“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” W. Edwards Deming
What’s the saying? Adapt or die.
It’s an adage Realtors can appreciate because real estate always lands its share of change. If you’re an active Realtor I offer you my heartiest “congratulations” for having survived the tsunami of transformation the industry has endured over the last few years.
But let me quickly follow up with, “Don’t rest on your laurels.” A new year is here and with it will come more change. Some of the trends that will keep you from resting on your laurels are these:
- More competition from new agents entering the profession who are smart, tech savvy and hungry. – More diversity in your potential clients, with both younger (millennials are finally having success getting mortgages) and older (baby boomers) consumers entering the market no doubt with differing housing needs. – More technology in homes. This could be the year consumers truly expect the latest in smart home automation. – More social media. I know, it’s hard to believe there could be more, but it continues to gather strength as a powerful marketing tool in business across many industries. – More inventory of homes. Yes, finally supply is catching up with demand.
So what skills match these trends — skills you’ll need to make 2018 a great year? Here are my best suggestions:
1. Learning Skills. No surprise here. The more things change, the more you need to learn. Make an extra effort to stay up on the latest changes in real estate with an emphasis on your local market and farm area. Regularly check your local Realtor association for continuing education and professional development courses and commit to take them as soon as you can.
2. Computer/Technical Literacy Skills. Again, no shock here. That’s been the case for the last 20 years, but as each year unfolds, it’s becoming more and more of an imperative. I’d like you to think of technology in two ways: one as a way to make your work days more efficient (i.e., software for getting and converting leads, stay in touch with prospects, reaching prospects, handling administrative tasks, etc.); and two as a way that makes your prospects’ lives easier – specifically taking time to better understand how technology is being used in homes.
3. Communication and Interpersonal Skills. Yep, another common need in real estate. But again, I can’t stress their importance as time passes. Always take every opportunity to polish your listening, speaking and writing skills. And take time to appreciate the differences in each generation and adapt to each one. One day you’re working with a 20-something newbie and the next a 65-year-old retired couple looking to downsize. Each has very different needs and ways of communicating. And know how to set expectations, especially for those younger buyers entering the market. I’ve seen far too many deals fly off the rails because agents didn’t prepare buyers on what to expect during the home-buying process.
At this point you might be thinking, “Gee, Bubba, this sounds like a good bit of work.” And you know what I say: “Darn right. Success takes work and plenty of it.” There’s always a certain level investment of time, energy, and money needed to be successful at anything – and the real estate industry is no different. If you’re passionate about your job and you’re willing to put in the work in to improve your skills, you also have a better chance at improving your career.