Each year, I am reminded and grateful for the amazing opportunities a career in real estate presents. This year in July, I am lucky enough to celebrate 18 years in our amazing industry. Throughout this incredible journey, I have felt blessed beyond measure.
Understandably, the path has not always been easy. In pursuit of anything worthwhile, there will always be challenges and sacrifices involved. It is a simple business, but it is not that easy.
Along the way, we have learnt valuable lessons, normally because of our mistakes. I recall one of Australia’s best agents, Alex Jordan’s comment at this year’s AREC where he stated that if there was a conference on how “not to do real estate”, he would be the keynote speaker. I think many of us can very much relate to that statement and we would be willing to put our hand up to be part of the line-up. I can just imagine the stories!
In our long and continuing support of many of the best agents that join our network, we have uncovered some very distinct tipping points between those that struggle to get started, those that plateau and those that reach the elite of our industry. We have categorised those agents into three levels.
The Apprentice, the Tradesperson and the Practitioner. Each level represents a particular stage in a sales agent’s career. Let’s explore each level:
The Apprentice – an agent struggling to consistently sell two or more homes per month.
I have a favourite question when speaking to agents who have been in the industry for two years or more: “Have you had your first year in real estate?” I ask it in tongue and cheek. However, there is a serious side to it. Agents stuck at this level have quite common characteristics and it is a behavioural challenge as opposed to a skills challenge.
- They struggle to be coached and refer to training as a “waste” of time.
- They have a lack of personal belief. Everyone else is just lucky.
- Getting systemised and following a process is foreign to them. It is like asking them to learn a new language.
The Tradesperson – an agent who is stuck at the two to four sales per month and regularly falls back into the Apprentice level.
Agents in this level normally seek to employ an assistant to help with the increased volume of work. The challenge they face is that they bring team members into a “world of chaos” and hope that the team member can create order from the chaos. It sounds logical in theory, but the lead agents are normally their own worst enemies for the following reasons:
- They don’t know or wish to know their numbers; that is, KPIs such as the all-important appraisal to list ratio.
- They have an ad hoc prospecting strategy. They do not measure what works and what does not.
- Their database is in a mess. It’s something that is always on the backburner and not given the attention it deserves.
The Practitioner – the Agent who has passed the momentum threshold and has become an “attraction agent”.
Agents at this level regularly sell four or more (and often many more) homes per month. This is the ultimate tipping point where agents move from Tradesperson to becoming the Practitioner of a “real estate practice”. Many in the industry refer to this as an “Effective Business Unit”. The behavioural characteristics of these high performers are as follows:
- They have an intimate knowledge of all their numbers. They trust the process and create opportunities by tracking their key KPIs — e.g. average sale price, average fees, appraisal to list, list to sell etc.
- They have set minimum standards and delivery of service expectations. Nothing is left to chance.
- They value and nurture established clients with documented client care programs. They know how to play the long game.
- They are perpetual learners and love to share their knowledge and experience. They have an abundance mentality.
- Balance is extremely important to them. Work and personal life goes hand in hand and not to the sacrifice of one for the other.
Those that wish to be in the elite field, this is the most exciting level to aspire and attain. Reaching this level secures you a place in the top 5 per cent of agents in the country.
Agents have a habit of complicating the simplicity of this business. I am not suggesting it is “easy”; however, I am suggesting that each stage of the sales agent journey has fundamental tipping points which move you to the next stage. It is a matter of acknowledging them, and then being disciplined enough to apply them.
Wishing you every success in your real estate career.