Overcoming Unpredictable Income | The Zebra Blog

Overcoming Unpredictable Income

What’s the Number One thing real estate agents don’t like about the business?  Time and again I hear the same answer: The unpredictability of income.

It doesn’t have to be this way! There is a rampant delusion out there that real estate is a “feast or famine” business.  Every day agents say, “I don’t know if I’ll be making any money in March because of the fluctuations in the market.”  If you’ve ever said anything even remotely similar, I have a question for you:

If this is true, then how is it that I know many agents who turn business away because they don’t have time to handle it all?  It’s not market conditions.  Up or down, these agents have a steady stream of buyers and sellers.  And no matter where the market is this time next year, I guarantee it will be the same for them.

So, what’s their secret?  Is it a killer marketing software program?  Is it power sales tactics that use verbal mastery to sweet talk people?  Is it tons of expensive advertising?

It’s none of these things.  Yet its power is so amazing that universities should offer degrees in how to master it.  What is it?


The most successful agents are not necessarily the best salespeople, nor the most outgoing.  They are the ones with the most self-control.  Self-control governs success.  It ensures you do things consistently over time.  The size of your goals doesn’t matter.  The length of your business plan doesn’t matter.  WHAT YOU DO is what matters.

Here are the five keys to self-control:

  1. Say YES.

Self-control means saying YES.  YES to sending monthly mailings on a regular basis.  YES to implementing systems that put your daily tasks on “autopilot”.  YES to education.  YES to your annual client appreciation party.  YES to only sending out the very best marketing.  YES to sending out an Annual Client Review.

  1. Say NO.

But mastering self-control also means saying NO.  NO to clients that waste your time.  NO to ridiculous offers.  NO to people who treat you with disrespect.  NO to scams, gimmicks, and unethical advertising. No to CUTTING YOUR COMMISSION!!!

  1. Do What You Say You’ll Do

I’m always amazed that I have to mention this, but the business world is riddled with people who say they’ll do something and then don’t do it.  If you return phone calls the exact minute you promise to, keep appointments on-time, and provide exactly what you promise when you promise it—you’re already ahead of 90% of business-people out there!

  1. Follow-Up and Follow-Through

Do you return phone calls faster than any other agent?  Do you send requested information the very same day?  Do you make additional phone calls to verify the information was received?  Do you provide extra service touches both before and after the sale?

  1. Adaptability

Self-control also means you don’t “freak out” when something is not working.  You just drop it and quickly do more of what IS working.  This doesn’t mean that your emotions aren’t important.  They are.  But you cannot be a successful businessperson if you are a frenzied wreck every time something goes wrong.  Things happen.  Life is unpredictable.  Plan on unpredictability.  Practice in your mind how you’ll react on the day when everything falls apart.  See yourself with “grace under pressure” as you pick up the pieces and begin to rebuild.

One of the best ways to implement Self-Control is ACCOUNTABILITY.  I have clients who call me just to tell me what they’re committing to accomplishing by the end of the week.  Don’t ever underestimate the power of just telling someone what you will do.  This means you can’t use excuses to yourself—because you’ve already promised someone you’ll do it.

Another helpful measure is to manage your tasks. And I really mean, MANAGE your tasks. Take an Hour of Power, without distractions from phones and clients, each day. Use this time to focus on your business. Use this time to knock out the tasks that need to get done and the tasks that improve how your business serves you.

So, if you’ve ever complained about the unpredictability of your income, take heart!  You can have more business than you can handle if only you commit to self-control and all its responsibilities.  The road to self-control may be rough at times, but the rewards of implementing it are worth it!

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