You have gone through classes, passed the exams, selected the brokerage and next Monday you need to show up for work for the first time. How do you deal with your fears and insecurities? How do you structure your first 30 days to be most effective? What routine do you follow to succeed? On Sunday before the start of your new career you will be thinking about these questions obsessively. I want to give you a few thoughts on how to set yourself up to succeed in real estate right front the start.
- To quote Churchill, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.” What you must do the day before you start is you must create a business plan. While you are thinking through where you need to be in your business a year from now, you are looking at all the variables for the quarter, for the month, the week and for every day. The end of your first 30 days is going to be your checkpoint. You will see if you are sticking with the plans you have made or if an adjustment is needed. How do you put together a solid business plan for the first month? Come up with the amount of money you want to make within the first 12 months and start putting everything else in place based on that. I will write a separate article on the details of putting your first business plan together, for now I will give you the basic concepts. Say, your goal is making $120,000 by the end of month 12, meaning that every month you need to make $10,000. This is $2,500 weekly. Now you need look up the average sale price of a home in the area you service. Let’s say it is $400,000 and this brings your average 2.5% commission check to $10,000. This means that in your first year you need to close 12 transactions to stay true to your business plan or 1 transaction every 30 days. Next step is you coming up with your actions and estimating the effort required to get that 1 transaction per month. For this you need to know your personal performance statistics, but you don’t have that yet. Good agents have a pre-qualified listing appointment scheduled for every 80 to a 100 conversations. Since you are a bad agent when you start, your success rate is likely going to be 1/10 that. It is reasonable to assume that you can have 10 meaningful conversations per hour. This means that you need to dedicate 100 hours of prospecting time in your first 30 days to schedule a single listing appointment. Next comes your appointment to listing signed conversion ratio. Based on the statistics from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), an average agent converts 20% of the time. You are not even average yet and your success rate would likely be 1 out of 10. With the numbers above and assuming that every listing you take sells, you need to have 1000 prospecting hours in the first 30 days to take your 1 listing. That’s 250 hours of prospecting every week. With numbers like that you might as well quit before you start. Instead of quitting though, your goal for the first 30 days is to track your numbers and to get a feel for where you are performance wise. You will also be working on ramping up your ratios, so that you are not scheduling 1 listing appointment for every 1000 conversations. The main idea of planning here is threefold: 1. For you to see where you want to be; 2. To assess where you are now; 3. To improve your performance. Every week you will be getting better at what you do and at the end of the 30 day period you will be sitting down with accumulated and recorded personal statistics to re-evaluate your business plan with these, now verified, numbers.
- Your sphere is where you will likely find your first transaction. These people know you, like you and want to do business with you. This is your family, your friends and your colleagues. Letting them know that you embarked on a new business venture is one of the first things you do. They will be the ones to pull you through your first month, your first quarter and may be even your first year, because as you saw in the previous point, counting entirely on your ability to hunt “cold” business in the beginning of your career is a loosing proposition.
- You are a business owner now. When you go to work now, there is no boss to tell you what to do and when to do it. There will be colleagues pulling you in different directions. They will be asking you to go out for coffee, extended lunches or will try to involve you in office conversations about nothing. You need to know what your schedule is and to consult it every hour, so that you know what you MUST do. Before you go out for coffee, consult your calendar to know if you can (I know you can't). Your job is to improve your skills and to prospect. That’s it.
- Sign up for coaching. That’s all for this point.
- Mindset. Create a powerful morning routine. What time do you plan to show up at the office? I hope it is not 9am as you are used to do at your previous job. Be there by 7:30am at the latest. Decide on what you do before the time you get up and the time you arrive to the office. Here is what I recommend. Get up 2 hours before your work start time. Take a shower, meditate, exercise, eat breakfast and put yourself together. It takes 2 hours for me. This will give you a powerful start to the day and will also give you a few wins early on. Even if nothing else goes your way in the day, those morning wins will still be under your belt and will allow yourself to feel good about the day. Mindset in real estate is everything and a great morning routine will set you up for success.
- You want to find a support group of agents in your office that prospects daily. These are the agents you want to spend your time with. You will not be spending time shooting the breeze. You will be working as a group with everyone looking to achieve their own goals and feeding off of each other’s energy. This group will help you stay consistent with your prospecting. You will hear the scripts they use and how they use them. You will also have a better understanding of the lead follow up decisions you need to make based on what these more experienced agents do.
- Schedule shadowing sessions with agents you look up to. Door knocking and open houses for sure. Ask a few good agents if they would be open to you shadowing them in listing appointments. Not everyone will say yes, but some will. Take them up on that.
- Just volunteer and ask a successful agent how you can help them with anything they want. You will build a relationship and will get invaluable information from them in return. This will help you build your skills fast.
- Don’t skip the classes offered by your brokerage thinking you are too busy for that. Your must be soaking up information and increasing your competence. This goes back to the brokerage selection, so that you don't end up with promises of unicorns and rainbows and no-one there to help you once you start. Make sure that your new brokerage does offer good classes before you start.
- Execute. Of course you execute by prospecting. Start building your prospecting endurance by integrating gradually increasing prospecting windows into your daily schedule. Start with a commitment to one hour every day and build on this.