When I went through the licensing courses over a decade ago, the main theme was teaching you how not to get sued. There wasn’t much about actually building a successful business. I was lucky to have great mentors who helped me on the right path.
Knowing what I know now, my first 30 days in the business would have been very different. If you ask almost any agent who’s been in the industry for an extended period of time, they’ll all say the same thing.
So I thought, let’s ask them, what would you do in the first 30 days of being licensed? I posed the question in our Facebook group.
Learn the market
To me, the most important thing a new agent can do is get out and learn the market. Just having lived in a town is not enough. A lot of your potential clients have lived there their whole lives. You need to be better and have the specific knowledge a Realtor does.
Barbara Brindle – one of the best trainers in the industry – has advice for all new agents, “Get out and learn the market. You can’t learn the market sitting on a computer. Go inspect houses. Estimate the sale price. Go back and check after 30 days. This builds confidence…which all new people need.”
Jamie Kinch, an agent in Toronto, says, “Take 90 hours and spend it learning the market. Like really starting to learn it… you’ll need hundreds of hours to truly get up to speed, but it’s a start.”
On a personal note, this is where I admittedly dropped the ball as a new agent. I had lived in the town my whole life; I knew it well but not in the way a professional realtor does. I focused more on how to get clients and building my website and social presence. I didn’t spend nearly enough time, in the beginning, getting to know the market. I did a good job at creating conversations but fell short of showing I was the expert.
One way I fixed that shortcoming was by offering to write a monthly local real estate market update for the town newspaper. This forced me to know the market and know it well.
“My very first broker of record, Gudrun Lundie, allowed me to ‘shadow”‘ her. Every day, I sat in her office and listened to her interact with potential and current clients and other (realtors). I went to each of her appointments with her whether that was listing presentations, showings or offer presentations,” said Ray Ferris, broker/owner, Erie’s Edge Real Estate in Long Point, Ont.
Shadowing is one of those invaluable things. It’s hard to overstate how important it is. Getting out and actually seeing how a true professional runs their business and observing the nuance in their day-to-day.
You’d be surprised how many top-producing agents will let you shadow them. I was personally the type who didn’t want to ask, so I took a different approach. Being the young guy in the office, I basically became tech support in exchange for learning from the experienced agents.
Jennifer Evelyn, an office manager in Durham Region, Ont., says, “Shadow others, listen to calls— both outgoing and incoming and know what to say. Scripts and role play constantly.”
At an event in Mississauga, Ont. recently, real estate coach Jared James said, “Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.”
Practice until you can’t get it wrong
You need to consistently practice what to say in different situations. As a new agent, you’re going to start experiencing a lot of scenarios you haven’t before; knowing how to deal with them is important.
In my professional speaking career, for example, I did a boot camp with renowned real estate speaker Jeff Lobb who spent a full section of the boot camp having us practice when things go wrong while on stage.
He covered scenarios like slides not working, the mic cutting out, unruly audience members and a few other unexpected surprises. This practice has saved me more than once and, one time even led to the highest-rated speaking session I’ve done.
I wish I had practiced scenarios like that when I was earlier in my sales career.
“I spent my first 30 days setting up my online presence and networking as much as possible. Networking consisted of reaching out to my sphere of influence to make sure everyone knew I was a realtor. Then I had lunch with mortgage brokers to make some great connections for reciprocal business,” says Wendy McAdoo.
Richard Frankel has a similar thought, writing, “Build a sphere of influence database. Go through your phone and add everyone you know. Their names, phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses., Ask them if you can update them quarterly on the value of their property. Then send out your first monthly newsletter, letting everyone know that you’re a realtor now. Do the same on social media.”
“Get out there and meet people doing something you love. You’re not selling, you’re not ‘networking’ in the traditional dry-heave-inducing sense (I despise the fake ‘hey, look at me!’ puffery style networking), you’re just meeting people and being yourself,” says Fred Decarolis.
Get to know people and have meaningful conversations. This includes agents in your office. My first couple of deals actually came from referrals from people in my office. Top producers that I was technically competing against. They had extra leads, and I asked for any they didn’t want to work with and split the commission with them. Early on, I was more than willing to give up half the commission than have none at all.
Engage on social media
This goes for social media as well. Every day you should practice the 5-5-5 rule. Each day you go on social and like five posts, leave five significant comments, and DM/story reply to five people. I say significant comments because a fire emoji doesn’t count. It needs to be something thoughtful and preferably with a question attached to it.
As Phil Jones, one of the top sales trainers in the world, says, “Questions create conversations, conversations create relationships, relationships create opportunities, and opportunities create sales.”
Real estate can be a simple business to succeed in, but it’s hard work. The odd agent may stumble into some “lucky deals” early on and snowball them into a decent business, but those are the oddities.
Done is better than perfect
For most, it takes consistent hard work. You’d be surprised at how many successful people now needed four to 10 months to get their first sale.
Don’t get caught up in making every social media post, every email, and every brochure absolutely perfect. When you’re starting out especially, done is better than perfect. It’s about making forward progress and getting some deals in. You can come back later to perfect them. Focus on forward progress, and don’t get bogged down with paralysis by analysis.
Your marketing will improve and get more defined. In the beginning, you need to focus on the tasks that are going to get momentum going. A shiny new logo isn’t going to bring you business right now. That’s something you can focus on later.
Consider joining a team
One last point – don’t discount the value of joining a team. They can fast-track you toward your first few deals, and you get a truly inside look at how new realtors should conduct themselves. Even if your goal is to eventually work on your own or build your own team, joining one in the first couple of years can push your career further ahead.
For those who’ve been in the business for years, leave a comment about what you think agents should do in their first 30 days!
Andrew Fogliato – The G is silent – is the Founder & CEO of Just Sell Homes, a digital marketing agency for the real estate industry, and the Publisher of REM.
He’s been a Realtor, trainer, speaker, consultant, marketer, and more in the Canadian real estate industry for more than a decade.
I really appreciate your effort in providing such comprehensive and useful information. Your knowledge and expertise are truly impressive.
It is crucial to build your network and establish relationships with potential clients, colleagues, and other industry professionals. But can you please share some information on getting a license for real estate agents?