My cousin just got her real estate license and I couldn't be more excited for both her and her future clients.
Our industry needs great people as we are an old industry with a median age of 54, according to the National Association of REALTORs®.
And because our industry, like any other industry, is constantly evolving changing, new agents need to get established fast so they can adapt fast too.
For my cousin's benefit and others as well, here is a list of the most important attributes, tools and skills a new agent must have. (Be sure to follow the #JanaSellsHomes Team both in the Rain and the cloud as we expand on this series.)
The SOI, aka: Sphere of Influence, Circle of Influence, your database, your address book, or whatever you call your people
When it comes to your SOI, the biggest mistake new agents make is they think this is a simple admin project that will be completed if they work hard on it for a few days. Your SOI is a working database and it requires constant updating and diligence.
You must become fanatic when it comes to capturing your SOI's data so that you can effectively market to them. Effective means updating your SOI the minute you learn of a divorce or death. Or making notes when a friend or client gets a new puppy or baby.
Easy trick: new pet or baby? Put the year the baby was born in your contact notes so you can roughly guess the child's age when you work with those clients 5-10 years from now. With new clients with children or kids, put the year you met them. I.e. "Claudia and her son Rickie, who looks about 13 years old as of 2019". Now when Claudia is ready to sell her home in 2025, you know that Rickie will be around 19 years old.
You also must have a simple SOI system. Check out my previous Nerd Alert post if you want to know how we keep it super simple. Avoid complicated data entry systems and anything that is difficult to update from your phone or your mobile device.
Your colleagues will help you far more often than they will hurt you.
When I first got in the business in 1999, I viewed all of my peers as enemies that are only out to steal my hard-earned leads. But after a few years of not making money, my ego was replaced by humility and I started asking agents in my office for help, and I was overwhelmed by the assistance and generosity I received.
Yes, you may have to share a deal and split the commission. Get over it! Half of something is better than half of nothing. And a good education is never inexpensive. If you want to last in real estate, you either learn from the pros in the business or from your own personal failure; the former of these methods is far easier and actually ends up less expensive than the latter.
Once I learned the benefit of sharing and learning from my colleagues, my skills grew exponentially. I still love to split deals from time to time as I always learn and grow from the experience working with agents of all backgrounds.
Never let a real estate deal ruin a good friendship
The most important resource a REALTOR® has is their SOI. The problem with most real estate education is that it trains new agents something similar to the multi-level marketing model, telling them to "just sell to your friends and family". Perhaps that's because friends and family won't sue you, wink wink.
It can be a huge strain for a new agent when a family member or close friend chooses a different agent. But with the shoe on the other foot, it is equally, if not more straining, to only hire a professional out of obligation or worse... pity.
Here's the recipe for strengthening your close relationships through the hiring process.
- Ask your friends and family for the opportunity to earn their business without obligation or hard feelings if they do not feel 100% satisfied after interviewing you.
- Before the interview ask them, What is important in the agent they hire?, and if they tell you they want an experienced agent then bring an experienced agent to the interview and share the deal.
- Mean what you say, put the needs of your family and friends first and be genuinely happy for them in their decisions (whatever those decisions are) to buy or sell the biggest financial investment they might ever own.
- When they close the deal, whether it was with you or someone else, ask them if you could interview them to learn more about what went right and what could have gone better. Show them how serious you really are when it comes to being the absolute best service provider, and I guarantee you, if it's done with humility and without hard feelings, they will refer business to you.
Last tip for the day, work your butt off!
Selling a home is a lot of work. Buying a home is a lot of work. It takes energy and commitment.
On top of that, most new agents are actually learning to run a small business on top of learning how to sell and buy real estate. This is why we use the expression "drinking from a fire hose!"
You will most likely have to dedicate 6-8 hours a day building your real estate business by doing things like prospecting for new clients, previewing and showing homes, and going on appointments with potential and current clients.
Tasks like book-keeping, marketing and keeping your license active will likely take an additional 1-2 hours per day on top of the other activities. Or in other words, if you thought this was an easy part time jig, you're in for a rude awakening.
The recipe for working your butt off, looks a little like this:
- 30 to 60 minutes role playing scripts with other agents. Since you'll be working so hard to make appointments, you will also need to become an expert at what to say at those appointments and role playing will shorten the learning curve.
- 2 to 3 hours prospecting per day. This means talking to people you don't know about buying and selling real estate
- 2 to 3 hours previewing homes (you have to know the inventory in your market to be effective)
- 2 to 3 hours going on appointments and showing homes
All the above needs to happen every day, 5 days a week.
Please know that, whether you are new or experienced, I wish you success. We need great agents in our industry. I was lucky to have wonderful mentors both across the country and in my own market, and I am so eager to pay that forward.
By the way, we are hiring a full-time buyer's agent, if you know someone in the Greater Seattle area looking to join a top producing team, please let us know.