Starting in real estate can be overwhelming to say the least. Aside from trying to figure out where to find clients, how to understand a transaction, and how to pay your bills in the interim, it seems your phone won’t stop ringing: Lead generation companies, CRM companies, service providers, office supply companies, advertising and marketing companies, brokerages trying to recruit you, all of whom are more than happy to help you – for a price. And while it may be tempting, some of the most important work you can do won’t cost you much of anything. Take every opportunity to engage with other real estate professionals. More simply: Get involved.
“That’s rich,” some of you are murmuring. Believe me, I hear you. It is somewhat known among my peers that in the past I haven’t been much of a joiner. I didn’t typically attend social functions. To this day I have never attended an award ceremony through my brokerage even though I’ve received many and proudly hang them on my office wall. It was said to me recently, “The number of people you are comfortable being around in a social setting typically settles right at about one.” Although said in good fun, I admit it is a fair observation. But it’s not reflective of what I believe so I had to do some thinking. I’ve always realized the value of relationships, and I feel very strongly about being a good steward of the REALTOR® title. But I undervalued the importance of getting involved in a broader sense which, as it turns out, is the easiest and best way to achieve both. Getting involved is more than who wins a chili cook-off, or who happens to be the best cornholer. It’s about giving back to our community that gives us so much. It’s about establishing relationships with industry peers so that those relationships can cultivate and be mutually beneficial which ultimately helps our future clients. It’s about fellowship and realizing despite all those lonely hours in your car driving around to and from, or being in your office with your face stuck in a computer, you’re not alone in this crazy business. Perhaps the one thing it does that resonates with me most of all: It’s about being available to others the same way others are available for me; it’s about collaboration.
The veterans of our industry talk a lot about how it used to be better in the good ol’ days before email and lockboxes, when you had to drive to an office to get keys and talk to the other agent face to face. While technology has made our jobs more efficient, it has hidden the importance of establishing and maintaining good relationships. And in an industry that is less about homes and more about people (there, I said it), we must be careful not forget that efficiency isn’t everything. With all that free time technology has given us, we should double down on relationship building.
While there are thousands of different business models, and a million more ways to go about doing what we do, we are one, and it takes all of us to matter. Getting involved unites us in our common goal of working to better ourselves so that we can be relevant and valuable to our communities. So the next time you’re tempted to buy that one more thing that will skyrocket your business, put the checkbook down and attend a Board meeting, take another REALTOR® from a different brokerage to coffee, meet a title rep or lender for lunch and ask them how they do what they do, or meet with an appraiser to find out what it’s like for them. Get busy establishing as many relationships as you can; it will cost you nothing, but the return will be everything.