14: Career Growth
Once a week, take about 90 minutes away from your business, away from everything, and just think about your business and your life. We call it a clarity break.
About This Episode
Careers can stall at any point. Whether you're just starting out in the world of real estate, or if you have decades under your belt, it's perfectly normal to not know which step you should take. This episode offers advice from industry experts that could very well steer your career in a bold new direction and accelerate your career growth.
From embracing the internet's full advertising potential to perfecting your daily routine, these tips and tricks will pull your real estate career out of its slump and into an exciting new growth phase.
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JON: The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials estimates that there are about 2 million active real estate licensees in the United States. Depending on how you think of it, that number can seem pretty overwhelming. That’s potentially a lot of competition, and on bad days it can feel like all 2 million of those licensees are in your local real estate market, snatching away clients and complicating the deals you have rolling.
JON: Whether you’ve just embarked on your new real estate career or you’ve been in the business for decades, there comes a point for every professional when it can feel like your career progression has stalled. In many industries, career growth consists of a new job title, a pay raise, or maybe a restructuring of leadership. But real estate doesn’t always work like that. In this industry you get out what you put in, but what happens when you’re not sure where to put in the extra effort? Or, worse, if that extra effort isn’t resulting in extra clients?
JON: Hello and welcome to Shop Talk: The Real Estate Show. I’m Jon Forisha and on this episode we examine some tried and true methods of growing your real estate career.
JON: If you’re just starting out, remember that real estate is a wildly different beast than any industry you were previously involved with. Yes you’re your own boss, but that also means you have to keep yourself motivated and you only have yourself to blame when things go pear-shaped. Building a profitable business will take more than just reaching out to your sphere of influence and tactfully sprinkling business cards everywhere you go.
JON: Jill Malloy is the National Real Estate Expert at The CE Shop, where her team creates online courses to educate the next wave of real estate agents. Before she joined the education side of the business, Jill worked for many years as an agent. Here’s Jill:
JILL: Keep in touch with your client and customers on a regular basis. The second thing that I say is the central is a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Not everything you're going to do in building a business will be comfortable for you. Think of someone who's just moved from the east coast to the west coast and they don't have a large sphere of influence yet. And part of what they need to do is begin to reach out and develop a sphere of influence. And that can be challenging for some folks. So the willingness to do what is uncomfortable but the right thing to do. When you're in business for yourself, it's about doing the right thing. You can spend a lot of time making color coded wonderful maps. You can spend a lot of time dwelling around in multiple listing systems and looking at property. But if you don't develop relationships, you've got no one to help with all of your knowledge.
JON: A real estate agent is nothing without a steady stream of leads. Instead of spending money buying leads from Zillow or a similar service, you should perfect the process of generating your own. This is a “teach a man to fish” kind of situation, because even if you can make the Zillow-purchased leads work for you, they will eventually dry up. The less dependent you are when generating new business, the more likely it is that you’ll have lasting power.
JON: Being an agent requires you to wear a lot of hats, and in this case you’ll have to put your salesman hat on, and you’ll have to really mean it. The word “salesman” can conjure images of sleazy guys in ill-fitting suits pushing used cars on you - so don’t be that. Be genuine and confident, but most importantly, present yourself as the helping hand in real estate. It’s a numbers game, and even if one person doesn’t need your services today, they might mention you to a friend, or they might call you up years down the road just as they’re getting ready to buy a billion dollar house that could set you up with a big enough commission check to get your kids through college.
JON: Whenever you’re prospecting, don’t be afraid to try new things. Your success at generating leads will depend to some extent on your marketing skills, and while phone calls and billboards will likely always be a part of the real estate life, there are cheaper methods of reaching mass audiences nowadays. Digital advertising on Google and Facebook are cheaper and simpler than you may realize, and both platforms include a dizzying amount of micro-targeting features. Want to only show your ads to young professionals near you who don’t yet own a house? Easy.
JON: The National Association of REALTORS’ 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers stated that 51% of buyers purchased a home they first found online, and unsurprisingly that stat has been rising each year. You need to be where your clients are, so it may be time to brush off your laptop and learn how to livestream.
JON: Joe Sinnona is a veteran agent in Long Island with 30 years under his belt. He’s also a public speaker who attends speaking events all over the country. When asked how he trains new agents, he had this to say:
JOE: They have to also have a vision for themselves, a professional development, and that is going and getting designations, a professional designation. Professional Development is not just CE credit having a designation that gives you ultimately that CE credit, you know, in the way of what is your specialty, what is your niche? You know, are you a seller's agent? Are you a buyer's agent? Are you a person who sells second home resorts? Are you someone who is going to teach, who could be out in the field and dealing with a lot of diversity. And there's a designation for that. There's a designation for working with seniors - there's a whole array of it. And that's why I said this, there's a whole menu ready for that new agent to attack. And the first designation they should really go for is the designation that I only took in the last two years called GRI, graduate realtor institute. And that will give them a basis of what this business is about.
JON: Consider specializing your business in a particular market or cater to a specific subgroup. You might think that casting the widest net possible would be great for business growth, but by targeting everyone ever, you actually make it much harder to stand out from the competition.
JON: In the mid-1990s, Subaru was a struggling car company. Fresh takes on advertising had failed to grow business, and they were getting clobbered by the bigger names of Ford and Toyota. Market research showed that lesbian couples were four times more likely to buy a Subaru than the average consumer, and executives chose to take a bold new approach - especially in 1996 - and embrace their new market with ads specifically targeting lesbian couples. The gamble paid off, and today Subaru is an entirely different company for it.
JON: It’s possible that your local market has untapped clients, if only an agent can identify and fill that need. Maybe your local market has a bevy of out of town buyers looking specifically for vacation homes, or maybe you speak a foreign language and could provide excellent service to immigrants who are otherwise unfairly ignored.
JON: So far I’ve talked about what to do if you’re just starting out, but it could be that that’s not where you’re at. You could be well on your way toward real estate stardom, you’ve got the machine of your business humming along, but you’re finding that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. If only you could clone yourself! Well, maybe you need an assistant.
JON: Once you hit the point where the challenge is no longer what to spend your time on, but how to create more time, then an assistant makes a lot of sense. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that our days are 24 hours long and most of us need to sleep for around 8 of those hours. After subtracting time for family and various sanity checks, there are only so many precious hours left for you to focus on building your business. Even a part-time assistant could handle the more clerical parts of your job so you can focus on wearing that salesman hat and hitting the streets in search of new leads.
JON: My last point is perhaps the biggest: make a daily schedule and stick to it. For many people who leave behind the office life and become self-employed, working from home sounds like a dream come true. The truth of it is that very few people have the self-discipline to continue to treat their self-employment like a job - even if their new office is just a few feet from their bed. A daily schedule will introduce some much-needed routine into your real estate life, and filling the schedule with good habits can be a great way to funnel new leads to your business.
JON: Lars Hedenborg is the founder of Real Estate B-School, where he coaches agents on how to scale their businesses more intelligently. His team is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Lars only works one day a week. Here’s Lars:
LARS: If your career growth has stagnated, I would look at your daily routine. A lot of times I see if you're not getting to your next level, whatever that is for you, you know, it could be going from 5 transactions to 10 transactions. I promise you it's in your daily routine. So just look at the daily routine, make sure you're tracking your activities. And then I would add one more thing. Once a week, take about 90 minutes away from your business, away from everything, including technology, and just to think about your business and your life. And if it's on track. We call it a clarity break. That's the advice I would give to someone that has stagnated. Get out of like, what's off? You know, are you disconnected with the why? Like did you forget that? You know, two small kids are depending on you to do this every day and you need to reconnect to that. Or you know, usually it's reconnecting to a daily schedule, which is super boring, not very sexy, or reconnecting to a why. Like why do you want to do this? You know, working for yourself is not easy. So you're your own boss, which is the worst boss because you can easily give yourself a pass on doing the things you need to do.
JON: As a real estate professional, you’re in charge of your fate. While that means the sky’s the limit, it also means complacency can settle in and decimate any career growth you’ve managed. If you’re feeling stagnant in your growth, try out one of these tips and let us know how it goes. Real estate’s an industry always willing to reward those who dare to think outside of the box, so what are you waiting for?
JON: That’s it for this episode of Shop Talk, thanks for listening! You can subscribe to us on any major podcast player so that new episodes are magically downloaded as soon as they’re posted. If you loved this or any of our other episodes, please do leave us a review! Join us next time for a talk with Lars Hedenborg, founder of Real Estate B-School and host of the Business Freedom Podcast.
JON: Shop Talk is a production of The CE Shop.