How comfy are you with your systems? Specifically, your MLS and your contract software? For me, if I'm not proficient with my tools of my trade, it's easy for me to shy away from using them. Well, in OUR trade, shying away from using the MLS or your contract software is pretty much fatal to your chances of bringing in a paycheck. KWIM?
Last year, after two years away from the trenches, I re-activated my real estate license. The RE/MAX office I joined had a new fancy-schmantzy contract software program I'd never used before. Well, the heavens smiled on me and I got a buyer off my blog literally the first day back. We went out looking at houses and they found one they liked and wanted to make an offer on it.
YIPES! I had no idea how to even fire up the program, much less navigate through it, so... get this... I put them off with some stupid excuse until two days later so I could get a crash course on the software. But even with the crash course, I was a bit of a basket-case writing up the offer, from a technology perspective.
For a new agent, I imagine this would be doubly or triply unnerving! At least I'd actually gone through a purchase contract with a buyer a couple hundred times, so I wasn't nervous about that... but the actual technology of it just about shut me down.
So, the first step is admitting you have a problem. When you run an MLS search for a buyer, do you trust your results? When you're looking for comparables to price a home for a prospective seller, are you sure you found them all? No? Then practice practice practice. And get some training, either from the local MLS provider/board or from another agent in the office. Do 5 practice CMAs* on 5 office listings. Do a CMA on your own house. Search for homes Just Like Yours and go preview them.
If you use contract software (as opposed to handwriting your contracts), GET SOME TRAINING. These systems are not intuitive and you'll be a basket-case like I was if you're sitting down with a buyer to write an offer and can't figure out how to print it out. Or how to auto-populate the fields from contract to contract. These programs are typically pretty powerful and can do a lot of things for you... LEARN THEM.
Yeah, yeah, I know that Learning your Systems isn't nearly as sexy as learning how to prospect, but unless you're a master fake-it-til-you-make-it-er, those prospects you bring in won't be worth much to you without a decent knowledge of your systems.
Tomorrow: Secret Two - Practice with Your Printer (more important than you might think!)
* CMA traditionally stands for Competitive Market Analysis or Comparative Market Analysis, however, I recently a much better definition, compliments of Broker Bryant - "Compilation of Market Activity." A CMA is a report prepared by a real estate agent to determine the market value of a home.