The Real Estate Time Machine
Not that long ago I was asked why I chose the first company I ever worked for. The Truth is that as a young guy getting into real estate, over 25 years ago, I literally had no clue what to expect. I knew I wanted to be successful so I thought the best thing I could do was surround myself with successful people. Before entering real estate sales I built and renovated houses so I was always reading the real estate section of the newspapers to get a handle on the market and what was available. The company that I eventually started at was a boutique company with several offices around the city and, from the looks of it, had lots of great listings. The day I started, the manager assigned me a desk and wished me good luck. I soon found out that being successful in real estate was a lot of hard work.
Looking back, I had a lot of fun at that brokerage but I was missing one critical piece of the success puzzle…training. I simply didn’t know that training was something that realtors did. So I guess, if I could go back and do it again, I probably would have started with a company that offered training. This was the nexus for my meeting topic this week. I billed it as a sort of ideas exchange in the theme of “Hot Tub Time Machine”, one of the best movies EVER. So with a few dozen people at the meeting I asked everyone to imagine travelling back in time and starting their careers over again. What would they do differently if they could. Here are the top responses and associated notes in no particular order;
1. Start farming an area right from the start. Market yourself as the expert, and send out information with frequency. Most recognized that this is an expensive proposition for someone just starting out but everyone agreed that if they had spent the money they would have seen the fruits of their labour. The truth is that it often takes a year or two to see returns on advertising initiatives but one or two sales easily covers the expenditure.
2. Set up the right systems. This includes a solid CRM program that would help you work efficiently and effectively and not leave any potential client unattended. Agents are reluctant to spend money on a system early. A good CRM program is often one of the last tools that an agent buys when, in fact, it should be one of the first.
3. Get a coach. Again, the initial investment is hard to swallow. Imagine if I said…you pay me $500 per month and I will give you the means and tools to earn $100K? It’s a hard notion to get your head around. The truth is that coaches work. They keep you accountable, but more importantly provide you with great ideas on how to improve your business.
4. Prospect. Well this goes without saying. Real estate is a numbers game. The more people you know and talk to , the more business you do. Many agents know they have to prospect but the fear of rejection prevents them from starting. Experienced agents would say that they now have enough skill to prospect easily, but they wished they did it earlier in their careers.
5. Work longer hours. One of the reasons I got into real estate was to set my own hours. I quickly learned that the harder I work the more successful I became. This is a business that is 24/7. Working part-time will only cut it if you are happy to supplement your income with a sale once in a while. If real estate is your full-time gig, then you can’t wake up at 10am and roll into the office at noon.
6. Several agents said they would have started their careers earlier or taken the plunge to be full-time right away. This is not a business that you can be successful in if you are doing it part-time. I have interviewed many agents who have said they were going to transition into fulltime sales from their fulltime jobs. It almost never happens that way.
7. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Some agents said that the fear of the unknown kept them from trying new things. Some agents would say that the use of social media is an integral part of the marketing that they need to do but at the same time it can be daunting space if you aren’t a social media user. Picking the right one to use and utilizing it properly is a job on its own.
8. Be a better communicator of your value. As many new agents would admit, one of the questions you are terrified by is…how long have you been in real estate? This can be a tough one to answer or it can be an opportunity to build amazing relationships with potential clients. All agents agreed that if they could go back in time, they would try to be better equipt to diffuse their own self doubt.
9. Find your own voice or identity early on. Define your “brand” and use it consistently.
10. Spend money. The old adage is true… you need to spend money to make money. If you don’t have money than designate funds from each cheque to pay yourself, pay your expenses, pay your taxes and pay for your marketing. Don’t just run out there and buy a Tesla with that first cheque.
We had a great discussion and when I look at this now it is evident that these are great tips for anyone considering a career in real estate. Mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office, the Immediate Past President the Toronto Real Estate Board and a director at the Ontario Real estate Association . The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB, OREA or Bosley RE