What makes for a successful real estate career? Every new real estate agent faces the dilemma of how to break into a field where 10% to 20% of their competitors are truly successful and the rest are just getting by or failing.
The literature available to “newbies” is extensive. Gary Keller’s Millionaire Real Estate Agent comes to mind, as does local Realtor Bruce Gardner’s Seven Styles: How to Design Your Real Estate Career of Success and Significance.
Gardner’s book is certainly the easier read thanks to its succinctness and its concentration on helping agents to identify the strategy that fits their unique personality. At the same time, one has to applaud Gary Keller for his in-depth presentation which has made Keller Williams the fastest growing real estate franchise in the country.
I look at my own path to success a little differently. Yes, I had one or two strategies on which I built my success, but it was more about personal qualities than about my strategy.
My initial strategy to get established is what we call “farming.” I chose a neighborhood near me that I could focus on, building relationships that would lead to listings.
But behind the doing of it all was something more subjective. I’d like to share the qualities I brought to my farming and other real estate actions which — I believe — made me the success I’ve become.
Now that I’m an employing broker, I’ve come to identify these qualities as ones I look for in prospective broker associates. I prefer to associate with agents who share these qualities. If you have them, call me!
1) Authenticity. Don’t put on airs. Don’t pretend to be more successful than you are. Don’t pretend to know it all. Seek to be mentored, not admired. Admiration will come in time.
2) Integrity. This quality is closely related to authenticity. Tell the truth. Don’t ingratiate yourself to prospects through flattery or by saying what they want to hear. If a client doesn’t want to hear the truth, you don’t want to work with him (or her).
3) Giving back. Author Bob Burg wrote a book about this quality called Go-Givers Sell More. Be a go-giver, not a go-getter. That principle lies behind this column which I’ve been publishing for nearly a decade in the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post and other papers. If you give people something of value that’s also honest and authentic, they’ll want to give you something — their business.
This last quality is most important to me. I belong to chambers of commerce, service clubs and business associations as a way of supporting their activities, not for the business I can get from them. My company’s moving truck is offered free not just to clients, but to any non-profit that requests it, subject to availability. Has the free truck brought me business? Maybe, but that’s not the point.
The most successful real estate agents join their Realtor association, not because their company (like mine) requires it, but because it’s the right thing to do. They go further, too, becoming leaders, teaching seminars, fearlessly sharing the keys to their own success with -- gasp! -- other agents who compete with them. They build and fund Habitat for Humanity houses. They engage in sustainable practices like recycling and renewable energy to give back to their planet. They even give blood! They’re go-givers. Go-givers don't worry about getting. It comes to them naturally.