“You just don’t know how to approach it,” says Sandi Lee, an agent with Century 21 in Dartmouth, N.S., recalling her first year in the business. “Really, it’s about marketing and getting yourself out there.”
But making a name for yourself is easier said than done. Savannah Lemieux-Ellement, an agent in Winnipeg, says it takes hard work to escape that inaugural year unscathed.
“People think as soon as you get into the industry that you should be given leads by the company or by other agents, but it’s definitely up to the newer agents to take initiative,” she says. “Ask to do open houses for other agents, call FSBOs, cold-call and door-knock, post ads in the local paper or online, and use your sphere of influence.”
Ira Jelinek, too, says he still uses his sphere of influence to connect with different leads.
“Warm calling, calling my sphere of influence, sending mailers to the people I know,” he says. “I stay relevant on Facebook, too.”
But, at the end of the day, rookie agents – and experienced ones, too – will only succeed in real estate if they buckle down, and put in the time and effort.
“We need professional people in this industry,” says Pam Cherington, a broker with Red Door Realty in Halifax. “[Real estate] attracts any Tom, Dick and Harry who thinks they know what to do and that is discouraging.
“This a full-time job if you’re going to make any money at it.”
Breaking into the real estate industry is no easy feat, and it’s usually that first year that’s the hardest, but these industry pros have a few words of encouragement for new sales reps.