Day in the Life of a New Agent - Lucy
"Day in the Life" is a one-on-one discussion with new REALTORS® to get straight talk on what it's like to enter into the business - the good and the challenging. Our goal with this series is two-fold - create an opportunity for new members to learn from one another and to offer managing brokers' insight into how new members are adjusting in their careers.
Individual names are anonymous to allow members to speak openly.
Lucy has been in real estate less than a month. She previously worked in corporate sales and as a sales representative for 11 years for a direct jewelry company that offered her a flexible work schedule to stay at home with her two children. She completed the pre-license coursework and obtained her license in November.
What is the most important thing you have learned in the business so far?
I am still trying to find my way, but have learned follow up is one of the most important skills. If you have a lead that could turn into something you need to stay in constant contact with that person, continue to follow up and do what you say you are going to do.
It's also really about letting people know you are in business. I have been using social media to get the word out that I am now a REALTOR®. I'm using Facebook and recently received a very significant lead from one of my Facebook friends. I was also able to create a prospect list for mailings, etc., using my client database from my previous career, and I'm finding contacts through my five circles of influence: friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors, and through my kids' activities.
What is some good advice you've received from your managing broker?
Always continue to learn. Attend different workshops or things that are going to feed your brain so when you are with clients you have even more to talk about.
What do you find most challenging?
Finding leads out of my sphere of influence. I feel like there could be more information or a step-by-step plan of what to do in your first month in the business. For people who can't take Mainstreet's JumpStart course right away, I'd like to see more online tutorials to get people going and in action.
Are there things you struggle with more than others?
Right now, I'm struggling to put together a business plan. I think a big consideration is how much you want to spend to get your business going. We pay a lot to get licensed and trained in the business so the idea of spending more on advertising, for example, is tough. I'm focusing on low or no cost items until I get a listing or a buyer under my belt.
Do you find it easy to make connections in the industry?
As far as networking, the company I am affiliated with allows us to go to pretty much any chamber meeting in the Chicagoland area. That is a real benefit. I'm also partnering with a friend to see how we can buddy up on networking together to bring each other business.
I think the networking has to come from your personal elements. The JumpStart program offered by Mainstreet is great. As new agents are coming in, it would also be great to have a group created where new agents could come together and bounce ideas off each other and talk and network about challenges that way.
How are you beginning to market your business?
I am in the process of creating a Facebook page for my business and I'm ramping up on LinkedIn. I also have a personal website that I'm creating and am investigating how to gather people's addresses in a legal way to do some targeted mailings to people. My goal is to make 5-10 new connections a month. I thought I would make it a game to see how many business cards I can gather. With the cards, I can follow up with a hand-written note and my business card. I am looking at the least expensive route possible right now to get the word out about my business until I have gotten a buyer or renter under my belt.
Have you seen any surprises in the industry?
Through my company, agents have the ability to send out an e-newsletter. As a new REALTOR®, I do not have featured listings yet but I have gathered a large database of people to distribute my new newsletter to once I do. I contacted a couple of agents asking if I could feature one of their listings in my newsletter, and was not prepared for the responses I received. I guess I am a little shocked that some agents are not more understanding. My feeling is there is enough business out there for everyone and I would think people would be more open to free marketing. "Hey, you are going to market my listings to your sphere? Great!"
What technology or app do you rely on most for work?
What best describes your work week?
Half of my week is structured and the other half is unstructured (I have two children.)
The number one tactic for staying in front of your network:
Constant contact. That is where social media comes to play. If you are posting even just once a day, you are staying in contact with people along with your monthly newsletters and postcards.