You probably know by now that the general population has a warped perception of Realtors. Agents are known for relentlessly hounding their leads or being on the clock 24/7, but at the same time, are almost infamous for not returning calls or being available when you need them.

Whether they’re legitimate or not, every agent makes excuses that can taint their reputation or hurt their business.

Here are the top excuses agents make, why they can negatively impact your business, and how to avoid them. You’ll notice all of these excuses relate to not having enough time, the biggest complaint most clients have of their real estate agents.

While there aren’t always enough hours in the day to do everything you’d like, prioritizing what’s important can greatly impact your success.

“I was too busy to answer the phone.”

Our suggestion is to implement a 12-hour rule. Any call or text you get, you should respond to within 12 hours. Guarantee that on your listing presentations.

You must have easy, consistent communication with leads and clients. If you forget or don’t get back to someone, you’re just feeding into this negative Realtor perception. Take note of every missed call or text, and get back to them in a decent amount of time.

Let’s face it, you can’t realistically answer every call or text on the spot. If you’re in a firm, you can run calls through a secretary. Or, you could get a virtual assistant.

We wrote a book on how to get a virtual assistant. It’s easier and cheaper than you think. Learn more about it here.

That assistant can take all incoming calls if you aren’t available, just like a secretary. You can even set them up to respond to text messages.

Either way, take steps to never leave a client in the dark or needing to speak with you for too long.

“I don’t have time to collect testimonials.”

Even if that’s true, you have to find a way to get good testimonials and put them online. This is as big as a priority as directly pursuing new leads.

70 percent of consumers seek out testimonials and reviews before they make a decision. Most agents make this excuse because it’s not one of their top priorities. If a lead is researching you and doesn’t see any reviews from this year or even the last 12 to 15 months, they are going to wonder why.

Old reviews are great to show how long you’ve been in the business, but without any new testimonials, they don’t hold a lot of weight.

Getting and adding testimonials during the start of every quarter is a good practice to get into.

“I’ll make a business plan later.”

Agents without a plan or goals won’t have success. Then, they’ll lack the systems in place to duplicate that success. This is one of the most put off tasks in real estate. So many agents are locked into what’s in front of them that they don’t make a long-term plan.

Take the niches you’ve had success in and your best prospecting practices, then plan out a long-term goal. Set time aside to update your testimonials and your website. If you put it on a schedule weeks in advance, stick to it when the time comes.

Your business plan needs to be updated a few times a year or as the market changes. If you’re going to focus on FSBOs but find success in another area, update your plan.

This advice doesn’t just apply to real estate agents, but all professionals.

“I can’t afford to take any time off.”

Everyone who works needs time off. However, for busy agents, it’s tough to take consecutive days off without being constantly hooked to our phones or hounded by clients.

But you need time to recharge. Everyone does. Just because this industry is non-stop around the clock, doesn’t mean you can’t take a week off.

If you have a pending sale or deal and a planned vacation, don’t cancel the trip. There are ways to go about it. Get an agent in your office to handle any questions while the deal awaits your return.

Or, just let both parties know that this was planned well in advance and you’ve been working hard. A week won’t ruin a sale. They’ll understand.

If you set expectations with your clients and anyone who needs you, you won’t get blown up on vacation. When the trip gets closer, it may seem like work is piling up and you can’t go.

Planning a trip requires you to tell your clients the dates well in advance. You can avoid work piling up out of control right before you leave. Make sure it doesn’t and won’t, well in advance.

“I don’t have time or need to go to conferences.”

A lot of agents don’t put much priority in real estate conferences. They aren’t as important as the other things already mentioned on the list, but they do have unperceived value.

Conferences are massively important for networking. You need a wide network in your area for referrals, buyer’s agents and even just advice. You get out what you put into conferences.

If you go and only put minimal effort into networking and learning about new market trends, of course conferences won’t be worth your time and money. If you have a plan going into the event to learn and make new connections, you can get more than your money’s worth.

Learning what’s hot in your market and what’s not working is valuable, as well. You can incorporate any new findings into your business plan.

All of these excuses have to do with not having enough time. Agents are super busy most of the time. However, if you take each day as a new opportunity and create a week-to-week plan, you can make sure to get these important things done.

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