Successful brokers have established patterns, including routines of contact. Others network – not just handing out cards at parties, which rarely sees fruit, but true networking at events, charity evenings/meetings, weddings etc., as well as with other industry professionals in real estate. This is an incredible opportunity for people to see how you behave in critical and decisive situations.
Meeting your industry peers is a great benefit, though often untapped. C.A.R. has, for the past few years, been offering hot topic classes as well as specific and updated learning opportunities on the plenty. Designations still hold an important role for many throughout the industry locally, as well as around the country. This is an amazing chance to network and possibly travel, as well as reap the benefits of professionals journeying to Chicago.
Classes and client contact will certainly up your game. However, you must be true to yourself. You must do what feels right, natural and authentic, and not worry about limiting yourself. We are an industry made of hundreds of backgrounds, from creative to corporate. Each work experience can create a foundation for you to relate on some level to a potential client or peer.
I started my professional career after Michigan State University. My favorite professor had a mantra: “always be different and better.” Purposely vague and left hanging to inspire each individual, this means so many things to different people. So I ask you, what are YOU doing to be different and better?
My trainer at my first restaurant job told me a tip about preparedness and anticipation – “if someone asks you for something, you aren’t doing your job well enough.” I suggest you do some homework prior to meeting clients. To be most effective as an advocate, we must ask deep and probing questions to understand the needs, plans, and motivations of our client bases. That, too, means many things to different people. Is it the fear of moving from a familiar environment? Are they heading to a new city? Or a new area in the same city? Is it a must or a want? Is it based upon desire or fear? True and meaningful motivations manifest cognitively and morph; we must push the right button to act.
These are the purest motivations our clients have for reaching out to us to explore next steps. It’s up to us to help them understand what that means – becoming familiar with new travel patterns and commercial offerings such as grocery stores or the local pub with killer music. Whatever the necessity inspiring a move, it’s our job to earn their trust and have what I call “the right of passage.” This means that personal and intended questions can be asked and answered with trust, knowing they are not meant as gossip-based probes, but so that you can be proactive and of crucial help. This way, you can curate an organic plan for each individual client.
It’s so important to be confidential and give solid advice, advice that is best for the client not for you or the transaction. This transaction isn’t your first and won’t be your last; this is where we earn our stripes and plant seeds for the future, including referrals, client advocacy and our reputations.
After all is said and done, attending classes, meeting our industry peers and behaving in way that screams “why would the client give their business to anyone other than me,” is the lifeblood and foundation of how we survive and thrive in this gig.
There’s a tremendous amount of business in our city. Be ready. Be different and be prepared. I’m proud of you already.
133rd President, Chicago Association of REALTORS®