I recently spoke at a national convention of real estate brokers and agents. After my talk to the hundreds of real estate professionals in the room, I had a wonderful conversation with a new real estate agent, attending one of these conventions for the first time. It was clear that he got the message of my talk, but he wasn’t sure he was happy. He cornered me as I was leaving the meeting room, scratching his head murmuring, “Andre, are you saying that I just went into business?” I had to reply honestly; “Yes, That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
Each year millions of individuals decide to go into the fields of real estate sales, insurance sales, and financial service sales. You can also add travel agents, and many other professionals to this group. Attracted by the income potential, working with an established brand name, and great initial training, these new recruits assume that in a short time they’ll be “rolling in the dough.” But what many of these individuals do not know is that they’re not salespeople, but they’ve decided to become entrepreneurs. Their future will come down to how quickly they realize that they’ve started their own businesses and how quickly they can adopt the mindset and actions of an entrepreneur.
Real estate, insurance sales, and financial sales have very high turnover rates. A person will spend months, interviewing, studying to become licensed, and receiving initial training. Then the day comes when planning mode ends, and the person takes a seat in front of an empty desk and stares at the telephone. That’s when they must move with the intensity of a passionate entrepreneur nursing a start-up. And that’s where many new recruits become disillusioned and are prepared to call it quits.
During this period you have to prospect, fill your pipeline with leads, and persuasively present the benefits of your products or service repeatedly. And yes, you have to do this under pressure, often with little or no income, and in a hyper-competitive market. There are prospects just “kicking the tires,” quite indecisive, and those that ignore you entirely. As you look around, you may see your colleagues land a big deal or two, or drop like flies because the task seems so hard. Meanwhile weeks and months go by and your dreams of big earnings begin to fade, feeling like pure fantasy. If you make it through the first year, your earnings are modest at best and you’re totally exhausted. Many will walk away from their new career, determined never to go down that path again.
When I have an opportunity to give guidance to professionals in these industries, I always offer these five points:
1. Realize that you’ve decided to become an entrepreneur. You must learn the elements of running a successful business, which include selling, marketing, delivering the product, servicing, and accounting.
2. You must become an excellent marketer and go far beyond the typical guidance you receive as part of your licensing and corporate training. If you do not create a unique business, you might as well get out of the field.
3. Next to the skill of marketing, you must develop the skill of delivering an extraordinary customer experience. That means service, service, service.
4. In your first year or two, be prepared to work like mad, and despite your frenzied efforts at the end of the year, you might feel like you’ve just moved an inch, gaining only modest returns.
5. If you stick it out, and really do these things, you’ll make fewer and fewer mistakes, as time progresses and success will become natural to you. If you’re committed you’ll begin to succeed beyond your initial expectations.
The best sales organizations help their recruits understand these facts. The management of these companies know that despite working with a well-established brand name with offices across the country, you must learn how to make the business your own, differentiating between your offerings and the many other individuals that have gone into your field.
The big secret in selling real estate, insurance, and financial services is that there’s no secret about what it takes to succeed. Whether you know it or not,
you have started your own business and you must bring to this endeavor the same thinking and discipline as anyone else hanging out a shingle.