Agents are businesspeople, not sales reps

by Jamie Henry21 Oct 2014
Get your licence, get a fancy logo, get started in the business selling houses – right? Not if you want to succeed. Being an agent is way more than just selling product.

“[Agents are] getting into a business with themselves and it’s a lot more involved than just running out and selling a house,” says broker Allan Asplin. “It’s about managing expenses and managing your clients and all the issues that come up… [The licensing programs] teach you how to write up an offer and provide your fiduciary duties to the client, but it’s not going to set you up to be successful in the business.”

New agents can learn how to best market themselves or how to earn referrals from clients – things the various licensing programs don’t teach – by shadowing experienced veterans. Similarly, agents can learn the best practices for managing their new businesses from those around them.

Peter Chung, a broker in Toronto, advises new agents to seek out mentorship opportunities with seasoned veterans in an effort to learn as much about the nuances of the industry as possible.

“We’re dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars,” broker Peter Chung tells REP. “Any newcomers should strive to be more knowledgeable… [and] when you have more insight, more training, and more mentorship, you can be much more knowledgeable.”

Chung says that knowledge isn’t limited to the housing market, but should extend to forging and maintaining client relationships. Working closely with experienced and successful agents will help rookies develop a strong foundation in the real estate business.

And, like many businesses, agents can expect a slow first few years, Chung says. “Don’t give up,” he says. “The first year might not be successful. They need to give the business at least two years before they decide if they’ll [leave the industry or not].”

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