Continued from Guide To Becoming a Real Estate Agent – 2:
8. Know your market.
Though more real estate professionals are beginning to work internationally thanks to globalization and the ease of communication, most agents continue to work close to home. This brings us to an important and often-overlooked fact about the real estate industry—namely, that it isn’t a single industry at all, but rather a collection of local and regional markets. The dynamics of your market can have a profound effect on how you conduct your business, and with whom—and the lower to the ground you are, the more evident this becomes.
9. Learn from the best.
In Part 6, we talked about learning and improving from reflecting on and measuring your own performance. One of your greatest assets as a real estate agent is self-reliance. But you should still look elsewhere for guidance and support, especially if you’re new to the game. Let’s get philosophical for a second here. We live in a subjective world. Everything you experience is colored by the unique flavor of your consciousness. This means that we all see the world differently, but it also means we all see ourselves differently. That goes for your reflection in the mirror as well as your sense of your abilities. This has major implications for your work as a real estate agent. Confidence is an important quality in a salesman; but too much confidence can alienate your prospects—and if there’s a truth about confidence, it’s that the person who has too much doesn’t know it.
The only way to solve this problem is to “average” your perspective as an agent with those of the agents around you—and the top performers are the ones who have done this work for themselves. Start by building and maintaining your relationships with your fellow agents and brokers, the people you see every day. You’ll not only strengthen the network of contacts you need to be an effective salesman—you’ll also have access to their hard-earned wisdom. Listen to horror stories as well as their success stories. Find time to ask questions. If an experienced agent doesn’t have time to help you during work hours, offer to buy him or her a beer afterwards. Worried about your rapport with prospects? Have someone whose opinion you trust listen to one of your sales calls. He or she may be able to point out a tic or mistake that you’re unable to see. Not getting the response you want from your advertising? Get feedback from someone who has it figured out.
Next, you should widen your focus. Step outside your office and find out which agents are the best and/or most visible in your community or region. Do your research. What are they doing that others aren’t? How do they market themselves? What tools do they use? Look at their numbers. How much business are they doing, and where are they doing it? You may say that because agents are independent contractors, they won’t be ready to divulge their sales secrets. True, it’s not in their best interest to tell you everything. But if there’s one thing people in real estate profession—in any profession, really—love, it’s being viewed as an expert. By consulting a peer, you’re telling him that he is worth consulting. You’re validating his years of hard work. Plus, the people you’ll be asking for help are already successful at what they do. That doesn’t mean they’ll give up their edge completely, but it does mean they can afford to help the little guy. In truth, the secret that most people are keeping is that they don’t really know what they’re doing. If they have real wisdom, they’ll have no problem sharing some of it with you.
10. Choose your broker wisely.
As an agent, you have both added freedom and added responsibility. Your business is your business, but it’s your business. Still, working for yourself doesn’t mean working alone. Before committing to a broker, you’ll want to make sure you have the right fit. Start by doing some research on the company’s earnings. Clearly, it’s important that your agency be profitable—but how successful are they in your niche? If you find you work primarily with buyers, an agency made up of seller’s agents probably won’t help you; if you’re most comfortable selling to middle-class families, an agency with primarily high-end listings may not be the right place.
In choosing a broker, as in cultivating your personal relationships, visibility and reputation are also crucial. If you’re going to tie yourself to an agency, you want to make sure they’re going to help you get noticed and gain clients’ trust, particularly when you don’t have many contacts of your own. The most profitable agency in your region may have a reputation for being full of shysters and snake-oil salesmen; a big, international franchise may sound like the ticket, but people in your area may be more comfortable and more experienced in dealing with local, family-owned establishments. Furthermore, there’s a reason plenty of real estate brokers don’t opt into a major chain: they’re expensive. Franchises can charge local thousands of dollars as an initiation fee. They can also charge renewal fees and get additional income by marking up “business & promotional items.” Plus, most franchises take an additional percentage of every commission sellers pay. All of these costs will affect your bottom line as an agent. Additionally, depending on where you are, a big name may not amount to much at all. That is, RE/MAX may have offices in 82 countries, but if everyone in a twenty-mile radius knows “Diya Fatimilehin and Co”, you’d probably be better off with them.
Finally, it’s important to get a sense of the nuts and bolts of working at an agency. The best way to do this is by talking to other agents. Try to meet with as many as you can from the agencies you’re considering. Ask about commission splits, technology, administrative support, and advertising. Try to get a sense of the culture there. Is the lead broker an egomaniac with a temper? Is he interested in expanding the business, or apathetic? Is the dynamic among agents competitive or collaborative? How does this match up with your philosophy? Align yourself with the agency that is going to support your success.
Hopefully, the tips we’ve given you will help you get off to a strong start. But as any seasoned veteran will tell you, this is by no means an exhaustive account of the potential challenges you’ll face as a real estate agent. It may be a while before you start closing deals regularly, and you can be sure you’ll have your share of failures and awkward or embarrassing moments. But don’t get discouraged. Like many jobs that require a high degree of social interaction, real estate is best learned by doing, by interacting with as many leads, clients, agents, and brokers as possible. So get to work!
This article originally appeared on Placester: Beginner’s Guide to Being a Real Estate Agent