by Tami Bonnell, CEO, EXIT Realty Corp. International

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Whether you’re considering a career in real estate, an agent who wants to increase your production, a top producing agent who wants to develop a team, a team leader who wants to open or acquire a brokerage, or a top broker who wants to become a regional owner, start by creating a life plan.  Where do you see yourself in one, three and five years from now?

This is the perfect time of year to reflect and plan for the next level in every facet of your life.  Review your finances; are you striving for complete financial independence or is it more realistic for you to become debt-free first? 2020 may be about getting your own house in order before aiming for the next level of your career. Do you want to save more money or give more away? Take stock of the quality of your relationships, both personal and professional.

Samantha Wood, a top-producing, multi-award-winning Sales Representative with EXIT Realty Advantage in Fredericton, New Brunswick, tried to keep a foot in two boats as she transitioned into a career in real estate at age 20.  “I was intrigued by the idea, but equally intimidated by the thought of leaving a salaried job for a commission-based income,” she remembers.  “So, for a few months I tried juggling both careers, and quickly realized that at some point I was going to drop the ball in either one or both. If I was going to make something of myself in real estate, I needed to go full force and leave my other job behind.”

What do you need to learn to move to the next level?  As a real estate agent, you might improve your sales or negotiating skills.  If you’re building a team, you might improve your communication and leadership skills.  A current or aspiring broker/owner might learn about mergers and acquisitions to take advantage of key opportunities in the market. If you’re considering regional ownership, you should learn to teach other people how to grow their business.

Samantha says a key learning opportunity for her was attending the annual EXIT Realty Corp. International Convention.  “Within 12 months of making the decision to attend I doubled my business in both the number of transactions I was closing and dollars earned.”

One of the best ways to accelerate your learning is to develop a group of trusted advisors.  Mastermind with someone in a different market who has acquired companies, or who is building a brokerage with the calibre of agents you want.  Often the best advisors work on the real estate industry but not in it, for example, appraisers, home inspectors, mortgage and insurance brokers.  This group of professionals has connections across the industry and can offer a different perspective to that of someone licensed to sell real estate.  They might even have a perspective on you!  Remember to give before you take and always offer to help them first.

I believe there are two main reasons that people don’t achieve their goals.  First, their emotions aren’t strong enough.  People who don’t stay emotionally tied to their “why” – the reason behind the reason they set the goal in the first place – don’t persevere when the going gets tough.  Second, they set goals in only one area of their life causing other areas to suffer.  I find that most people who achieve their goals, focus on all areas of their life, ie finances, spirituality, community, relationships, education as well as their business as a whole.  When one area is stagnant, they see growth in other areas which motivates them to keep going.

“I continually set goals for myself through my vision board so I’m always working toward something,” says Samantha.  “I set a goal to brand myself, which meant working with a local marketing company to create a memorable, easy to search and consistent brand. It’s still one of the best investments I’ve made for my business. I even set a goal to hire an assistant, because all of the top producers I know have a least one. My assistant and I have built systems that I could never do on my own. We were able to go from 28 ends per year, to over 60 ends; grossing over a quarter of a million dollars in the production year. He’s able to host open houses, work with buyers and take care of my work while I’m away because, most importantly, he’s licensed. By far this was the biggest game changer in my career.”

Be open to new opportunities.  When we’re busy, we don’t always have the time (or at least we think we don’t) to entertain new ideas but approaching them with an open mind might result in something extraordinary.  “My dream for the future is to continually grow my business and capitalize on EXIT’s residual income opportunity for my family,” says Samantha. “I’m honored to be with a company that has supported me through becoming a mom and gives me the flexibility and freedom to pour myself into both my personal life and a career that we all know has limitless possibilities.  I represent many millennials who are looking for a career environment and culture that they can be part of. They want perks, a job with purpose, direct communication with their managers, flexibility, and EXIT is the solution.”

Anyone in leadership, whether you’re an agent leading clients through the real estate transaction, a team leader, a broker/owner or regional owner, you must continue to grow or people won’t continue to follow you.  You must be a work-in-progress as a person.  And besides, as Samantha learned, there’s nothing more fun than building a dream.

Founded in Canada in 1996, EXIT is a proven real estate business model that has to-date paid out more than $460 million dollars in single-level residual income to its associates across the U.S. and Canada. EXIT Realty’s Expert Marketing Suite™ including geolocation Smart Sign™ technology gives home sellers the edge in a competitive marketplace. A portion of every transaction fee received by EXIT Realty Corp. International is applied to its charitable fund and to-date, more than $5.5 million has been pledged to charity. For more information, please visit www.joinexitrealty.com