butt and exercise. I am not saying run a marathon or run at all, but do something to get your blood pumping. The endorphins from exercise are a natural mood booster to start to lift some of the depressing feeling from a funk. I used to hate running with a passion and while I still can’t say I love it, it does feel great to run when I am feeling down. It clears my head and I feel like I can start thinking straight again. Run, walk, do jumping jacks or whatever you can to get your heart rate up. It will help your head I promise.
5. Get Out the Testimonials
I have a file in my email inbox that says “Nice Words.” In this file are all the emails that people have sent me with testimonials about my work. Many of these were unsolicited so that makes me feel extra good. I save Tweets and Facebook posts and even texts when people tell me I have done a good job. Whenever I feel down on myself or my abilities I look at these nice words as a reminder. These kind testimonials from your clients are real evidence that you are a good real estate agent and that you are making a difference in peoples’ lives. This is proof that what you do matters. Tuck these testimonials away and pull them out when you need them because they will help you get through this slump.
6. Do Something Nice
Doing something unexpectedly nice for someone can help lift your mood and start the positivity flowing through your veins again. Go over to Starbucks and pay for the person behind you or do a load of laundry for your spouse out of the blue. Pick up your kid from school and surprise her by taking her out for ice cream. Putting a smile on someone else’s face will help put a smile on yours and is a great start to lifting the funk.
7. Evaluate What Happened
Now that your mood has started to lift and you start seeing sunshine instead of clouds, think about what it is that got you down. Did a past client choose another agent? Yes, that sucks but it’s not the end of the world. Evaluate why that happened. Did you not keep in touch with them? If that is it, that’s solvable! Maybe their brother got into the business after you helped them buy their last house so they felt compelled to use the brother on the new house. That happens, not your fault.
Maybe on the last transaction you did something that upset the client and worse, they didn’t tell you about it. That can happen too but you know what? You can’t dwell on it. You have to move forward and say “oh well” and try harder next time. You know that you can’t please all the people all the time, all you can do is your best.
Evaluate why you got here and then step straight into number eight below with your head held high.
8. Take Bold Action
Something triggered you into a funk, you have taken the appropriate time to wallow in it (as you should) and now it’s time to shake the funk off by taking bold action. Do something that is going to move your business forward and bring in new clients. Get a plan together and stick to that plan. Maybe you want more business from social media. Great! Make an editorial calendar with one new post about real estate everyday for 30 days and then post like your life depended on it. Maybe you want more referral business. Great! Get on the phone and start calling your clients for an annual review. (Yes, agents can hold annual reviews too!) Do one marketing idea that you want to implement and then go crazy with it. Action breeds results so take bold action!
There are times when the slump, the funk and the burnout are crippling for the mind, but the first thing you have to realize is that it is normal and it is okay. Nothing is perfect all the time especially real estate! It’s a crazy game full of ups and downs, wins and losses. You have been around long enough to know that’s true so when the funk happens give yourself a break and follow the steps above to get out of it. Hopefully these ideas will help you get out of the slump sooner than later!
What do you do when you get into a funk or feel burnt out? Has this happened to you? Please talk to me about it in the comments below. I bet your thoughts will help other agents that read this post. Thank you for commenting!