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Posts tagged ‘prospecting’

25
Jul

Getting Your First Deal and Avoiding The Sophomore Slump

Sophmore slumpSo, just how long does it take to get your first deal? It’s a question nearly every new agent asks me during the first interview. I say that they should prepare for at least six months without any income, but the reality is that everyone is different. Some come into the business with clients ready to go. Others start their career buy buying or selling their own home. Others have a massive sphere of influence and will turn a deal in a few weeks and others don’t know a soul in the city and take a few months to get ink to paper. Frankly there is no exact science to it, so I asked the question in a local Facebook group and got answers that ranged from a few weeks to half a year. Here is a cross-section of answers from agents in different markets.

One agent said… I managed to firm up my first deal in about 6 weeks. got paid in about 10 weeks. I would tell a new agent that they may lose money the first year. You can never predict how the market will behave.

Or, this one…I tell every new agent to have 6 months worth of wages (for personal and business expenses) comfortably in the bank. Don’t count on a pay cheque for 6 months min. I had mine in 5, but was prepared for 6. Too many drown in the overhead without a plan.

Another great comment… It took me 3 months and the second one didn’t come until the 9 month mark. I would say 9 months generally to a new agent.

Also this one…Started out on my own September, first commission December. I was prepared also for six months but very happy to say it took four.

And finally some wise words… it all comes down to how much the Brokerage can help them in the beginning and if the person will work it is a job. So much learning to do in the first year or so… so the stronger the brokerage I believe the faster the deals. Just like the stronger the team… more experience for the new agents, greater confidence and more deals.

Actually, I believe that it isn’t the first year that determines your success in any business but what you do in the years that follow. Many agents coming into the business with prospects or clients ready to buy or sell. They spend there first few months buying or selling homes for friends and family that they forget the basics of building a business for life. We have seen it several times, new agents who rock their first year, they go out and buy a new car, go for a holiday and think that they have walked into the easiest job ever. Then the reality of year two sinks in and they have no business in their pipeline. It’s called the “sophomore slump”.

So, how can you avoid the “sophomore slump”? Don’t take your initial experiences as gospel. Use your first commission cheque wisely. Use every opportunity to research your farm area, work on your website, get your continuing education credits out-of-the-way, and above all, prospect. These are just some of the basic building blocks for constructing a successful career.

Of course there is more to think about than surviving for as many as 6 months without an income. Have you heard the old expression…you need to spend money to make money? Starting any new business, whether it is a flower shop or real estate, requires some capital outlay. The good news is that, depending on where you work, the initial few months can be floated by the brokerage. Still, there are business cards, open house signs, name riders, website, not to mention a clean car, rent, food, gas. The list goes on and the amount needed will differ substantially depending on where you live and work. As crazy as it sounds, it’s important to have your finances in order right from the start.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.

26
Jun

2800Kms and Counting And One More Lesson Learned

Three years ago, January 2012, I had a crazy notion to ramp up my fitness so I decided to set a goal of running one hundred 10K’s. I had no idea if I could do it. I liked running, just not THAT much. I’m a busy guy so I knew I would have to do it early in the morning if I had any chance. I ran in the cold, the rain, the snow. Often I woke up at 5am to get it done and just when I got close, a terrible thing happened. In early November I got hit by a car. I remember lying on the ground it total agony. Life in a wheelchair flashing before my eyes I remember being so terribly sad that after 890km in the bank, I would not achieve my goal. I spent the next six weeks hobbling around. Propping myself up with pillows just to sit upright. As time passed I watched any chance of my goal slip away. Then someone said that since I started my journey in mid January, I technically had two extra weeks to hit my goal. On Boxing Day, in a crazy snow storm, I put on my big Canada Goose Jacket and Sorels and went for a walk. After two and a half hours I completed run (walk) 90. Two days later, and in much lighter clothes I went out and did it again, and then again and again. With a day to spare, I finished my 100th 10k.

Along the way I learned some incredible things about myself and what I was capable of achieving. I recognized that there were some serious similarities to prospecting, because it starts with getting up, even on a lousy day, and “getting it done”! I started blogging about my experiences. It was awesome.

The following year I put another theory to the test. If running was like prospecting then surely I could run more and go farther. That would be like Prospecting more and for higher priced homes. So in 2013 I ran one hundred and fifteen 12k’s. That’s over 1300kms in one year.

Hot on the trails of that theory I thought that this year I would put my last theory to the test. If you were a successful realtor who made prospecting second nature, then surely, without set daily goals you could prospect without even thinking about it. Essentially you were hardwired to prospect. So this year’s goal was just to go out and run when I felt like it (of course I still kept track of my distances). Well today I hit the midway point and guess what? I am well over 500kms. Some of my runs were little 5k’s others were epic 25k battles. I just ran when I felt like it.

To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of running but I’m getting better at it and for a guy with a busy schedule it has a few other benefits. I don’t have to spend money on a gym, I can do it anywhere, and it gives me time to spend an hour alone with my thoughts.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.

13
Jun

Have You Hit Rock Bottom? Time For Some Prospecting

the rock bottom blog post
Has this ever happened to you? One morning you wake up and you realize that you have no closings, no prospective clients and no money? Many years ago, when I was just a fresh face with a real estate licence, I survived on credit. I would rack up huge credit card bills and then pay it all back the moment I sold something. Then the cycle would start again. It wasn’t until I developed a saving plan and prospecting strategy that I finally broke from the insanity of living hand to mouth. We are lured into the real estate business by quick and easy money. It’s not until a few months later that we realize it isn’t quick OR easy. Entrepreneurs are, by nature, risk takers, but successful entrepreneurs are also visionaries. They are motivated, determined, thorough, hard-working and above all, recognize that they need to reach people….a lot of people, and they need to do it everyday. It’s called PROSPECTING.
Are you like Agent Steve? A few years ago he got his licence. He had been talking about it for a few years and, as a likeable fellow, he had a few friends that said they would buy through him when he was registered. His mother was also planning on downsizing so he had hopes of helping her out too. Out of the gate he bought two properties for his friends. He listed and sold his mother’s house and helped her find a small condo. In his first year he did four transactions. Feeling very proud of himself he thought he had lucked into a great part-time job which helped him supplement his other income as a manager at a printing company. With his new-found money he bought himself a little Benz and took the family on a nice trip. And then everything changed. Agent Steve found himself with nothing. Throughout the time that he was working with his mom and his clients, Steve forgot to prospect. He said he was too busy. So when everyone got settled into their homes he had no new prospects or clients. Steve when from hero to zero.
A good entrepreneur (read Real Estate Agent) knows that when a cheque comes in you have to use some of it to reinvest in your business not buy yourself something pretty. They also know that you can’t put all your eggs into one basket. I have heard lots of stories of agents who have worked with clients for months trying to find a very specific home. They take up a lot of time but in the end they dry up and go away. We call it the “Hail Mary” approach. Two problems…first, the agent didn’t qualify them well enough and second, they didn’t prospect because they knew the payoff would be sweet. Double whammy.
The lesson here is simple. If you have hit rock bottom I can tell you with 100% certainty that you have NOT been prospecting. As crazy as it seems, prospecting, whether you love it or hate it, is the single most important job an agent has to do EVERY DAY! So when an agent tells me they have nothing on the go I know exactly why. The problem compounds very quickly too. Left with no money you start to stress about the rent. Life gets increasingly more difficult. So what can you do?
First, prospecting MUST start at the office. Be present. Go to work every day and talk to the other agents there. Get open houses to do. I know that is tough to do when there is very little product on the market but talk to agents and see if they will extend their open house hours. Let them know you will do the noon to 2pm shift. Second, inspect property. Get to know your product again. You will get a lot of stuff to talk about. Third, call up your friends and ask them out for coffee. Catch up with them and slip in a few details about the market. Ask them if they know any body looking to buy or sell. Fourth, get out and take a course. Learning something always invigorates us. Finally, join a team or club. It’s a great way to meet people and network.
I think it is important to recognize that real estate, in it’s most base form, is nothing more than a numbers game. You need to have 50 meaningful real estate conversations with someone in order to get one contract. Simple. The first step is getting up with a positive attitude. So if you want to sell 10 houses a year you need to have 500 serious conversations. That’s one a week and a couple on the weekend. When you break it down like that it doesn’t seem that hard to do.

mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President-Elect for the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.

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