THE FIRST month in real estate can sometimes be tough to survive. If you are just starting out in the industry, Maree Quinn has some tips for you.
SO, YOU WANT to be in real estate? Please don’t say it’s because you like houses. Hopefully it’s because you like people, hard work and your core farm area. On the personal attributes side, you will be a quick thinker, resilient, persistent and a bit stubborn. If you are still keen, here are my suggestions for the first month in real estate sales.
- Business – how to define it
When you start in real estate you may think you work for someone, but in truth you work for yourself and happen to use someone else’s stationery and photocopier. Wrap your head around the concept of personal responsibility, as there are no excuses good enough and no resting on your laurels. As soon as you find the obligatory desk and phone, take a breath and picture the clients you would like to work for, what they are likely to own, what they want to hear and where you will be able to find them.
- Advice – how to process it
If there is one thing in abundance in the real estate industry, it’s advice. Thankfully, most will be well intentioned and the best will be based on the experience of success you picture for yourself. If I had a dollar for every person who has said to me ‘I used to be in real estate…’Take it all in, but realise building your career is like building a house. The foundations need to be laid before you can put the walls and roof on, let alone the solar panels. Ask permission to shadow the best agent/s in your office. Invite an agent you admire out for a coffee; if you explain you are new to the industry and would love to pick their brains, most will say ‘sure’. Of course, respect the time given to you and make the most of it; you’ll realise how valuable time is to a successful agent soon enough.
- Energy – how to manage it
Whatever you do, please work hard to retain the enthusiasm you feel in the first month; clients will appreciate the freshness of enthusiasm over decades of ‘dull’ experience. Preserve your sanity and family life, protect your health and block out time for having fun. It can be tempting to go all-out in the early stages, but real estate is a marathon, not a sprint.It is easy to fall into the trap of ‘busy’. Instead, make sure you are ‘productive’. Everything you do will revolve around listing and selling; in the early days it will primarily be getting appraisals so you can move on to the other two. Get over phone phobia fast if you have it. Find out if there are any ‘orphan’ contacts you can call or old listings on the books so you can hold your own open home.
- Structure – how to get some
Okay, sure, you have no clue what you are doing yet, but there are certain practices you can start doing and keep doing. Keep good records; everyone you meet who owns property should be put into a database of some sort, maybe even a CRM. This acronym stands for Client Relationship Management, not Contact Rarely Maybe. Your database is not a phone number storage device – it is a way to plan your activity, distribute marketing, give prospective clients the information they want and remember the nice-to-know details, like the schools the children attend or their pet snake’s name. Start communicating with e-newsletters as soon as possible; they are free and you can build your skills and establish a habit while only three people are getting them.
- Learning – how to continue
To improve at anything you need to do it and then reflect to see what works and what doesn’t. If it does and it’s ethical and legal, keep doing it, maybe even ramp it up. If it doesn’t work, seek out ways to develop your skills. Say ‘yes’ to every opportunity for training and take notes which include immediate actions.At the beginning, your learning is likely to come down to increasing the quantity of people you are meeting who own property, working on your ability to establish motivation and asking constructive questions. Practise asking a series of questions without offering an opinion; it will be the most valuable skill you can learn, besides knowing what to do with the answers. Enjoy your first month. The good news is there will never be another first month. You will be amazed at how much you will learn. There are no tricks to real estate, no magic formulas or silver bullets; in fact, there is very little that changes despite technological advancements. Real estate sales is meeting people who own property, listening to them, caring and keeping in touch. That’s not so hard, is it?