Self-Directed Learning

What to do if your broker doesn't have time for you.

August 1, 2003

A new salesperson that I'll call "Private Benjamin," was recruited into a brokerage with promises from the broker that she’d receive lots of help in getting started. But once she passed her exam and showed up for work, the broker was busy with other details and didn’t have time to do more than show her where her desk and phone were. Like Goldie Hawn’s character in the Hollywood movie “Private Benjamin,” this salesperson is finding out that recruiters sometimes make false promises. Some brokers will tell you what you want to hear to get you in the door, and by the time you have your business cards and signs paid for, you're going to be stuck there for a while.

If you're in the same boat as Private Benjamin and have a broker who suddenly doesn't have time to work with you now that you have reported for duty, here's what you can do.

Start your contact management file

Your first day(s) should be spent loading every contact you know into a contact manager program, either a real-estate specific program, or a professional e-mail program of your choice. Start with family, friends, and current acquaintances, and then work back into your past. Don't forget directories from schools and churches. Call every one of those people and let them know what you are doing. You want to use a program that will merge e-mail, as you want to be able to send these folks e-newsletters, listing updates, and other information.

Shadow other salespeople

Introduce yourself around the office and offer to help other salespeople sit their open houses. They could use the extra security, and you could use the experience. Offer to take every other buyer as an “up,” like they do in the car business. When it is your turn to be “up,” that means you are the one that gets to work the buyer. Sitting open houses also is a great way to get to know the other producers. Salespeople also like to take time off. With a few open houses under your belt, they may let you sit one while they go on vacation or work another home. Any leads that come through will be yours.

When you aren't busy, ask other salespeople if you can ride along on their calls. It will give you a lot of experience to attend inspections, listing appointments, and buyer showings to see what can go right or wrong.

Attend every meeting

Attend every function your brokerage has—from breakfast meetings to home tours. This is the only way to learn housing inventory. Listen to other salespeople's comments. Use the comments to get a clue about their personalities. What do the salespeople say who sell a lot of homes? What do the salespeople say who don't sell many? Save your questions for your broker for these meetings. If the broker won't meet with you privately, seek a public answer.

Join your local board of REALTORS and scout functions there, too. There are a lot of opportunities for volunteerism, and it’s a good way to get known among other brokerages. These are the people you’ll be working contracts alongside, so getting to know them on a first-name basis can only help you. This is also a good time to find out about what goes on at other brokerages. You may stay with your current broker, or you may decide the grass is greener somewhere else.

Find training.

So your broker doesn't have time to train you? Well, you’re going to have to learn somewhere. Find out from your local MLS what classes are available. Sometimes they offer free informational classes on topics du jour like mold or insurance. You can learn a lot.

You can find terrific coaches at Realty Times or at other magazines. Some coach by e-mail and phone. E-mail them your situation and determine which coach is right for you. Some coaches concentrate on new salesperson sales, such as Joeann Fossland, David Fletcher, and Jim Gillespie, while others focus on experienced salespeople or brokers. Some coaches, such as Jim Crawford (Internet marketing), Bill Koelzer (Web sites), and Gary Hall (contact managers), specialize in technology. Find the coach who is right for your situation, and let them coach you to success.

(c) Copyright 2003 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.

Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.

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