By Sue Styles
Being a real estate agent is soooo glamorous! Right?
Look at Barbara Corcoran on ABC’s Shark Tank. Or Fredrik Eklund in his million-dollar suit heading to his next multi-million dollar listing.
But it’s not all sunshine and roses. Believe me.
Every month people wanting to get into the real estate business call me asking for advice. Before giving any advice though, my first instinct is to say, “Are you sure?” Is it possible they are looking for TV glamour and stardom, rather than a business?
My second instinct is to share the truths nobody shares with new real estate agents. Here is the cold, hard truth about becoming a real estate agent – and it’s not for the faint of heart. Of course it’s not easy – nothing worth doing is easy – but you can enjoy a successful career as a Realtor if you come into the job with these five truths in mind:
1. Are you telling me 90 per cent of my time will be spent chasing leads?
Welcome to your new career. You’re going to be working 24/7 to find your next buyer or seller. This means following up on every lead, staying in touch with them (without irritating them) and making sure you’re top of mind.
2. Wait, I have to be a social media expert?
Yes, you do. Or find someone who is…and there are lots of them out there ready and waiting to help you build your business. But you can’t avoid the reality: in real estate, you have to be “out there” on every social media platform possible. That means staying top-of-mind for that next potential client thinking of buying or selling a home.
If marketing wasn’t part of your post-grad education, it’s time to get started. Take courses, read books, get a coach. Now is the time to invest in your future. It’s an investment that will pay rewards!
3. You’re saying I have to be on call 24/7?
Maybe you thought as an entrepreneur real estate agent you could make your own “flexible” schedule. Think again.
If you want to build your business you need to respond to clients on their timetable, not yours. They’re thinking about buying or selling their next home when they get home from their workday…and good agents will be at the other end of the phone when they decide to take or make an offer. You’re part of one of the most important, most expensive decisions people will make in their lives. Be there for them and they’ll be grateful…and recommend you to their friends and colleagues.
4. But all I want to do is sell, sell, sell.
Selling and closing deals is only a small part of your job.
You will love handing over the keys to a new owner. But that’s a small part of your day. You’ll be spending most of your time doing administrative tasks: filling in forms, paying professional dues (better plan for that), navigating the technology required to run your real estate business, keeping up on zoning and new laws…you get the picture. Handing over the keys is rewarding, no doubt, but it’s the last thing you do after hours and hours…and hours of hard work.
5. Can I build my business and sell it?
The reality is you’re not (necessarily) going to retire by selling your book of business. There are two good reasons for this, but we can fix it before you begin.
Let’s start with choosing the right CRM (client relationship management) system – this is where you collect and manage your connections, leads, sales and suppliers. It’s also how you stay top of mind with your marketing. A properly built CRM is worth money to a buyer. The problem is that most agents never spend the attention to create a well-oiled machine when it comes to their CRM.
Do you have a successor in mind? You’ve built your real estate business on the merits of your personality and your relationships with people wanting to buy or sell a home. When you pass the torch will people still feel the loyalty they had towards you? Pick your successor carefully.
You’re going to spend 20 or 30 years building your real estate business and everyone has their own unique style to bring the table. Make sure you’re setting yours up right and, at the same time, think long-term.
I hope these tips help you succeed…they are things agents have learned the hard way and I’d love to see you stand on their shoulders by learning from their mistakes and reach higher in your career.
Did I skip a truth? I’d like to hear it…