Undying Principles

We real estate agents have a saying: “Everybody has a family member who is a Realtor”. Another one: “There’s a real estate agent on every corner”. Seems like both are true, doesn’t it? And yet real estate companies pump out classes of new, fully charged Provisional Brokers every week, it seems. These agents come out of their classes rushing to take the state exam, go forth and get rich. They are told they can be doing really well in a very short time if they just work the process. And they believe it. Then they pay for the special ‘extra’ classes that give another level of insight. That’s a good thing; but they do this while they are working and gaining experience. All of the classes in the world won’t make you a good agent. Working your business will. Many new agents seek seasoned agents to find out the ‘secret’ to success. And seasoned agents are usually willing to share some insights.

The truth about real estate is that you have to grow roots. It’s that simple. You may have a great sphere of influence, and some of them might want to buy or sell a house, but once you run through them, if you’re not careful you can become disillusioned very quickly; because you’re going to have to wait a while before they come back around. IF they come back around. Whether or not they do come back is up to you and HOW you do business, not THAT you do business. Anyone can sell a house, but it’s HOW you sell it that makes the difference, that makes your clients remember you next time around.

There’s no secret. You just have to find the undying principles and work them diligently and relentlessly. Here’s what I see: There are some larger-than-life agents who hit the social scene, post their info EVERYWHERE, hang out at the hot spots and get noticed. But those don’t usually last. They get married, settle down, burn out, get divorced. Think about names you knew who were once great and now not so much. There are a lot of them. The ones who DO make it big are the ones who dug down to the foundation of business, put in the hours to figure out which of the tools stay in the box and which ones don’t. And then they tossed out the bad tools and never touched them again.

Great real estate agents are like corporations. The great ones are the ones who are diligent, who work the process relentlessly, who do a few foundational things: Deliver great service, care about your clients, and do the right things. And most of the best ones are not sparklers either. They are pretty normal folks who just work hard and deliver great service.

Listen, I’ve heard how ‘real estate has changed’ because of i-buyers or millennials or technology. I watched one company practically invite the seasoned agents to leave because, we were told, the millennial will BE the buyers. That was a bungled mess, by the way. No: The way real estate service is DELIVERED has changed, but the underlying principles are the same. Deliver great service, care about your clients, do the right things. Let me give you some examples.

I sold real estate to a client I have yet to lay eyes on. We did almost everything by email and text, with a few phone conversations mixed in. If I had tried to nail this man down to a sit-down at a table, he would have bolted. He had NO time for chit-chat. I adjusted the way I did business with this client; it was what he needed. But he knows me and his family know me, and they come back over and over. Why? Because HOW I cared for him and his family was key. That I knew what I was doing was key. I still delivered great service, I still cared, and I got him closed like greased lighting. But I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. Have no clue what he looks like.

I helped a really nice young man buy his first home (I do that a lot), and this young man did not have a checkbook. He did everything electronically. Did I make him run out and get checks? NO! I helped him through the process. The WAY things are delivered has changed, but not the principles.

You can’t skimp on knowledge. You have to know the rules, the law, what is ethical and what is not. You should have a stable, working knowledge of technology. I happen to have cut my teeth on technology, so I can intuit my way through most programs and databases and I actually LIKE technology. But you don’t have to be a tech wizard; you just have to know basics and use them. Remember this: No company ever became great by using the fleeing jackrabbit style of tech tools. You don’t need a new one every month. Nobody can ACTUALLY use all of them. I probably use ten. Maybe more; I haven’t counted. But I use them all the time. Not each one is used every day, but there are some programs I ALWAYS use, some apps I ALWAYS share with clients, some programs to which I ALWAYS give my clients access. Some I routinely use to reach out to my contacts, some are for my organization. Find the precious few you can love to use, and them use them relentlessly. Forget the others. If you spread yourself too thin, it will show. If you throw a different system at your client every month, they will begin to think you have no direction. And I don’t know any agent, actual working agent, who uses every single new program tossed out there. It’s just not necessary.

What is necessary is to know what is changing out there and work with that system. The days of digging in your heels and refusing to get on board are over. You HAVE to stay relevant. I hear people say, “I’m too old for that.” I would only ask that you not stereotype me that way. I’m NOT too old for that (and neither are you; that’s a cop out), and I intend to stay on top of my game. You should too, by the way, on the road to greatness.

Never be afraid of technology. There’s nothing you can do that will destroy the Earth. There are ways to correct errors and after all, we are not born knowing these programs. Let go of the fear and just get busy. Find the ones that work for you and use them relentlessly. Diligently. Show up and work. New agents often feel pressured to be a superstar, because they are taught they can be in short order. Well, that doesn’t happen. You have to plant yourself, grow roots, feed the budding business. It takes time and effort. I’ve seen so many agents come and go because they got disillusioned by having completely unrealistic expectations. Real estate is not easy. It is not fast money. It takes TIME, a lot of it, and forget being off on weekends or even evenings.

When you become a big shot, you can put a message on your voice mail that says, “I don’t take calls after 7 pm”; but folks, that’s not serving your client well. Sometimes clients NEED to talk to you about something after 7. Take the call. If it’s a waste of time, THEN put if off until morning. Deliver greatness. It will bring your clients back to you. Will you be using the same database? Probably not. But your SERVICE and knowledge of the business will still be solid.

I had a conversation with a lovely new agent who has ‘it’. She’s bright, funny, driven and fun. She knows the law, the rules, the ethics. But she felt bad because she wasn’t blazing a trail. I had to remind her about roots. I had to tell her that I see the glow of a star in her. And I had to let her know she has permission to grow roots, but that she should work her business while doing so. She says she wants to be great one day; but she already is. She shows up, she works hard, she does business, and she does it relentlessly and diligently. She’s got it!