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5 topics real estate agents should study to prepare for what’s next


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I recently had the honor of teaching locally at the Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate Academy. Most of the participants were just new to real estate, and to me that means less than five years in the business.

At the end of every class I teach, I always open up anything related to real estate for discussion. The students wanted to talk about the future market and asked me for my thoughts.

My response was, “If you are in this business up to five yearsyou’re going to learn over the next four-plus years to treat your business like a business and be very consistent.

“If you don’t understand what that means, learn it sooner rather than later, or you won’t be doing it for long. Be very careful which gurus you subscribe to and know more than your competition; get in the habit of going the extra mile and invest in yourself.”

I was met with mostly stunned silence, as if I had just taken the wind of all their sails, and I probably did. If we had more time, I could have spent another hour explaining it and spared myself the guilt of going back to the office, but I wanted to shock them a little and make them think.

If you are new to this business and haven’t experienced a slowly or down in the market, you need to prepare. Here are a few classes I would recommend taking, and if a class or workshop isn’t available to you, buy a book on the subject.

Business planning

A good business plan will help you treat your business like a business. What I mean by this is that you need to know where your business is going to come from.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does it take to bring this business?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What is my budget to run it?

If you don’t treat your business like a business, start now. Separate business and personal accounts, schedule yours intelligence and knowing how many calls or touches you need to make to get the number of appointments that will achieve the necessary closings to meet your business goals.

Our brand, and probably yours too, offers an excellent business planning platform and training, which I highly emphasize and recommend to our agents. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has some very good advice business planning.

Time management

Time management it’s a lost art with all the technology around us. It’s so easy to get on social media, YouTube rabbit hole, permission time wasters to trap us and waste precious time.

If your time management skills are questionable, the upcoming market can be a challenge for you. If you run a successful business, you have to be careful your proceduresget up early, plan and prioritize your day, and plan your search and follow-up.

You should be consistent with it to survive a slow market. In addition to a course, class, or workshop on the topic, find people who are great at time management, pick their brains, and ask them how they manage their time so well. Some of my favorite online resources on this topic offer Mindtools.com.

“How to Win Friends and Influence People”

A book written in 1936 by Dale Carnegie, this book helped 20 year old me understand the value of being genuinely interested in other people, the importance of remembering names, the value of listening and making others feel important, and tons of other things that made me think, this is a must read for middle schoolers schools.

In the upcoming real estate market, the art of winning customers through relationship selling will be invaluable; as listings and sales decline, earning the customer’s trust listening and genuinely showing your consideration will propel you above others who may be focusing only on the numbers.

After reading this book, I took the actual Dale Carnegie’s Sales Course, which I also highly recommend, this course and this book changed my life during a market crash. There are many great sales coaches and trainers out there, and some are just real estate focused.

Marketing 101

Successful people will be creative in their marketing methods. I love things out of the box and seeing agents use something different to promote themselves or their listings.

Learn how social media works, how algorithms work, and techniques to get the most out of you marketing budget. You don’t have to go back to college, but spend some time doing it. Many brands offer training and there is a ton of everything on YouTube.

Those who can stand out and be remembered will shine. In addition to standing out, learn be consistent is key. Get a system that works for you, or spend a little more and have it done for you. I cannot stress enough the importance of consistency in marketing.

Foreclosures and short sales

We haven’t seen a lot of inventory in this area for quite some time, but I remember the last market downturn where 30 percent of our inventory listings at some point were foreclosures and another 40 percent were short sales.

​​​​​​While I don’t believe there will be a huge amount of REOs and short sales in my local market, I understand there are other areas of the country where shadow inventory is looming and expected to collapse.

If you are unfamiliar with how these properties are marketed, get educated – because if you allow yourself to be educated through the transaction, you could be costing your client the property and you the sale.

Many REO sellers do not follow the same platforms and procedures that may be common in your market. HUD listing brokers are required to conduct monthly sales process training; some do it live, some do it via Zoom, but if you just google it, I’m sure you’ll find one.

The National Association of Realtors does offer a certification course for short sales and foreclosures as well.

All markets are different. What is true in a buyer’s or seller’s market in my backyard may not be true in your backyard. If you’ve been in this business for less than five years, get ready for change. It will happen.

You can’t stick to your own head in the sand and wait for what is convenient for you to return; you have to move with the market. I strongly suggest looking for an experienced agent who has experienced the slower market for you and will give you the best advice.

Even so, it’s not the end of the world, as I keep telling my agents, don’t be a secret agentand keep moving forward.

Jack Gross is the company’s president and CEO Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Cassidon Realty in Pennsylvania. Follow him Facebook or Twitter.

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