Recently I attended a sales meeting at a large real estate office. Before the manager started presenting the items he had listed on his agenda, he took a minute to recognize the most recent additions to the company.
As each stood and introduced themselves, I took note of the previous careers or experience they mentioned. One was a paralegal. Another, a retired UPS driver. One had spent many years as a food scientist (I don’t know what that is, but I’m certainly intrigued!) and another was returning to the work force after dedicating herself to her family as a stay at home mom.
This is typical. Rarely is the practice of real estate someone’s first career, and it attracts those from a variety of backgrounds. We know why. To most, they perceive it to be an opportunity to own a business that affords them freedom, flexibility, and unlimited financial rewards. Couple that with reality shows and HGTV, and it can even appear to be glamorous and fun. In most states, attaining a license and calling yourself an agent is easy.
The entry into the business is easy, but make no mistake - gaining traction and success is often hard. What is presented on TV doesn’t begin to show the tremendous work an agent must commit to, day in and day out. Licensing classes do not prepare you for the business of being in business; they merely prepare you for passing the test. The number of agents who drop out within two years of starting is staggering, and I don’t want you to be among them.
Here’s the good news: the experience, skills, and education you possess and bring to your new career will absolutely benefit you. You must simply learn to transfer them in a relevant way. The connections you have and the people you know (and influence) will be your foundation. You must simply learn to leverage them. Finally, there is plenty of business to go around. Your challenge is to simply get in front of those who need you and to ask for the business.
If failure is not an option, and you are 100% committed to success in this industry, here are a few more things you must make a priority:
- First hand knowledge of the local inventory and statistical data. This is how you will establish and be able to demonstrate your Local Market Expertise, and it’s critical. As a new agent, you should be previewing, touring, or showing 6-10 homes per week. Use Relola to record, publish and share your insights. You should spend time studying your MLS updates every day, too. What’s new? What’s selling? What’s not? What are the average days on market at any given price point? What are the months of available inventory? Top producers know this, shouldn’t you?
- Establishing a strong online presence. That’s where buyers and sellers are and you must be found. Build out profiles everywhere - LinkedIn, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Relola. Launch pages for your business on social sites like facebook, instagram, twitter or pinterest. Craft a well-written bio, include a photo that is reflective of you as a real estate professional and be sure that the content you post is relevant and engaging. For more ideas, check out this article and download.
- Knowing your contract, and any document you may ask a buyer or seller to sign. We are entrusted to help people with financially significant decisions and transactions. They are counting on you to be the trusted advisor and it’s unlikely that they will read every document word for word. You better. The contract is your work product and it is essential that you not only have a thorough understanding of it, but can accurately summarize and explain it with confidence. As an agent, it’s never okay to say “I didn’t know…”. You have to.
- Committing to daily prospecting. Most don’t like to hear this, but the truth is you probably don’t know enough people who need to buy or sell this year in order to sustain your business, and not all that do will choose you anyway, for a variety of reasons. Your focus should be on building a pipeline full of leads from a variety of sources that will result in listing appointments and buyer consultations, and then closed transactions. Start with the basics - expireds, FSBOs, and hosting open houses, and build from there. Remember, without leads, you don’t get to do the other stuff, so time block for prospecting a minimum of one hour a day, 5 days a week.
Our industry needs more great people like you, so embrace your career with enthusiasm, curiosity, and determination. As a special bonus our audio link contains an interview with Rich Blessing, an agent with Century 21 Redwood in Northern Virginia. Rich has reinvented himself with great distinction and what he has to share is certainly beneficial. Be sure to check it out!
Beth Incorvati is our Chief Blogger and Podcast Host at Radio Relola. She has been training, motivating, and inspiring real estate professionals for over fifteen years.