As the market shifted, some agents adapted to the change quickly, some were slow to change, and some never will change and will find themselves out of business soon unless their mindset shifts. As we all know, the market will change again and those who have built a business upon sound fundamentals will excel above and beyond others in the market place. Areas to build a solid foundation upon are communication, teamwork, a broad client base, continuous learning and your technical skills.
Communication on all levels is a key area to focus on for your business growth. It is important to speak the language of your buyers and sellers. Do they want to communicate through email, text messages, IM, phone calls or face to face? As technology advances and new communication tools develop, you need to adapt and embrace them to succeed. You need to learn to tweet, as well as utilize YouTube, Facebook, Linkedin, ping.fm and other new emerging communication websites. If you don’t – you may miss opportunities. You also need to find out how often they want to have communications with you. If some want daily contact and you can’t provide it – let them know up front. Setting this expectation up front will reduce stress on all parties. Keep an open dialogue and you will keep you clients and build a business for life.
When referring to teamwork, it is important to remember it is not just your “real estate” team members. You need to be cooperative with other agents, coworkers and vendors to help build your business for life. The negotiating game can become contentious at times, other party can be slow to grasp concepts or don’t listen to what you are saying or perhaps it may be their first transaction or they just may be a premadona. Whatever the situation may be, have patience with them, take the high road and temper your temper. Return phone calls, emails and other communications promptly – even if you don’t have an answer. The longer the timeframe between contacts builds frustration and escalates the situation. Respect the other party and take the time to contact them. When treating others with a condescending attitude, snappy answers or rude responses, people don’t forget and often times spread the word. Your listings will be overlooked and business – in the long run – will suffer. This carries over with coworkers and vendors as well. Build relationships with everyone you encounter don’t destroy them. You never know where your next deal may come from or if you are going to need the help of someone in the future. As discussed in the past – treat others how you want to be treated – not necessarily how they are treating you. Your attitude will take you far in this area. Build a network of team mates in all areas of your business to ensure your success.
A broad client base is a necessity when building a business for life. You must always be on your game as people love to talk about real estate. Business is done on the golf course, at the super market, on ball fields and at schools among many other venues – be ready and so you can build your business. You must also reach out and attend networking events, join associations, and develop a business to business referral base on top of your sphere of influence. Contact them consistently with a positive attitude, a sincere, genuine smile and great information and the business will follow.
Also, let’s not forget about learning. You need to keep up the changes in contracts, regulations set forth by the government, mortgage updates, adjustments in the market, the numbers and you need to develop your skill set for success. Read, attend trainings, speak with industry leaders, go to sales seminars, get a designation – it is that easy – but, you have to do it. The more you learn, the more you earn. As you all know, I am a firm believer in education – take the time to educate yourself so you can educate your clients and they will respond by giving you referrals.
Last but not least, you need to know the processes to show your competence. Know what each step everyone must accomplish in order for the transaction to occur seamlessly. Know what the lender does, the settlement company’s role is, what you must do and so on. The more knowledge you have, the more it shows and the more referrals you will receive. In addition, improve your presentation skills – be able to recite your sales contracts, addendums and listing agreements in layman’s terms with ease to exemplify your knowledge of them. Rehearse them, teach them and make it second nature to explain them and your business for life will prosper.
A business for life doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time, diligent effort and continuous improvement as well as adaptation to changes in the market. Get it? Got it? Good!