Can a 25 year-old compare against 25 years' experience?
Blogger: Stefon Bertram, principal, Starr Partners Ryde
I’ve been asked a few times what it’s like to go up against some of Australia’s best agents, especially those key players who have been in the game for more than 20 years. While it may come as a shock to some, my response is always that I am genuinely thankful to have such a high calibre of competition.
I am confident that all agents starting out in the business have the opportunity to achieve results equal to that of the ‘long timers’. The key is to think outside of the fees involved. Ask yourself this: ‘If all agents were free, which would the owner choose?’ Taking one listing at a time, you don’t need to have a better track record, you just need to be better on the day and genuinely want to help the client more.
In fact, I’ve always been of the belief that if you prospect hard enough you don’t really have competitors – regardless of how long you’ve been in the business. It’s naïve to think that winning clients comes down to fees alone. The reality is that getting your foot in the door is more about attitude and how you approach potential vendors.
By committing to daily connections with your service area and adding a personable touch to cold calls, you will become top of mind with any seller and find yourself above any competitors on their shortlist. The ‘fee debate’ very rarely comes up when your customers have had the opportunity to discuss your service, results, information and promises 18 months prior to listing. Remember not all results are immediate. Prospecting is about planting the seed and growing these relationships over time.
Competing for listings is a completely different art in itself. You really have to turn your listing presentation from enthusiasm to professional. It wasn’t until I completed my second year of trading that I really got into the way of this and at that point, began to gain some brilliant traction with listings. Now I’m working at the same level as some of those ‘seven-figure agents’.
The industry is full of noise, with too many young agents falling into the trap of opening the local paper and comparing themselves with some of the industry’s superstars. Seven-figure agents normally have huge leverage through multiple support staff and attraction business from years of trading. Don’t benchmark yourself against how many sales your competitor has made. Benchmark yourself on how many sales you need to fuel your desired lifestyle.
The only thing new agents should be focussing on is personal development. Believe me, constant improvement does help. By working harder and training more every week than your competition trains in a year, it's actually impossible to lose. When you start, you might not know the best answer to every question and that’s ok - as long as you make it your goal to be the best at answering, then you’re on track. The day your work ethic slows down and training stops is the same day your competitors 25 years’ experience will win.
Also, getting started can be a lonely place, with many offices offering minimal or average training. Rather than seeking advice from peers that are ‘good’, why not have the ‘best’ riding around with you in your car every day? Having a library of audio training is priceless, and I feel so many agents disregard the value of the information that is offered from this source. A great quote to live by for your first few years is, "I sweat in training so I don’t bleed in battle". Sharpened skills and superior product knowledge mixed with professional enthusiasm will be guaranteed to trump experience every time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stefon Bertram is a principal of Starr Partners Ryde. Despite his young age, he has already eclipsed several sales records and established his own successful real estate business.