When I got into the business, many things were different, but many of the basic truths about the business remain the same. So here is what I would share with me preparing for my new career, or perhaps some of the younger people coming out of the real estate schools in Utah and around the country:
You don't have to work with them all! This was my first lesson learned at my first listing appointment - a referral from a friend. I just had a sense that this seller had a strong need for a really, really bad real estate transaction. He was a high powered TV news producer who seemed pretty dour and cranky. He said some mean things about a few people we knew in common. Try as I might, I couldn't connect with him or his condo. I told him I thought we were not a good fit, wished him well and left. I wanted a more auspicious beginning to my new career. Sure enough, I was at a cocktail party a few months later and he was regaling the guests with tales of what a total, incompetent idiot he'd just fired as his listing agent. It took years to sell. Select your clients as carefully as they select you. You can refer the ones that don't work for you.
A "loss" is often a win. There will be lots of times when you don't get a listing you really want, or when your buyers lose their Dream House in a bloody bidding war. Then a few days or months later the phone rings, and you get a second chance. So don't gloat when you win or pout when you're out, because this is a business full of surprises (usually good ones) and second chances.
It's not about the number of people in your contact management system, but the number of appointments on your calendar. You have to step away from your computer and get into your car to go to listing appointments and show property to buyers. Real estate is a contact sport - and I'm not talking just texting and emails!
Don't focus so much on the number of homes you sell or your dollar volume, but about your net! Once I went on a Match.com date with a guy who was the Numbero Uno producer for a huge big box outfit. He boasted of his paid staff of agents, a home inspector, mortgage broker and the fact that he had just rented his own office space. But he didn't mention an accountant, and with a little quick math, it dawned on me that I netted more than he did. In figuring out a business model that works for you, overhead should be a major consideration, especially if you are paying salaries to anyone other than a personal assistant.
You don't work for your broker; your broker works for you! Yeah. That's right. You're the boss! Your broker will likely have some ground rules and office standards, but they have to work to support the agents with training and support. It's really important to work in an office that works for you - the atmosphere, the training and the marketing support.
Never ever keep your client information on your broker's computer, and never ever use the broker's email address - the one ending in yourbroker.com! Some day you will wake up and discover they've just been sold to a big box, and it will be a bad corporate marriage you will want to leave - usually in a hurry! And your database becomes their database. Today with MacBooks that weigh less than a pound, there is no excuse!
Finally, I'll share some wisdom from my father, who told me that to be competitive, you have to first be competent.