by Danny Grimes
Starting out in real estate is a lot like a new romance. The success or failure of the relationship comes down to a variety of factors, and the outcome can be wedded bliss or divorce court.
Imagine your career as a budding romance. The period when you are taking your courses -- or nearly finished them -- is the “courtship phase”. Several brokers express an interest in you. You have something that attracts them: a fresh licence and a high level of energy and enthusiasm. During this phase, you are “playing the field” like someone on the dating circuit. You liaise at get-togethers and lunches with various brokers aiming to woo you to their brokerage.
Take this courtship seriously. You are interviewing the brokerage, not the other way around. You have what they want, but it’s your responsibility to make sure they have what you want. Like a first date trying to make a good impression, brokers will try to highlight that brokerage’s best features and downplay the flaws. Your role is to gather information so you can assess these prospects clearly.
Once you are a newly-minted graduate, you move on to the next stage of the romance. You select a particular brokerage where you plan to launch your career. I see this as the “engagement phase.” You have examined the many suitors who pursued you, and you have made a choice. The brokerage you have selected is like your betrothed: the two of you have great plans for the future together.
The highlight is of course the “wedding day.” When you officially sign on to a given brokerage and start your real estate career, you are as full of hope and optimism as any newlywed. But will this career stand the test of time? Will it grow old with you, or will it wither and die with nothing left to show for it but empty vows and a shrivelled corsage?
"Before committing, ask for details about the training in that brokerage. Ask to meet the person who delivers or implements the training."
In my view, one of the obstacles to success in real estate is the fact that most people do not use the time between the engagement and “the big day” to prepare properly. In my 30 years of real estate, I have seen hundreds of people fail to thrive in this field. I believe that their lack of preparation during this phase must shoulder much of the blame for the “divorce” later on.
Many brokerages claim to have the best training. Before committing, ask for details about the training in that brokerage. Ask to meet the person who delivers or implements the training. Ask to see the training calendar. Find out about mentorship programs there. Make some calls and talk to different Realtors at the brokerages you are considering. Attend a sales meeting or training session as an observer.
All of the above steps are absolutely crucial. Although I have seen many fail, I could fill a book with those who have succeeded. I’ve seen new people who, with guidance and preparation, went on to great results, even in 30 days. The people who succeeded were committed and well prepared. They rolled up their sleeves and worked hard to make their “marriage” work.
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Once you have decided on the broker and brokerage that are right for you, there is much work to do. You have selected your “mate”, and the hard work is just beginning. Ask to attend any training that is offered. You are not required to wait until your start date. Use this time in advance to take advantage of the resources available to you. Decide on and order business cards so they are printed and ready before you start. Prepare your contact list and gather information about your sphere of influence. Ask about being assigned a mentor whom you can watch and follow to learn more.
In your first week on the job, you should be able to answer these two questions from sellers and buyers respectively: “Why should your sign be the one I choose for my front lawn?” and “Why should you represent me in the purchase of my home?” If you can’t rattle off an answer with confidence, ask for help until you can.
In your early days, ask questions of experienced Realtors. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You should be driving your manager crazy by continuously wanting to learn more. Go to bed every night with a plan for the next day and follow that plan. Discipline is vital because it is easy to lose focus and get caught up in the wrong activities: they can swallow up several hours a day and leave you with nothing to show for them.
It can also be useful to take advantage of any free seminars or business training, even if it is not related directly to real estate. Most cities have business development services offered for free. Topics include social media, accounting, marketing, and legal information. Soak it all in, since no learning is wasted.
Although real estate is a competitive industry, it offers a great deal of potential for success. Proper planning and the right mindset are necessary ingredients to succeed. If you have done your research and received solid guidance from your brokerage, you can find yourself in a marriage made in heaven.
Danny Grimes (pictured at right) is an Ottawa REALTOR®.
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