In the ever-evolving world of real estate, it’s crucial for real estate salespeople to recognise that they are not just agents working for an agency. As cliché as this sounds, they are businesses within a business.
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Now, before you start shaking your head and rolling your eyes, we know you’ve heard this a thousand times before. But hear me out – there is actually merit to this phrase.
Why you are the business
When a potential seller or buyer seeks out a real estate professional, they are often looking for someone they can trust, someone who understands their needs, and someone who can deliver results. In this scenario, the real estate agent is the face of the business – the one who will be handling their most significant financial transactions.
Running your real estate business effectively begins with personal branding. Your reputation, integrity and ability to deliver results are your business assets. Establishing a strong online presence, maintaining an active social media profile and consistently delivering quality service are part of building and managing your brand. Remember, clients are not just hiring an agency; they are choosing you.
While it may often be considered an ‘outdated’ concept that agents should operate in ‘core trade areas’, if it’s done correctly, it’s actually quite beneficial.
Let’s look at it this way: if you’re an agent on the Gold Coast who lives in Oxenford but you operate a ‘core trade area’ in Mermaid Beach, you’re not working very effectively. Building your agent profile is most easily accomplished by working in an area that you’re frequently seen. If you live in Oxenford, work in Oxenford.
Door knock the street you live in. Introduce yourself as the ‘local agent who lives just up the road’. When you grocery shop, you’re doing it locally, right? So why not go to the grocery shop on your way home from the office? Are you investing in bus stop signs, billboards or other advertising? Why not place them locally, where people will see your face, where they remember who you are? Do you sponsor a sports team, RSL or similar? Why not do it locally?
Building your business as an agent doesn’t need to be expensive or take years to accomplish. Just be more strategic with identifying your key audience. You may not live where you really ‘want’ to work, but every business needs to start somewhere. You can’t start out thinking you’re going to door knock the mega mansions of Sovereign Island, and people will welcome you with open arms; they don't even know who you are. Your ‘business’ needs a solid profile first.
Remember, you are not just an agent; you are the business that clients choose to work with, and your success ultimately depends on how well you manage and grow your brand within the broader real estate industry.
Shifting from an employee mindset
The employee mindset refers to the mentality of working solely as an agent within an agency, without actively considering the bigger picture. It often involves adhering strictly to the agency’s processes and limitations without taking initiative or ownership of your role.
If your key objective is to run your real estate career as a business and do it effectively, it’s crucial to shift from an employee mindset to an entrepreneurial one.
An entrepreneurial mindset involves taking ownership of your career, actively seeking growth opportunities, taking calculated risks and making strategic decisions to advance your business.
The role of support staff
If you’re a real estate agent who runs their activities as a business, it’s crucial to recognise that the only employees should be support staff and associates. The salesperson (that’s you) should operate as an independent business owner. That means that YOU are solely responsible for your business’s success – not the brand you’re working within, not the market conditions, not the buyer activity, not the interest rates, and not any other excuse you use to justify your performance.
Here’s why this distinction is essential:
1. Focus on core competencies – salespeople are most effective when they concentrate on what they do best: building client relationships, negotiating deals and closing sales. Focus on things you enjoy as a salesperson and outsource the rest. Administrative tasks and marketing can be delegated to support staff, allowing the salesperson to maximise their productivity.
2. Scalability – as your real estate business grows, you may need to expand your team. Having support staff in place enables you to scale your operations without compromising your core responsibilities. Hire people to make your life easier and to do the jobs you don’t do well. Don’t hire people to do the jobs you’re great at. If you’re a great salesperson, keep being a salesperson. Hire a manager to manage your business if you need to. Don’t think because it’s your business you need to be the manager.
3. Client-centric approach – clients want to work directly with the salesperson who they believe will provide the best service. By maintaining a client-centric approach and focusing on your role, you can build stronger relationships and trust. If you’ve built a successful sales business by being on the frontline and dealing with your clients. Why change that approach? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
4. Business ownership – operating as a business within a business means taking control of your brand, marketing, lead generation and financial decisions. It enables you to make choices that align with your business goals and aspirations.
Let’s reflect. In the competitive world of real estate, success often hinges on embracing the idea that real estate salespeople are actually a business operating within a larger agency framework. By recognising your role as a business owner, shifting from an employee mindset to an entrepreneurial one, and delegating non-core tasks to support staff, you can run your real estate business more effectively.
For those agency principals out there, maybe look at your salespeople as though they’re ‘franchisees’ of your business. What can you be doing to build their business, which in turn, builds your business? Don’t be afraid to have an agent who is ‘bigger than the brand’ they work in. If you cultivate strong relationships in your agency, you won’t risk losing a high-performing agent to another office (or agency of their own). You will only lose people that you don’t value, or that don’t value you. What value do you provide your salespeople?
Shane Lowe is the CEO of Real Estate Training Australia (RETA).
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