San Francisco Real Estate Podcast: 10 Things I've Learned From 10 Years of Selling Real Estate
Life lessons from a top producing real estate agent.
#1. I sell more real estate driving a Prius than driving a Porsche 911.
Yes it's true! I leased my first Porsche 911 back in 2013 at the ripe old age of 33 and quickly realized that my $1,600 per month payment was not actually helping my business grow but instead only increased my monthly transportation expenses. Now, if you run a small business you know that a lot of car expenses can be written off for tax purposes. It took me some time and a little ego bruising to learn that those same expenses could be better spent on growing my business, by spending money on marketing and advertising instead, for a much return on investment. Don't get me wrong, I loved my 911, but the Prius is a much better car selling real estate at $309 per month.
#2. Nobody reads the fine print.
Very true. From my attorney clients, to doctors, to business managers, nobody seems to have the time to read the fine print of a purchase agreement or any of the paperwork they sign. For most home buyers/sellers a verbal Cliff's Notes version will do. Do me a favor and take a glance over the documents you are signing.
#3. Rejection is ok. On to the NEXT.
One day I came into my office and sitting on my desk was a small post-it note that said the word, "NEXT". One of my office mates had left this on each of our desks as a reminder that the real estate business is full of constant rejection. Being told the word "no", is ok, and a daily part of the business. It can be difficult to be told no 1000 times, and to shake it off, and to stay positive. Next, represents move to the next buyer, move to the next seller, move to the next deal. If you are in sales, and have never heard the words no, than you will never hear the magic words, YES!
#4. The best real estate agents have a low-key personality.
Unlike what you've seen on reality TV, most top producing real estate agents have a very low-key and calm personality sales strategy. Don't take low-key as being shy or not aggressive, rather look at it as they are extremely skilled at wearing a top-notch poker face. Obviously, a good agent will point out the major selling features of a property, like the views, and upgrades, but after that, they get out of the way.
#5. Good real estate agents are good listeners.
Ask questions and you shall receive answers. Living in an age where holding someone's attention can be more valuable than money itself, it's important to focus your attention on the people in front of you. How do you do this? Ask questions and actually take the time to listen to what they are saying. A good sales trick is to repeat what you heard back to the person you are talking to. This lets them know that you are listening. Follow up with another question. Repeat. The next thing you know, you have a new friend, client, buyer, seller etc.
#6. Every seller thinks their house is worth more than it actually is. Myself included.
As a prerequisite, I've always said that Realtors should not be able to get licensed until they have actually bought and sold their own house. It really is almost impossible to understand the feelings that buyers and sellers go through without going through the process yourself. Are you crazy for thinking that your house is worth way more than it actually is? No, we all do, and that's ok.
#7. Selling real estate is one of the most fulfilling jobs.
From meeting clients when they are single, to being invited to their wedding, seeing their first child, seeing them go through divorce and seeing family members pass on, we as real estate agents get to see it all. This is one job, that if done right, your clients will love you and have gratitude towards you and your profession, forever.
#8. When it rains, it pours.
Some months you make over $100,000 and others you end up making $0, and spending $30,000. When business is good, it's great. This brings me to #9 below.
#9. Patience is key.
Real estate agents have historically been treated like used car salesmen, and that's ok. Think about your first open house that you went to. How was your experience? Was there an agent breathing down your deck or were they low-key? I realized early on that the agents that are pushy and try to rush buyers, give our profession a bad name. Nobody likes to be rushed or pushed into something they feel uncomfortable with. Sit back, relax, and let the buyers who want to buy, or the sellers who want to sell, come to you.
#10. Clients do not care how agents dress.
My office manager criticized me about the way I dressed when I first started selling real estate back in 2008. While everyone in the office was buttoned up in their nice dress shirt, slacks and sports coats, I wore a t-shirt, jeans and Converse All-Stars. I definitely stood out. Now I can look back and laugh at the old ways of dressing and how the industry dress code has evolved. What I realized was, I was 27 years old, and all of my clients looked just like me. We instantly built rapport. I've seen the best-of-the-best agents wear multi-thousand dollar suits/jewerly and I've seen them wear shorts and flip-flops. To each his own.