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How to succeed at real estate

By Lily Chong
04 October 2021 | 1 minute read

When people ask me what qualities have been most important to my success in the real estate industry, I tell them perseverance, innovation, and teamwork.

These are the traits that have helped me build IQI WA from an upstart real estate agency into what I believe is Australia’s best team for marketing and selling new development property.

I am honoured that Real Estate Business named me one of Western Australia’s top agents. I know I still have plenty of room for improvement. Even so, I decided this was a good moment to share some insights so other agents who want to be more successful can learn from my experience.

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Perseverance

Perseverance is the quality that lets you turn rejection and failure into success. When you feel like you are standing in the dark and you are not sure which way to turn, this quality of stick-with-it-ness is what allows you to take a step forward. If you keep with it, eventually, you will find a path back into the light.

The average professional in real estate experiences more rejection than do people in most other careers.

On a daily basis, you must persuade clients and buyers of your worth. There are no guarantees because so much remains out of your control. And not even the best agents win every pitch, so we all have to find ways to keep rejection from affecting our performance.

Not everyone knows that the rover that the American space agency NASA landed on Mars last year is named Perseverance. If I have a hard day, I can think about that little rover up there, carrying on in challenging conditions.

Before the pandemic, I regularly travelled to Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia, and Indonesia to meet buyers and sell Australian property. Wherever I went, I got great feedback. People were always excited about the possibility of purchasing in Australia.

In the beginning, however, the excitement only lasted until the day I left town. After that, things often became difficult. I would keep in touch, but too many deals fell through.

I persisted, and I persevered, and I got better at vetting buyers and keeping them engaged. Just before the pandemic, I travelled to Japan for a real estate expo. Not only were we the only people selling Perth property at this major expo, but we were the only ones marketing any Australian real estate at all. The buyers were excited to see us.

Because I persevered on earlier trips, when I found things difficult, just today, as I write this, I sold two apartments to Japanese buyers whom I met at that event.

Innovation 

On the surface, it may seem like I still have the same job that I did when I first started as a real estate agent in 2010, but the truth is almost everything has changed.

I’m not just talking about the technology we agents use. Sure, phones, computers, and software solutions are all much better than even a few years ago. And if you don’t adopt the best of the latest technology, you do risk falling behind and losing some of your competitive advantage.

Because this industry is so challenging, good agents are constantly experimenting. They take those things that work and toss aside those that don’t.

I like to cook, and I find the innovation process at work is much like the one that chefs use in the kitchen. You might prepare an ingredient in a new way or combine it was something unexpected. Then you ask yourself if the result is an improvement?

Apply the same experimental philosophy at work. I am constantly testing new words with buyers to see what is most likely to help them purchase. I try new techniques for understanding and resolving the obstacles holding them back.

With developers, I try different ways to present my vision for the project. And more often, I now work with developers during the designing phase, as they want to know what buyers really want. As part of this effort, I have imported a new AI smart-home system to put into our projects. This is an idea that came to me during a trip to Bangkok and Japan.

If you experiment like this, you will find that you are constantly learning and improving.

Teamwork

I could not succeed without my team. Everyone at IQI WA is valuable and helps the whole group succeed. And it’s not just our team in the Perth office, but the leadership and entire Juwai IQI network, which includes more than 20,000 agents and staff globally.

Every agent knows there are a thousand problems that can pop up to foil a transaction. This is when teamwork really becomes essential. Rather than blaming someone or getting angry, having an attitude of cooperation can diffuse the tension.

When you work together with someone, you share very different energy than when you are both separately trying to obtain your personal goals. Whether it is your client, your buyer, or your colleague, projecting your willingness to work with them to solve a problem jointly enables you to break through barriers and remove obstacles.

I know that I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve also already learnt a few things the hard way. I hope sharing in this way helps other agents avoid making the same mistakes I’ve made.

Lily Chong is the Perth-based general manager of IQI WA and an REB Top 50 Agent in Western Australia.

How to succeed at real estate
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