We have all heard the pitch before…”You will love real estate sales. You get to set your own hours. You can be your own boss. And most of all, you make as much money as you want.”
Lies. Two of the three promises preclude the third.
The average Realtor made about $34,000 in gross commissions in 2012 and sold less than 7 houses (according to the NAR.) These figures have not changed significantly in the last several years.
While a career in real estate does allow you to set your own hours and be your own boss, without working long hours and having people place demands on your time (just like a boss would), you will not make ANY money.
Selling real estate is hard and it is a business where consistently adding to your book and consistently servicing your clients is necessary just to maintain your level of production. If you are not growing, you are shrinking and if you are standing still, you are going backwards.
So how do you grow your income? Prospecting. Consistent and relentless prospecting.
Now…a good prospector need not be immediately associated with the pushy and obnoxious salesperson character we all imagine when we hear the word ‘prospecting.’ Rather, the salesperson who has a commitment to prospecting not only has a commitment to the ACT of prospecting, but to the CRAFT of prospecting as well. Approaching any and everyone, regardless of the time or situation, and hocking your services is disrespectful. Understanding how to identify people who are likely to have a need for your services and delivering a professional and respectful message at an appropriate time is almost always well received and appreciated.
The best agents in our business (and when I say best, I mean the highest earning, not necessarily the most talented or most knowledgeable, although many times they are) are all relentless prospectors. They have made a commitment to prospecting and the techniques required to create successes. These successes breed other opportunities for success and when the fundamentals of follow up are applied, the system feeds upon itself.
Here is where most agents fall down…they equate prospecting with cold calling or the other uncomfortable activities associated with asking for other people’s business. It does not have to be that way. Prospecting, in any form, is the act of being in a position to deliver your message AND TO HAVE THE RECIPIENT WILLING TO RECEIVE IT. You cannot have one without the other…otherwise, you immediately become the character in the picture above and people will avoid you at all costs.
I think that lost in all of the debate (fear) over how to effectively prospect is that the public is always interested in finding quality professionals in ANY industry and all salespeople should feel comfortable in telling others what they do. If you are uncomfortable telling people what you do, then your time as a salesperson is probably short. Our industry, as are most, is defined by the bottom and not by the top and I personally think it makes it far easier to shine. Positioning yourself as a quality, intelligent and capable professional has never been easier. The outlets by which you can promote not just your face and contact info, but your thoughts, successes, policies, procedures, knowledge and acumen are all around us. Blogging, articles, video, podcasts and forums are just some of the tools that an individual can use to back your brand thus removing the need to undertake the annoying practice of talking someone’s ear off you just met about your latest listing.
At the end of the day, if you offer people value and are available at their time of need, you will secure all of the business you can handle.
So to ask the original question again…How do you stay in this business without prospecting? I think it is pretty obvious that you cannot…and the better you get at communicating your message without both you and the person you are talking to feeling the pressure of being ‘prospected,’ the better off you are going to be.