Important tips for agents – both new and old

It is often asked within the real estate industry: what differentiates a great real estate agent from their good or not-so-good counterparts?  The answer to this question is far from uniform, with analysts across the board weighing in with different opinions regarding what gives an agent that special “it” factor.


And for young agents, particularly those starting fresh out in the field, the question can be even more disconcerting; most new agents are concentrating on simply finding their feet within the profession and could benefit greatly from some basic career advice and guidance. To this end, we have decided to share the following article by CENTURY 21’S Chairman and Owner, Charles Tarbey, which originally appeared in the September edition of the REINSW Real Estate Journal.


Lessons learnt are best shared


What wisdom have you acquired over your career that you wish could be passed on to your younger self?


When you’ve been working in this industry for as long as I have, you’re bound to pick up a few bits and pieces of wisdom along the way. Here are a few of the most important lessons I wish I could go back and teach a teenage Charles Tarbey at the start of his career in 1972.


Be patient and be focused


The first and most important thing I’d advise an agent who is just starting out is to be patient and to focus on working with the best in the real estate industry. It’s easy to just concentrate on making money as quickly as possible (a view I held when I was young), but achieving and sustaining success is more complicated than that.


What you learn in your first years working in real estate is so important. Choosing the people you work for and the people you work alongside should be a key focus for you because, for better or worse, the experiences you have with these people can set you up for the rest of your career.


The real estate industry has lost many quality people who could have contributed a great deal to buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants if they had started in the right company with excellent training platforms and the knowledge of industry experts. A lot of good people left the industry because of the first place they worked. Don’t let yourself become one of them; find the right place and the right people for you.


Having said that, you can actually learn a great deal from ‘bad’ operators by learning what not to do. This can be more of a risk, but if you stay focused and be patient, in time you will find the ideal agency for you. This should be one that will provide you with the training, guidance, leadership and mentoring you need, with access to people who have achieved a certain level of success.


Getting it write


One of the most important things that too many agents take too long to learn is to write down everything that could potentially impact on their work. This is especially important when it comes to promises you make to clients.


New agents should always carry a notepad and pen, or make notes electronically on the spot, to ensure they always have accurate records of what’s been said and agreed upon in any discussion. As we say at Century 21: “If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.”


Keep your promises


What I’ve found in real estate is that the jovial, happy agent who always wants to help often only completes half of the service process. They are only to be taken at face value as they have a tendency to not write down reminders that help them to follow through. It’s so important to be able to deliver on what you say you’re going to do.


As I’ve said in my books on real estate, character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the mood in which it was made has left you. Not only is it critically important to follow up on and deliver on your word, it’s also important to keep promises you make to yourself. Simply put, if you say you’re going to do something, make sure you do.


Keeping in touch


Another big issue for real estate agents, especially those just starting out, is that they promise to keep in touch with vendors, yet after the first week of listing will stop calling if they don’t have any success. By the third week of listing, there are probably only about four per cent of agents who are still communicating with their sellers. The other 96 per cent of agents are likely to be found sitting around hoping that the property will either miraculously sell or the seller will just go away. The principle of staying in touch with the customer and keeping them informed applies as much to experienced agents as it does to someone who is just starting out.


Reputations can be completely destroyed if agents don’t follow through with what they say they are going to do. This is particularly a problem when you’re starting out because building a good reputation is so important in the early years of your career.


Form good habits


When I think back over my career in the industry, one of the key habits I adopted during my early twenties was to transfer everything that I had not completed onto the next day’s task list.


I can’t say I’ve done it 100 per cent of the time, but more often than not before I went to bed I would have my diary and tasks in order for the next day. When I got in my car in the morning I knew exactly what it was I wanted to achieve and what tasks I wanted to complete that day. I wouldn’t let my activities be completely dictated by day-to-day occurrences such as phone calls or visitors to the agency.


Since 1978, writing down everything I have to do for the next day has probably been the most powerful habit I have formed. It has helped to ensure that I have kept my promises and remained in regular contact with customers, potential customers and other stakeholders. To this day, I have every diary since 1978 in my study at home and continue to adhere to this process.

Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 19/10/2012 at 12:00 AM | Categories:


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