Everything you ever wanted to know about making it in real estate

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  • | 12:00 p.m. May 14, 2004
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by Marylyn B. Schwartz

Special to Realty/Builder Connection

To my way of thinking, there are two ways to describe “new” in terms of a real estate agent. New as in you just got your license and are launching your career. Then there is new as in doing the same first year over three, four or more years running. In either case the same advice applies.

The great news is that what it takes to be a highly-successful agent is pretty simple stuff. That’s why trainers often talk about getting back to basics. It’s the basics, applied in sophisticated ways, that make real estate superstars.

Boot camp basics:

1. Every day, work on bringing in a saleable listing. I could stop here and many of you would make lots more money. For some of you that means just what it says, get a new listing. For others, already in over-priced or over-supplied markets, it means get a price reduction and make an unsalable house move. Do not buy into the seller’s desire to sell for a price that is outside of what the market will bear. Everyone wants the most from the sale. However, we do not do magic. We cannot make people pay more than they feel is right.

2. Understand that you’re responsible to clients/customers and not for them. Make a promise to always tell them what they need to know to make a good business decision. That may not always be what they want to hear, but it is your fiduciary responsibility to them and to you for your career success.

3. Never stop prospecting. The goal is to get to the head of the class and to have 70 percent or more of your business coming from referrals. That takes years of faithful prospecting and gathering data so that you can stay in touch with every person you ever talk to about real estate. Yes, that’s right, every person. Great agents understand that every person has the real potential of becoming a future transaction. If you are not the one keeping in touch when they are ready, they will not be coming to you. Take that to the bank! Your contact-management system is the key here. If you’re not using one, with all due respect, shame on you. Enter everyone that you know into the system and make a commitment to add at least 20 names a week. Think that would be difficult? NOT. Here is a trick. Every day fill your pockets with 20 business cards. Make a commitment to hand out every last one of them before your head hits the pillow at night. Every person to whom you hand a card has a home and possibly an e-mail address. Ask them for permission to add them to your data base. Most of them will say okay. Then, without fail, send them something once a month till they buy or die.

4. Learn the difference between activity and productivity. They are worlds apart in helping you make it in this business. Many agents are busy as heck and never really achieve a thing. Here is how I want you to measure success. Count the number of listing or buyer appointments you have a week. If it is fewer than three, get back to work and do better. You have to have three solid appointments with motivated people who have urgency to move forward in order to ensure that a transaction results. Anything that you are doing that keeps you from setting appointments is activity and not productivity. Get disciplined, and stop doing it. You will always be treading water if all you do is $8 an hour work. Find someone to do it for you. Remember that face-to-face and belly-to-belly is where the superstars put transactions together.

5. Take days off regularly. Burnout is a real concern in this industry. If you are not taking care of yourself, you will end up hating the business and will leave. I have seen it happen too many times not to know that I am 100 percent correct here. When you come from a place of abundance and not scarcity, you are there for your clients. This is a service business, and to be of service to anyone you must first take care of numero uno. That is not in the least bit a selfish statement. It’s just a fact.

6. Learn and never stop. Every chance you get take classes, listen to tapes, go hear speakers and attend conventions. Surround yourself with the best of the best. What’s that saying. “If you want to soar like an eagle, don’t hang around with turkeys.” Good advice if you ask me. Wear a “NO Whining” button around the office if it helps. I often wear one in my classes, and it turns out that a button is worth a thousand reprimands.

7. Be willing to reach out a hand and help others. The agents who give freely of themselves are the ones that are the most inspiring success stories. When you can focus on helping another, you help yourself in the process.

8. Hire a coach. No one who ever achieved greatness did it alone. There on the sidelines was a coach cheering, pushing, cajoling and helping them be all that they could be. Don’t wait till you think you can afford one. By then it is often too late. This is a grand business. We have the privilege of assisting people and helping make their dreams come true. We literally change lives. How many people can say that about their career choice? Be grateful that you are here and give yourself the gift of getting better every day. Never take you eyes off of what is best for your clients, and they will take care of you!

— Marylyn B. Schwartz, CSP, is a noted expert in real estate and corporate sales training, team development, customer care and diversity issues. Info: [email protected] or www.marylynbschwartz.com.



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