Cup of Joe: Lessons From An Ex-Real Estate Lurker
Before I owned my own business, I worked in-house for a large real estate brokerage. If you want to learn about sales go work for a real estate company. Apart from a handful of support staff most are completely run by sales agents. I learned a lot about sales and business while working there. But the two lessons that stuck out the most were:
Get Out of The Office.
There are two types of real estate agents, those that sell, and those that don’t sell. Now, of course that’s a very general statement but, by and large, it’s true. When I worked in real estate about 90% of our company’s revenue came from about 10% of our agents. From what I have heard this is a similar statistic at other firms. There are a lot of different reasons that some are better at real estate sales, but one of the most obvious to me was some agents didn’t come into the office. In fact, some only came in for meetings and to get the right paper work. These agents understood that buyers and sellers of real estate aren’t hanging out in our office, just other real estate agents are. So they went to where their market is. On the surface, most of these agents looked like they were playing golf, lounging at the local bar, or wasting time in a coffee shop. But what they were always doing, was closing deals. These agents understood that to sell anything they needed to spend the time developing the right relationships, something you can’t do sitting in an office all day.
Do What Works.
So what about the agents that stayed in the office? What did they do? Most of them did what my boss liked to call, “busy work”. They organized their paper work, designed flyers, made cold calls, I even saw an agent spend two weeks designing a post card mailer. Can you guess how much of all that work generated new revenue for the company? Very very little. Despite the fact that many preached the power of the internet, few took the time to learn how to harvest it. As a result, these agents generated very little revenue.
So you can see that in order to do well in sales and in business you have to understand what works, and then get out of the office and do it. And the cool thing is, you can apply this anywhere. Take social media for example, how much money have you made through Twitter? Do you know? Is it much? If not, then why are you wasting your time on it. What about Facebook or Google+? Are they working for you? If so, then keep up the good work! But if not then you are just engaging in “busy work” and not going anywhere.
Because at the end of the day, social media, SEO, personal branding, and all of the other things that we obsess over, don’t really matter if we aren’t making money. Because, remember that’s what marketing is for!