Ingredients of Success for “The New Real Estate Professional”
My objective in this article is to consolidate what I have learned about the requirements for success in many different aspects of the real estate industry. If you are new in the business, these fundamentals of knowledge, passion, sales and engagement will get you off to a good start. If you are a veteran, I at least hope that you will be reminded of things you know, and perhaps one or two you forgot.
This article is the first of many written by John Reilly or myself on behalf of RealTown, the oldest online real estate community on the internet, exclusively for the Lab Coat Agents Blog.
John and I want to thank Tristan and Nick, and commend them for the great job they are doing in building the Lab Coat Agents “Family” of Facebook Groups. Sharing and collaborating in a world of abundance is how those involved in sales should look at the world, and who among us isn’t involved in sales?
After years of sales, sales management, and studying sales, it seems to me that sales success in real estate (and many other types of sales) requires at a minimum, the following:
If you are selling homes, apartment buildings, commercial buildings, raw land (anything really), you need to know as much about your product as possible. Know the current inventory of properties offered for sale or lease. Spend time learning the different aspects of the neighborhoods and surroundings in the areas in which you have (or anticipate that you will have) the most business.
The local Historical Society may be an excellent place to start. Your local Association of REALTORS® may also be a good place to obtain relevant information for yourself and your clients about real estate in your area. Remember, you are the neighborhood expert. Be confident in your knowledge of the product. Know more about it than any of your competition and it becomes a differentiator. A constant challenge agents and brokers have is being different, as Seth Godin says, “Be different, or charge less.”
Having a passion for your work… and a passion for delivering your services to others is a big plus. Also, being passionate about your product—in our case, real estate—knowing all about it and believing that it is the best way for most people to secure their financial independence. Remember, “Under all is the land.” It’s part of the Code of Ethics for the National Association of REALTORS®. You better believe it!
When working with buyers, sellers, and other agents, breakdowns in transactions can often be traced back to breakdowns in communications.
Take the time to develop processes that help ensure accurate communication with your clients. Enhance your ability to communicate in person, and online, in writing as well as speaking.
There can be a subtle art to persuasion, especially in the emotion-charged world of real estate sales. It is essential always to be looking for the lessons in your interactions and exchanges with others. Become a “Student of Engagement.”
Marketing Skills: What are the things you market as a real estate professional?
The secret to success in marketing yourself in real estate is to put your name in front of people over and over again, as you work to build your customer/client database.
Market Your Services
Articulate the value you bring to the table, develop a menu of services.
Market your Listings
What do you do that is different, that will bring the seller more of what they are looking for in the transaction?
Knowing and keeping in mind the way that subtleties and nuance to you may be major and, yet, may be traumatic to those you deal with. Develop your ability to listen and to empathize.
Pools of People
“Contact with people creates opportunities” or, said another way, “Contacts Create Contracts.” Build and maintain a “contact list database” of an increasing pool of people at different levels of engagement, segmented, if possible, into audiences. Segmentation can be done by geographic location, group, club, or however you want to organize your contacts.
Don’t forget, all of the friends and family you have before you entered the real estate business, they make up the initial core of your database. This is sometimes referred to as your sphere of influence.
The more accurate and thorough, and the more consistent your engagement, the greater your potential for greater numbers of sales. The average term of home ownership is about 6 to 10 years so most of the people with whom you meet and engage each day, will not need your real estate services today.
Always keep in mind, the marketing you did yesterday is what is providing you with the business you are benefiting from today, and the marketing you do today will bring you the business of tomorrow.
Engagement Channels: Where Do You Go to Engage?
In an offline environment, real estate professionals belong to clubs, are members of parent-teacher associations, little leagues, neighborhood planning groups, service organizations, churches, and more. Where do you go to meet people? Developing trust relationships requires continuing engagement which helps build the human trust and confidence, so essential to real estate transactions.
In an online environment, look to social media. Facebook groups such as LCA, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are great sources. Look for Groups that are frequented by consumers, buyers, sellers and other real estate professionals. Develop and maintain an “online presence.”
Some of your Engagement Channels will have certain requirements for you, or for your content. Not all of your database needs to hear from you every day, but contacts do need to hear from you based upon the depth of your relationship and their need for your services. And don’t forget the friends of your contacts, referrals are a great way to earn new business!
Capability to Execute
Executing well includes time management skills for the effective use of your time. While the demands of The New Real Estate Professional are intense, making sure you take the time for all of the important aspects in your life will assist you in executing on the day-to-day. Make sure you have a good time management system and make its use your daily obsession. It’s a requirement for the result you are looking to achieve.
Capital – The real estate sales business is extremely competitive.
Initial Capital Requirements
For new people to the industry, plan to go 4 to 6 months before you earn a paycheck. If you are incredibly lucky and get a listing or a buyer on your first day, you are still probably 60 days from payday. Enough initial capital is vital so you can do everything required to ensure your success in the business, without having to expend energy on personal financial worries.
Ongoing Capital Requirement
Cash flow management and adequate capital reserve, or alternative revenue streams are important due to the cyclical nature of the economy and the housing market.
I once learned that it is often not necessary that you “do what it takes” to be successful. It is necessary, however, to be “willing to do what it takes” to be successful and many times you will not be called upon to do whatever it is that you’re prepared for, but your commitment must always be there.
Change, annotate, or add to the above and print it. Then put this statement where you see it every day. Seeing it every day will move the concepts from your head to your heart, and it is at the heart level that these beliefs are the most effective.
There is more to success in real estate, of course. It is a day to day, everyday job. But if you are like me (and if you have read this far), you have the real estate bug; the real estate disease is how I have described it over my 44 years of experience in this business in one form or another. I know that you want to do everything you can to stay in this industry. Hopefully, the points mentioned in this piece will help you, in some small way, along that path.
Remember: Contact with people creates opportunity. Contacts create contracts, so engage often. Time, patience, and perseverance will take care of the rest.
With a commitment to the ideals of knowledge, passion, sales and engagement that we’ve discussed here, you’re well on your way to success; good luck and let us know how you are doing.