Continued from Guide To Becoming a Real Estate Agent – 1:

4. Develop a personality.

It’s often said that as a salesman, you’re not just selling your product: you’re selling yourself. That’s why as a real estate agent, it’s important to develop a personality.

We’re not saying you don’t have one: we’re just suggesting that you lean into it. Whether you’re a pet lover, a motorcycle enthusiast, a foodie or an online gamer, don’t hide your personality: embrace it. You’re in real estate—so, for God’s sake, be real. Your personality fosters relationships, which builds your reputation, which generates leads. You get the picture.

Getting involved in the life of a community helps build your relationships, but it’s important that your involvement be consistent with who you are as a person. Enthusiasm is difficult to fake, so if something you say or do doesn’t ring true to you, people will pick up on it.

If you don’t eat pork, for instance, looking for leads at a meeting of pork-rearers probably isn’t a good idea—and in fact, it may cause both the people you meet and the people you already know to think of you as a hypocrite.

Instead, you’re better off finding opportunities to broadcast yourself to people with whom you have common ground. As far as those opportunities go, some say it’s better to keep politics and religion out of business, and in many cases those people are right. But politics and religion build strong communities, and depending on where you are, getting involved can have huge benefits. At the same time, it’s important for you to decide what you’re comfortable wearing on your sleeve.

Finally, we’re talking about work here, so it’s important to see personality in a professional context. In general, moderation and a sense of boundaries are keys to success. Come on too strong or get too personal in your dealings with clients, and you may end up alienating more people than you connect with.

Instead, let customers be the ones to open up to you, and they’ll often be happier for it—after all, many people enjoy talking about themselves more than anything else.

5. The best agents have endless hustle.

The real estate industry has had a rough few years. It’s been a tough time finding buyers and renters. Presently, it is a buyer’s market and not a seller’s market. Also, agents increasingly have to contend with giant real estate publishers like Hutbay and NigeriaPropertyCenter for visibility and leads.

The fact of the matter is, things have changed, and as a new agent, you’ll have to accept that more than anyone. The days of plenty are over, and that means the only way to be a successful agent is to have hustle.

Talk to any top producing agent about their work habits, and you’ll find he or she is an incredibly hard worker. Successful businesses don’t create themselves, and being an estate agent is no exception. There’s a direct correlation between how hard you work and how successful you will be.

Still, having hustle doesn’t simply mean working twelve-hour days from Monday to Friday. After all, working in real estate isn’t just about putting in a lot of time—it’s about putting in the right time and doing what’s necessary to close the deal.

Because of this, hustle is also about being prepared to work at a moment’s notice. It’s about getting a phone call from a potential buyer at eight o’clock on a Friday night, when you’re sprawled out on the couch watching a movie, and not thinking twice about contacting your client to set up a meeting.

Are we saying you should neglect your responsibility to your family or your spouse for the sake of work? Of course not. But if the benefits of working outweigh the benefits of whatever you happen to be doing when an opportunity presents itself, you need to be prepared to suck it up.

If this all sounds incredibly difficult, here’s a bit of encouragement: most people, and in particular most agents, don’t work hard enough. If they did, they’d all be top producers. So don’t worry about competing with every agent on the planet. If you work hard enough, you’ll be in a class of your own.

6. Measure, analyze, and evaluate.

We’ve discussed the importance of hustle in becoming a successful agent. But no matter how hard you work, if you don’t measure your performance, you won’t know whether that labor is yielding results. This is not just a fact of real estate: it’s a fact of life.

To a certain extent, we improve subconsciously. Through repetition, we learn how to perform a function more swiftly and more efficiently; through observation, we internalize better practices and adopt them, often without even realizing it.  

As a real estate agent, you should constantly be examining and measuring your performance. You can do this in a number of ways. First and foremost, consider keeping a daily journal to record your impressions of that day’s work. Keep count of how many prospects you talked to and how those conversations went.

At the end of the day, determine what you accomplished. Did you get enough done? If not, why might that be? No need to get incredibly detailed: just get into the habit of jotting down a few ideas. You’ll have time to organize them into something more coherent later.

You can also learn a lot about your performance by taking a long view on your prospects. Track them from beginning to end and figure out what your pipeline looks like. Are some parts of your sales strategy working better than others? Do you tend to lose prospects at a particular stage? If so, you might need to change your approach.

Finally, crunch the numbers to see the results your work is really getting you in black and white. Check your prospects against the numbers you have and the numbers you need. Getting a lot of leads, but not making a lot of sales? You may be better off devoting more time to fewer clients. How many closings do you need to make a living? Compare your stats to that number and set goals accordingly.

I’d like to say that after my brute strength revelation, I spent the next few years overhauling my martial arts technique. Alas, I still have the tendency to rely on my strength and size. This brings us to the last step in the self-evaluation process: implementation. If you’re not going to try to correct the mistakes and inefficiencies you’ve worked hard to uncover in your business practices, what’s the point of seeking them out?

Start making a weekly list of skills you plan to work on or solutions you plan to try out. At the end of the week, evaluate your progress. Did you practice what you set out to practice? Did the corrections you made lead to more prospects, more sales, more success? If not, why do you think that is, and what else could you try next week?

Make no mistake, self-evaluation is usually not fun, and it can add a lot of work to an already hectic schedule. But if you’re really committed to being a successful real estate agent, you’ll find the time—and pretty soon, you’ll see the results.

7. Make peace with technology.

Let us tell you what you already know: the Internet is transforming the entire real estate industry. Few years ago, potential real estate buyers were largely in the dark about their choices; all they had were a string of abbreviations and a grainy photograph of a property’s exterior.

Real estate professionals, on the other hand, were wizards. They had a secret, mysterious knowledge of their trade, and clients could benefit from that knowledge for a price.

Welcome to the twenty-first century. Today, there are no secrets. Buyers can view live video feeds of the area, read reviews of your agency, get perspectives on the neighborhood from current residents, access stats on traffic and environmental hazards, check the seller’s asking price against trends for the surrounding area, take virtual tours of every room, even sign contracts digitally.

Nevertheless, if clients now have increased access to information, agents also have increased access to potential clients. Social media and marketing technology are changing the way agents interact with their clients. Ten years ago, Facebook didn’t exist; today, more than 80 percent of real estate professionals are using the service in their jobs.

This has led not just to changes in communication, but more importantly, to changes in advertising and marketing. The Internet has come to dominate real estate marketing. That means there are increased opportunities to reach potential clients more quickly, more efficiently, and more cheaply.

On the other hand, this also means there’s more pressure on agents to adopt the new tools. But agents who complain by responding that they “just don’t understand technology” are ignoring their business sense. Fads and trends become norms on the Internet for a reason: because they make life easier, they make life better, and they make people money. True, there’s a learning curve, particularly for agents who didn’t come of age with the Internet; but that’s no excuse for ignoring it.

An effective real estate agent keeps current and continues to educate himself on the ways technology is being adopted and adapted to the industry. That means humbling yourself and asking people in the know, who are often younger. There are also more formal ways to educate yourself. Read books. Take classes. Go to conferences. Put in the time.

Finally, it’s important to remember that when it comes to technology, just because you have to understand it doesn’t mean you have to be an expert. You always have the option of recruiting someone else to handle your technology for you. Nevertheless, you’ll have to know enough to be sure that you’re not throwing your money away. Hiring someone to build your website will be a waste of time if what they produce is based on the demands of last year’s customers.

This brings to mind a final point about technology: perhaps the biggest challenge of using it is the fact that it’s always changing. But that’s all the more reason to be active about adopting it. Don’t wait for some grand epiphany: search for knowledge. It’s part of your job.

Continue with the part 3 of this article: Guide To Becoming a Real Estate Agent – 3