Real Estate as a Profession

Asking a Broker if they provide leads, tells that Broker exactly where that person is in their real estate career.   Or put another way, the longer a person works in real estate the less likely they would ask such a question.  That’s because, and every veteran agent will confirm, the ONLY good lead, is one that’s self-created. 

There may be valid lead programs, but I have never heard of any.  For the most part they are scams!  They prey on new agents.  They give you a list of random phone numbers and tell you to call them all.   And if by chance something hits, those who gave you the list will then take 30% of whatever you earn.  It’s a classic scam.  Perfectly legal and almost elegant in its simplicity.

So how does one start a career in real estate?  The first thing you need to learn is the role of an independent salesperson.  There are tons of 100% commission sales jobs.  Realtor is only one of them.  Putting housing aside for a second, new sales recruits must learn the basics of sales and the discipline it takes to pull it off. 

Sadly, real estate schools don’t teach any of this.  And despite all their self-serving admiration of themselves, national franchises don’t teach it either.   So where do you “learn” sales?  You can get a college degree in Sales & Marketing.  That would be overkill and financially suspect.  There is an endless number of Internet “Gurus” selling their proven methodologies online.  Good idea? No, it is not.   

The traditional franchise method of sales training is to have their newbies follow along with veteran sales agents.  It’s an attempt, half-hearted as it is, but it’s not really the sales training you need. 

So, what do you really need? 

Prospecting, lead management, ad creation, ad budgeting, social media, analytics, internet messaging, etc, etc.  Who teaches this? Is there a degree? And where do you get this? 

Truth is you will not find this training within the real estate industry.  Remember, realtor is just one of the many thousands of 100% commission jobs available.  Learn sales.  The basics of sales remain the same regardless of whatever product is being sold.        

If you think sales may be a career for you, then take it seriously.  Following around some guy who had 4 sales last year isn’t what anyone would call serious. 

Discounting the traditional 4-year bachelors’ program, searching on “sales degree” nets a list of several online options.  Some offer Associates Degrees.  Others offer Certificates of Completion.   Topping the list of online Universities are names you have probably have heard of: Strayer, Southern New Hampshire and Capella. 

We have no experience with any of these organizations.  We don’t know anyone who has graduated from their programs.  It would be irresponsible of us to recommend these options blindly, that said, we do encourage those really interested in sales to check them out.

One online program standing apart from the pack is Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, “Mastering Sales Toolkit”.   Click on this link.  This is a 10-week online course.  You will notice what is included in their course outline is pretty much what we identified earlier as being needed.  Again, we have no experience with Northwestern or the Kellogg School of Management.  But their reputation is unquestioned.  The Kellogg School of Management is one of the top 5 business schools in the nation.  Unlike the other Universities mentioned, we feel very comfortable recommending this online option from Northwestern University.   Besides, the certificate you earn from the Kellogg School will be appliable to any sales position you may want to hold in the future.

Making a predictable income in full-time, 100% commission sales environments is very hard to do.  Throw in a product with long life cycles and it’s even harder.  It’s not like people are buying new homes with the change of seasons. 

Sadly, there are no shortcuts to full-time sales, I wish there were.  But there is also good news.  Real estate sales, part-time, is drop dead easy.  Our next blog will discuss the requirements and expectations of the part-time agent. 

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