Teaching newly-licensed real estate agents how to get started in the business can be very gratifying. Most newbies to our business truly appreciate tips and techniques passed on from “wily veterans”. I smile every time someone asks, “Have you written all this down in a book?” or asks if they can record the classes. I smile because I remember the “veterans” who passed those same tips to me when I was new in the business and am forever grateful that they took the time to do so.
Here are some of my all-time favorites:
“Before you close up shop for the day, make one more phone call.” I got this advice from my dad, a no-nonsense, move-it-along sort of man. I was amazed who else was working late and would answer the phone at ridiculous hours – pre-closers, attorneys, loan processors, contractors, buyers, sellers and (GASP!) other agents. Many a deal was begun (or rescued) after hours. Best practice: Work a full day and a little bit more.
“If you don’t have any listings, borrow one.” I take credit for this one. Moving to Georgia from another state and looking for a way to jump-start my business here (I had been a broker/owner of a tiny brokerage in Houston), I asked anyone and everyone in my office if I could sit in their listings for Open Houses in exchange for getting to work with the buyers I met there. Thank you to the agents who took me up on this offer! I met so many buyers at Open Houses! This is one reason that Metro Brokers has the Open House Pool on our intranet (MetroNet) today. Take advantage of it! If you sell one house a year as a result of sitting in a 3-hour open house every month for a year, it will still be a fabulous hourly pay rate. Figure it out for yourself! Best practice: Host at least one Open House every month; more are better.
“If you don’t have any buyers, host an Open House just above the price range of the buyers you wish to meet.” See above.
“Make every client feel like they are your only client at this given moment.” Thanks to a professional salesman for this one. Focus on the client you are with. Best practice: Turn the phone to silent; consider it a colorful pager when you are on an appointment.
“Ya’ dance with who brung ya’.” This is an old southern saying that is pretty self-explanatory. If you have an offer on the table and some other offers “might be coming in”, work with what’s on the table (while stalling just a little to give the “maybe” offers time to get real). Best practice: Work with what you have. If it’s not good enough, make something better happen.
“Get it in writing!” Whew, yes. This is a MUST. Get that offer in writing and the seller will take it much more seriously. Get those counteroffers in writing to avoid confusion. Get any promises or representations in writing if you want to rely on them. Get REFERRAL AGREEMENTS in writing! Get partnership and team agreements in writing. Best practice: Carry blank contracts, brokerage agreements and amendments and/or know where the nearest Metro Brokers office is.
“Be a packrat.” Save everything, either on paper or electronically. Save offers, counteroffers, emails, scribbles notes, your day-timer, receipts, business cards, etc. I discovered that paper grocery sacks, double-bagged, are perfect for letter size manila folders and that a year’s worth of business can fit in one or two bags for storage. Buyers called me years later wanting a copy of their HUD-1 for either taxes or divorce. I sold and resold the same house four (4) times over a period of 10 years. It was sure nice to have all that past data handy. Best practice: Buy a file cabinet and use it.
“You catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar.” My grandmother gets credit for this one, but I’m sure you’ve heard it from your grandmother, too. And you will definitely hear this from me when you call Broker Support. Be nice. Be civil. Be polite. Offer to help. Best practice: Take a deep breath when under stress; call Broker Support (or a similar resource if you aren’t a Metro Brokers agent).
“Always accept the offer of coffee, water or refreshments.” A recent RISMedia article stressed taking time for the “small talk” necessary to establish some personal rapport with potential clients and customers. The article suggested offering visitors coffee or tea. My advice, since we’re usually on the visiting end of the situation, is to always accept the offer. Declining because you don’t want to put the prospective client to any trouble is a mistake. They offered (think civility and politeness, above) and you want to recognize the generosity of their offer by making them feel that they have read your mind and offered you exactly what you want at that moment, a cup of coffee. Best practice: “I would love a cup of coffee! Thank you so much for offering.”
What are some of your best practices that you’ve learned over the years? Comment below.
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