This post goes out to all of the new agents out there. If that’s not you, I encourage you to read it anyway and remember back to your rookie days. Then, share it with someone in your office or company or marketplace who might benefit from the information.
Your first 60 days in the real estate business are extremely important to your future success. Beginning to understand the complexities of real estate, absorbing training, seeking practical experience, making financial adjustments, investing in yourself, getting to know your fellow associates, the office routines, the psychology of listing and selling, learning your market and trying to understand financing, handling successes and little setbacks are just some of the adjustments you will need to make and meet, over the next 60 days.
It certainly is…but the challenge is so exciting!
Things To Do?
Below is a list of items that need to be addressed during this period of time. Becoming organized and scheduling your activities will help keep you on track and insure success in a short period of time. Prioritize these items.
Your “TO DO LIST”
- Establish a routine that you are in the office every day for a specified period of time, prepared to prospect (also known as “business development”)
- As soon as possible, make an appointment with your Manager and Office Administrator to complete the necessary paperwork, forms and applications required by your company. Completing the paperwork sets all the wheels in motion to begin promoting your career and to become familiar with your office.
- Get your photo taken immediately by a professional photographer. In addition to your business cards, there are many other reasons you will need your photo – marketing pieces, web pages, social networks and blog sites, etc. It may be your first impression for many consumers so make sure it looks good. (P.S. – you’re not that busy yet. You don’t need to be holding your phone in your head shot.)
- Attend an Orientation session with your local Board of Realtors. This class will introduce you to the board, Multiple Listing Service, listing forms, services, etc.
- Prepare your briefcase or portable office. Have some home buyer packets and home owner packets with you at all times. You may wish to have some extra Consumer Guide to Agency Relationship Brochures and Buyer agreements. Even though most smart phones or iPads have a notes function, it’s wise to always have a note pad, sample forms, highlighters, pens, etc.
- Take some time to familiarize yourself with your company’s packets for Buyers and Sellers. The material included in them is very well-organized, but you will need to learn what the materials mean so that you may explain the forms to buyers and sellers.
- Find out if your company will create an account for you on a digital signature platform like DotLoop, Cartavi, Docusign or ZipForms. You will need to learn these tools as quickly as possible to be both effective and efficient in your new career.
- Prepare your car for business. Keep it clean and in good repair. Handy items to have available are flashlights, tissues, note pads, mileage/expense book, etc. Consider a GPS if your phone is not equipped with a mapping app. Remember, you will be spending a lot of time in your car.
- Practice using the MLS system. Sign up for classes at your local board to enhance your knowledge and become proficient with the MLS and various online tools it provides. Learn about the new computer hardware, palm devices, laptops etc, that can interface with the MLS outside the office. Also, be sure to contact your insurance provider and change your policy to accommodate any clients you may have in your vehicle for business purposes.
- Find the builders and models in your market areas. Become familiar with the different builders and introduce yourself to them. They will be happy to help you and to explain the benefits of their products. Begin collecting floor plans and model location maps. Explore areas outside your market. Developing good relationships with these builders will enhance your sales ability and knowledge. Even if you plan to focus mostly on resale property, having some connections on the “new build” side will help you.
- Get an appointment book or calendar application and start using it. You might try to plan a week in advance, knowing that alterations in schedules can always be made. Block out time each week for office and area meetings, special events, ongoing education, prospecting, planning sessions with your managers and open houses (at least 2 per month). It’s also important to include personal time. Remember…many of us got in to a career in real estate so we could spend more time doing what we enjoy. I like to remind agents of something I believe in and think is one of the secrets to success in this business:
“Live your life and let real estate happen in the cracks.”
- Determine what support tools work for you. Smart phones, mortgage calculators, a tablet, laptop or desktop computer are just some of the choices of tools that can help you be efficient in your business. Most mobile phones are “smart” these days and can do almost all of these activities with just one device. Set up a contact management system to keep track of your prospects. What’s the best CRM to use, you ask? The one you will use. Research, select, enter names and use. It’s that simple.
- Become familiar with your office’s and your area’s inventory of available homes. Attend all office and area tours. Schedule previews prior to showing Buyers. Inventory knowledge will give you strength and credibility in dealing with prospects and clients. Stay current on what is available, what has gone into contract, and what has sold. Run a daily MLS update. Your confidence level will increase and you will be more prepared to answer telephone calls or inquiries from the public.
- Write your own personal profile and enter the information on your company website. If you’re not sure what to write about because your new, follow this idea – Search for an agent in two or three random cities where you’d like to visit. Pick Dallas, Miami, Atlanta or Seattle for example, and find an agent you’d like to work with. Then ask yourself why you chose them? Was it because they were a fellow Mom or maybe they went to the same college as you? Perhaps they are a fellow runner or they collect stamps? Remember, people want to do business with people like them so don’t try to create a profile of what you want to be, write about who you are.
- Establish or sharpen your social media strategy. You don’t need to build a Facebook Business Page if you haven’t even updated your personal page. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube would be great places to start.
- Explore your company website and intranet/virtual office. Make sure you know what the public can do or see. It will make you that much more empathetic to their questions.
- Begin to develop your listing presentation and marketing plan. Practice them daily until the words become your own.
- Develop your prospecting plan. It is something that must be done on a daily basis for the rest of your career. There are many methods out there, but they all involve seeing people and talking to people. Write personal notes daily. Get involved in your community. Network with people as much as possible. Create a business and prospecting plan and share it as soon as you can with your Manager. Then….stick to it!
- Define your goals and equate them to your business plan. A defined “road map” will help you focus on what it is you need to do to realize your vision. Written, specific goals that are reduced to daily activities will give you direction for the future. Plan to invest some money in personal marketing.
- Explore cost-effective ways to be visible in your community. Become a member of the board of a non-profit organization or volunteer for a community program. Ask for a press release about your community involvement.
- Send at least 3 marketing pieces containing information of value to your sphere of influence. This can be a newsletter, area market update, local events calendar, etc.
- Practice everything-your presentations, open house and telephone dialogues, and forms. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will find a great deal of support from the sales associates in your office. Your Manager is there to help you with every step of the way.
- Arrange to attend any post-licensing courses that may be required by your state’s Division of Real Estate. It is usually easier to attend these classes before you get busy. You may also consider waiting until the next “slow season” in your market as you may have more experience to contribute during the session.
Advance Your Knowledge
You will never stop learning in this business. There are many books, webinars or podcasts to increase your knowledge. Make a commitment to listen to one podcast or view a video on YouTube each week. Also take advantage of any seminars or webinars that are offered. Add to your personal library. Here are a few book suggestions:
- QBQ! The Question Behind the Question – John Miller
- The Present – Spencer Johnson
- Unmarketing – Scott Stratten
- The Referral Engine – John Jantsch
- Linchpin – Seth Godin
- Tribes – Seth Godin
- Purple Cow – Seth Godin
- The Fred Factor – Mark Sanborn
- The Difference Maker –John A. Maxwell
- Setting the Table – Danny Meyer
- A Whole New Mind – Daniel Pink
- To Sell is Human – Daniel Pink
- First Break All the Rules – Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman
- Now, Discover Your Strengths – Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton
- The Energy Bus – Jon Gordon
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
- The Traveler’s Gift – Andy Andrews
- The 7 Levels of Comminication – Michael Maher
- Survive Your Serengeti – Stefan Swanepoel
- Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh
- The Richest Man in Babylon– George Clason
- The Complete Calvin & Hobbes – Bill Watterson
Now get out there and kick some ass. Every day someone will buy and every day someone will need to sell. What are you waiting for? Why can’t it be with you?
When in Doubt, Do 3 Things Well
I’ve had a pretty simple philosophy about how to succeed in this business. If you focus on these three things…just six little words, you’ll be okay.
Build relationships, solve problems and have fun.
Good luck! Please keep me posted on your success.
Photo Credit: Stevendepolo via Creative Commons
Photo Credit: LeoAlmighty via Creative Commons