Being a real estate agent is a rewarding experience. When a person buys or sells a home, it can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and to be able to help your clients have an easier time doing so is a gratifying feeling, and with the right training, you can become a true professional.
“Training is really the most important thing that we do as a company,” said Matthew Rand, Managing Partner at Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “We’re focused on helping our agents grow to the next level.”
In the beginning, an agent needs to figure out if they will be happiest at a small firm, or a big firm.
“Where they will feel most comfortable is always a personal choice of theirs,” said Teresa O’Shaughnessy, Manager at the Pearl River sales office of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “What we try to do is put forth our strengths as a company, and the agent’s job is to know what they’re looking for. I would make sure that they understood all of the tools that were available to them here to grow their business and how they have the support of upper management and the office staff. It’s all about laying out the company vision for them so they’ll be familiar with exactly what they will be working with, who they will be working with, and what they will be working towards.”
As I’m sure you’ve read in many articles that focus on real estate, modern technology is a significant tool. One of the most important pieces of advice for today’s new real estate agents is to be familiar with today’s technology. An agent should be proficient in using smartphones and tablets, and they should also build an online presence, such as with Facebook and Twitter.
There is the possibility, however, that a new agent might not be entirely familiar with the technology that is frequently used today in the real estate industry. If you’re one of those individuals that aren’t quite tech-savvy, I’m here to let you know that there isn’t any need to fear because Rand Realty offers ways for new agents to learn how to use this current technology.
“With any new agent who comes in, you really try to assess in the interview process what their strengths and weaknesses are, and then point out how the company can get them through the process, mention what classes we have, and strongly encourage that they take all of Joe Rand’s training that’s available,” said Teresa. “When we talk about technology in particular, it’s wonderful that we have Rachael Heiss in the New City office, who’s a part of our business development and comes to Pearl River every Friday and does a tech training for us. So, we try to let an agent know that, no matter what they feel their weaknesses might be, we definitely have programs, whether they be for a group or an individual, that would be able to get them to where they need to be in the tech world.”
When you become an agent, you will be thrilled with the abundance of ways you can market yourself. This is a profession that counts on you being as social as possible, so take advantage of your opportunities to interact with the public.
“Agents can always take some ad space, like on Facebook, where they can reach so many people for as inexpensive as a dollar a day,” said Teresa. “Trulia and Zillow get to be a little bit more expensive, but their reward can be very good. I think it’s also great to go back to mailing in your geographic area, as well as offering people a complimentary home analysis. Once the agent mails the potential clients, however, they must follow up with a phone call asking those homeowners if they received the card that was sent in the mail and ask if they have any questions, and then begin talking to them and seeing if there are any real estate needs that the agent can help them with.”
Despite the huge popularity in social media, agents should not ignore the ability that print media still has in reaching possible clients.
“Sometimes taking an ad in a local paper can benefit an agent because, even though print media isn’t as popular as social media, it’s still a branding for a new agent that they might find helpful if they had been known in a community at one point in time, like as a coach or community leader,” said Teresa.
When an individual becomes a realtor, one of the top things they should focus on is obtaining leads.
“The best way for new agents to get leads is through their sphere of influence, so they should reach out to everyone they know and make sure those people know that they’re an agent,” said Donald Dwyer, Manager at the Yorktown sales office of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty.
If an agent has several leads, it’s important that they know how to manage them and must express to the leads their importance so they feel compelled to stick with the agent.
“To handle multiple leads at once, you have to prioritize,” said Donald. “Agents need to figure out who has a tight timeframe, who is a longer-term prospect, and how to prioritize them in order of showing ability. So, if someone is available to see a house immediately and they have a tight time frame, that’s the person you focus on, but you have to stay in contact consistently and thoroughly with everyone else as well so you don’t lose them.”
Once you have entered the real estate industry, never think that you’re done learning and know everything you need to know. There is always new information out there for you to absorb to help you become a better agent. Although balancing work and educational events can pose a challenge, it’s a skill that an agent should master.
“We are in a business where your time is highly valuable, so you have to allocate your time where it makes the most sense, but you also have to balance in the fact that you need the knowledge and expertise to be a great realtor,” said Donald. “So, the way to do it is to time block. You have to balance prospecting, the showings, and the home inspections with continuous education. There’s a reason why New York State, when they license realtors, requires us to do continuing education credits, and that’s because the industry changes. Things change relative to our clients, and we need to be on top of those things. So, it’s very important to time block at least a couple of hours every week, or possibly several hours every quarter to get constant education so that you are the best realtor you can be for your client.”
When you become a new agent, you might be enthusiastic to please all kinds of clients, but that can be counterproductive. As you start out in real estate, you’ll want to use some time in the beginning to establish your niche.
“Agents have to work where they’re comfortable,” said Donald. “Your best avenue is your comfort zone. If you know a certain town really well, people are going to trust you more than someone who doesn’t. If you have a sphere of influence or an affinity group, those people will have a natural ability to trust you, even though you may be new, because you know them on a personal basis and they know you are going to do the right thing by them. So, those are the folks to concentrate on until you get a little bit more experience, market knowledge, and know-how as to how to take someone who’s completely new to you and convert them into a client.”
If you pay close attention to this advice once you become an agent, you will surely have a real estate career that flourishes.