By MICHAEL EDLEN | Special to the Palisadian-Post
The easiest part of being in real estate is getting the license. The ease of entry results in far more agents than the level of sales can sustain, which results in a high level of attrition during most time periods.
The following suggestions are based on 30 years of experience and observation of which agents succeed and which do not. They are offered to assist those who are willing to make the necessary commitments and be accountable for daily actions that are generally required for success.
1. Have a realistic outlook and be financially able to go for six to 12 months without any income from real estate. Some find ways to keep their current job longer, while getting prepared for full time work in real estate. The median average number of sales per Westside agent is only one per year.
2. Keep in mind that this is a business, and all successful businesses have a basic plan or roadmap with budgets for marketing, etc.
3. High self-motivation, strong commitment, resilience, good communication skills and the ability to learn quickly are all characteristics of agents who have a high likelihood of success.
4. People come first in this business, always. Real estate is a service industry. Success requires good listening skills, a solid work ethic and an understanding of what it means to be a fiduciary. Figure out how to provide service to people, get involved in community programs and groups, etc.
5. One of the best ways to get on—and stay on—a right track is to find a successful and trustworthy agent or broker to serve as a mentor. Alternatively, many have preferred to engage a coach to help guide and hold them accountable for the daily activities necessary to success.
6. Learn as much as possible as soon as it is feasible. Embrace education, be open to learning from each experience. There are almost limitless ways to grow in this profession, including many books, training programs, webinars, coaches, etc. Be willing to invest in yourself on a continuous basis, right from the start.
7. Learn the inventory in the area you would like to specialize in. Become qualified to back up the claim to be an expert in the niche you decide to select. This will require seeing as many of the listings as you can, making careful note of features and differences, and doing property evaluations as exercises to develop the analytic skills needed. If you are fortunate to be going to interview a prospective new client, be willing to invest hours if need be in order to know many of the homes that are on the market or have been sold recently.
8. Start building a “book of business” in the first month for prospective new clients. Find a good contact management system and use it right from the start to keep track of potential prospects, your sphere of influence, a variety of resources and vendors, etc. Be sure to let everyone you know that you are now in the real estate field and would appreciate any opportunities for service, including just providing information pertaining to homes, properties, etc.
9. Make the effort to socialize and network even while still getting a license, so people can become aware of you as a resource for information or assistance. Social media marketing can provide a gradually growing digital footprint that begins to bear fruit down the road.
10. Practice professionalism. Do what you say you will, respond in a timely manner, respect your peers, address problems head-on and when they arise, correct issues immediately. Always treat people fairly and with honesty.
Of course, there are many other practical actions and systems that will be important for consistent accomplishment in this field. However, if a new agent is willing and able to put into practice the above suggestions, and if they are patient and persistent for at least a year, they will have a far better chance of eventual success.
Michael Edlen has been ranked in the top 10 of more than 70,000 Coldwell Banker agents and in the top 100 agents in the country. He has sold $1.5 billion of real estate, participated in various training and mentoring programs, and has been regularly writing about residential real estate since 1990. He may be reached at 310-230-7373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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