Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Great Broker?
Jotham Sederstrom Nov. 28, 2012, 7:15 a.m.
Well, do you?
Real estate has become a very popular career choice. And why not? It’s a business that affords you the unlimited earning potential that few other careers can boast. The financial independence offered by this career allows you the flexibility to make lifestyle choices. Every day is an adventure. There is nothing more invigorating than being in the midst of the elite group of movers and shakers who create the ever-changing skyline of the city.
I polled several veteran brokers who are at the top of their game and have earned the respect of their peers. In addition to being highly organized, tenacious and disciplined, here is what they said is important for a promising future superstar.
• Read the nuances: Listen and see what is going on, both verbally and nonverbally. Actions speak a mouthful.
• Ethics are everything: “Do unto others …” is still the rule of the day. Make smart choices. Poor decisions almost always come back to haunt you.
• Remember the golden rule: Keep your eye on the deal and your client’s goals, rather than your commission. Although the client may not always be right, you still represent her. Your rewards will come later. Investors can sense when your interests are ahead of theirs.
• Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery: Align yourself with a mentor whom you admire, and learn. Imitate the brokers who are successful and absorb their best qualities. There are some excellent mentors in our industry.
One successful broker I spoke with told me that when he was just starting out, he would write articles for industry periodicals. A few years later, another broker began writing and used those same article ideas. Rather than be upset, he realized that it was actually a compliment, since most of the industry already knew who the original author was.
• Don’t spend like a rock star: If you rely solely on commissions for your livelihood, be prudent and plan for stagnant markets. Too many talented brokers had to leave the industry when the bad times hit. Always have a cushion so you can weather any storm.
• Mind your words on- and offline: They may come back to bite you. Your clients defer to you as their professional adviser. If you wouldn’t want that email, text or IM appearing on a billboard in Times Square, don’t hit the send button.
One veteran broker I spoke with learned a hard lesson when he forwarded an email from a client to his friend after adding a colorful description of the client, only to realize later that he sent the email to the client and not his friend.
• Work smart, not hard: Working painfully long hours does not necessarily earn you more dollars. Take a more global view of your goals and then fine-tune what needs to be done to achieve them.
• Affiliate yourself with strength: To best leverage your time and skills, find a brokerage firm that has a strong team of seasoned brokers. Collaboration among professionals benefits both you and the client. Do your homework. Speak with people in the industry, including former agents, attorneys and the press. Find a firm that complements your skill set and make your decision accordingly.
• Eat your humble pie daily: Be humble and gracious. Gratitude goes a long way
• Always take the high road: Being difficult or confrontational will not score points. Investors may challenge you and test your mettle. Keep your cool and state facts. Accept when you are wrong and find a solution to the problem.
• Use what you have: Polish up your talents and use them wisely. Another seasoned broker who was a great painter told me that whenever he sold a building, he would send a painting of it to the client. They always remembered him when they were ready to buy or sell.
• Keep a balance in your life: Brokerage is not a job. It’s a way of life. Once you meld it into the rest of your life, you will have a harmonious existence.
• Ask for the assignment: Remember that you will miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. So ask for the sale; get the offer. All you have is your time. Make the best use of it.
• Rejection is only a state of mind: Remember that feelings only last seven seconds unless you feed them thoughts.
Adelaide Polsinelli is senior director at Eastern Consolidated, an investment services firm in New York. She is a veteran real estate professional with more than 25 years of real estate brokerage experience.