Entrepreneurs who can sell, communicate and network need apply

By Sherry Steele, education manager for real estate at OnCourse Learning

Enrolling in an online or brick-and-mortar real estate school could be the first step toward a satisfying career, if you have what it takes to do the job. Potential real estate students should be sure they are right for the real estate business before taking the plunge.

Real estate is a commission-based business; this means you get paid only when you close a transaction. The more closings, the more money you make. Being a self-starter is a fundamental part of being successful. It means you know how to work with people and how to promote yourself and your clients’ property.

Determining whether you have what it takes to work in any career is a daunting task. The same is true for real estate. The following insight into the profession can help potential students make the right decision.

Calling all entrepreneurs

Real estate is all about running your own business. Students who think real estate is only about looking at houses are in for a surprise. There is much more to the profession.

Having an entrepreneurial spirit is important to success in real estate. Being prepared to run your own business within the brokerage firm is a good start. As part of your business, you need to be prepared to promote yourself and develop tactics to grow your business every day. Real estate is all about finding people with whom to do business. The profession revolves around finding buyers and sellers and then putting them together to sell or buy property.

It’s also about generating leads, which includes engaging friends and family to help. A new customer who comes to you from a referral is golden. They already believe you are the best person to help them. Finding and maintaining these contacts is an integral part of the business.

For example, I have trained my family to not only give out my business card but also to request contact information so I can call the potential client.

Communication champions

Successful real estate professionals are comfortable starting conversations with anybody. Ask yourself, “Am I outgoing and comfortable enough to speak with strangers?”

Some of your clients might be friends and family members. But to have a successful business, you will need customers you have not met. These people will be from all walks of life and from different and unique cultures and backgrounds.

You don’t have to be an extrovert to be a good real estate professional, but you do need good social skills. Take a minute to consider:

  • Are you a good listener?
  • Can you answer questions on the fly?
  • Do you have the ability to anticipate prospective home seller and buyer questions?

I like to say real estate professionals have two main jobs. Half of the time you’re looking for business and people you can work with. The other half of the time is spent taking care of that business.

Networking and nurturing

Real estate is a business that requires networking and keeping that network of people actively working for you. For starters, you will want to stay in touch with past clients to know what’s going on in their lives. How else will you know if they or someone they know wants to buy or sell a piece of property?

Staying in touch might be through a monthly or quarterly newsletter or some other regular correspondence.

Real estate is a sales referral business. You have to find people willing to use your services who then are willing to help you find other potential buyers and sellers. It is critical to keep up those referrals and nurture relationships.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering a career in real estate? Share with us in the comments below!

Sherry Steele, a licensed real estate broker in Colorado with 32 years of experience, is the education manager for real estate at OnCourse Learning. OnCourse Learning delivers licensure, regulatory and compliance education solutions throughout the nation’s leading industries including financial services, healthcare and real estate.