Since the State of Illinois requires that every prospective agent take and pass a prelicense course (currently 45 hours) and then pass a State exam the uninformed would believe they were prepared to sell a home. Not true, of course, the process is not unlike taking driver’s education and then the driver’s test. The new agent is no more prepared to service a real estate client than the new driver is to handle rush hour in Chicago. Since it is also true in Illinois that you’ll need to find a broker to sponsor you into the business, the choice of company should be made, to a large degree, on how much training you’ll receive. There are other factors to consider, reputation of the broker (company), whether the company has National name recognition (Prudential, for instance) or is a small local operation, and market share, to name a few. While you don’t want to make the wrong choice in the beginning, you are not locked into the broker with whom you begin. You can change if you’ve made a mistake. Probably the most important thing in selecting the broker is how you “feel” about the people you’ll be working with and for.
So let’s say you’ve picked your office and they’ve agreed to sponsor your license, what will you be doing, day to day, in this new career? For years and years the business has been one of meeting people and helping them find or sell a home. That won’t change; it’s just that the methods have changed. How successful you become and how quickly will depend on how many people you already know (sphere of influence), how active the market is, how well you adapt to the tasks of prospecting, and luck. The term “salesman” (or woman) does not really apply in our business. You will be much more successful acting as a caring consultant than you will trying to close a deal (think Glengary Glen Ross and if you haven’t seen the movie you should rent it.)
For the past ten years or more, the real estate business has been more and more centered on the internet. Probably greater than 80% of all buyers have looked at homes on the web and many have already chosen the home they’d like to see. It becomes very important that the company you associate with and you as an agent have a strong internet presence. The terms VOW (virtual office web site) and IDX (internet data exchange) have become commonplace. The importance to you, the agent, is that you need to have your name on a listing or associated with a site when prospects are searching for property. There are dozens of really great sites out there, but if you can direct prospects to use your site and it does the job, you will capture a percentage of them. Do not get into this business and ignore today’s marketing hottest tool.
There’s the old saying about real estate, “Location, location, location.” The same is true for real estate salespeople, but it’s, “Prospecting, prospecting, prospecting.” If you can spend at least some of each day trying to meet new potential customers, you are destined to become successful.
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