More than anything I guess this is just my therapy - a way to get all of this off my chest.
When I started real estate in 2001 I had no idea really what I should or should not do, what would make me money and what would not... Since I didn't know, I thought the very best way for me to learn how was to take classes that were offered, watch what other agents were doing and just be in the office so that other Realtors and possible clients would know I was serious about working. After 9 years of working hard I firmly believe that I have a successful business and am now managing the office where I first began my real estate career. A few of the tasks I have taken on is recruiting agents and providing training and support to the ones we have. I'm not sure if right now there is just a different "breed" of agent getting in the business or what - but it seems that no one thinks they have to work hard to make money. They are what I call fly-by-night agents. They get into the business, think they are going to immediately strike it rich, they come to very few meetings, make no attempt to find ways to get business, never come in for phone time but then come to me whining about how they can not figure out why they are not making any money!! Really??? What on earth makes them think it's going to just fall into their lap as they are sitting in their living room watching soap operas or spending their day exercising, shopping and going to the spa? This is a REAL job people!! If you want to be successful I can tell you exactly how to do so, but does anyone really listen - not this new breed!
When you have no business - you have to make business. A few ways to do so are:
Find A Mentor - Your broker, the office manager, a top producer in the office -- just anyone that you know is doing well in our business. No need to reinvent the wheel. Ask them what they do, see if you can help them out in exchange for some advice or pointers. Most likely what you'll find is that if you are present, the business will start to run downhill to you! When that top producer gets a buyer that they just can't take care of (and yes, it probably will not be a million dollar buyer - but we all have to start somewhere) - because you are there - you will most likely be the agent that they turn to for help with the "extras".
Come In Consistantly For Your Phone Time - all offices don't do phone time, but our office does. We are located in a very high traffic, resort community - so we occassionally do get walk-in's and we get quite a few property calls. Don't volunteer for time and then never show up - the other agents, your broker and the office manager are going to think you're a flake (which you are if you can't even show up for a few hours a week) and in turn they are going to pass you over for buyer and seller leads. I think phone time is a great way for the public to see that you are working and for your office-mates to see that you are serious about being in the business. My broker contacts me regarding which agents leads should be given to -- who do you think I give those to? The agent that never comes in, doesn't attend meetings, and flakes off her phone duty? Heck, no! I give it to the agents that I know are committed to making our company better and the agent that I know will take great care of this lead.
Make Happy Customers - this is a "duh!!"... but sometimes you need to check your sensitive feelings at the door and remember that this is all about our clients and that these purchases are easily the biggest investments they will ever make -- treat it that way! Be professional, return calls and emails, dress like a professional - not a beach bum and make sure their best interests are always your top priority.
When You Make A Sale, Let Your Community Know About It! -- I don't do alot of print advertising because I don't think it's cost effective.. However, when I sell a house - I'm always going to send the neighbors a postcard to let them know. What if they are thinking about selling -- you will get business by letting the neighbors know of your accomplishments!
Start blogging and get your website out there!!!! I can't say this enough.. Active Rain, my blog and my website have done tremendous things for my business. It can all get a bit expensive, but the ROI is great -- so don't waste another day being on the fence about those three things. Yes, it takes time - but remember - this is your business! Even if you can't invest money at first - you DO have the time...so use it wisely.
Keep Your Professional Image In Mind At All Times - Don't go out to the bar and make a fool out of yourself in the town that you sell real estate in - you can have a good time, just remember - there is always a prospective client out there!
Overall - the best advice I can give a new agent, just starting out is: BE PRESENT! Treat this like you would a "real job"... this is so much more than a real job - this is your business..
Would love to hear comments from other agents about what they think the essentials to a successful real estate business are!! Bring 'em on!!
As always, if you are looking for a home in the Lake Texoma area - check out my website www.HomesByLainie.com or call me direct on my cell phone 903-624-0688. If you are looking for a home in other parts of Grayson County you can visit www.GraysonCountyRealty.com.