How to Grow as a Realtor with Training and Systems
Mar 08, 2023 | Realtor Resources | Share:
Every realtor wants to have a successful business and serve their clients well.
Sometimes, you need to try new strategies to work within a changing real estate market. Outstanding customer service and a commitment to good sales practices can really improve your business.
But realtors also need to pay attention to improving themselves. Birmingham realtor Leigh Cound is sharing her advice with realtors who want to grow both personally and professionally.
Time to Reflect and Set Goals
As anyone in the real estate industry knows, 2021 and 2022 were crazy years. Seasoned realtors experienced record-setting years, and newer realtors had to hit the ground running.
Birmingham-area realtor Leigh Cound says, “Beyond what they needed to know to be licensed, newer realtors didn’t have the time to learn real estate basics. And honestly, they didn’t really have to. But in a more typical market, these realtors certainly need these fundamentals.”
Now that the market has begun to normalize, both newer realtors and those who have been in the business a little longer have the opportunity to regroup and evaluate their business practices. Everyone can use this time to identify current strengths, needs, and goals.
Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:
- What am I doing well?
- What am I most proud of?
- Where do I have knowledge gaps?
- What part of my business excites me?
- Where do I want to grow?
- What am I hoping to learn how to do this year?
While it can be helpful to set goals for production, this season is particularly well-suited to setting goals for personal improvement. Whether you’ve been a realtor for six months or over twenty-five years, everyone can benefit from a period of reflection and goal-setting.
Realtor Training and Professional Development
You can never learn everything there is to know about real estate. As markets change, technologies evolve, and practices shift, there are always opportunities to learn new things. If you haven’t made professional development a priority in the past, now is the perfect time to seek out training opportunities and make them a part of your plan for growth.
Your brokerage is a great place to start when looking for training opportunities. “While every brokerage is different, I can find different training opportunities every day of the week at mine. Even our sales meetings are amazing opportunities to learn and receive training, so I make it a priority to never miss a sales meeting,” Cound explains. Your brokerage can also connect you with training opportunities offered by local vendors or outside associations.
You can also look to other realtors in your brokerage for mentoring relationships. “I’ve found that most real estate agents are very generous with their time and love to help other agents. Newer realtors can really benefit from a mentoring relationship with a more experienced agent. But even agents who’ve been in the business for a while can always learn from other agents,” she continues.
Training from Title Companies and Lenders
You can also reach out to local title companies and lenders for training and professional development. Cound says, “Not many people come into the real estate industry with a lot of background knowledge about title insurance or lending. And these companies are very eager to provide training to realtors.”
“It can be really challenging to explain the importance of title insurance to your clients,” Cound acknowledges. “Title training can help you communicate more clearly with your clients and make the closing process more straightforward and transparent.”
Lenders are another valuable resource for training. “The market changes every day, and lenders really understand what’s going on,” Cound says. “And lenders offer programs and options such as Buydowns and ARMs that newer realtors have never had to work with. All realtors need to have a basic understanding of these to serve their clients well.”
Other Training Opportunities
Once you start investigating realtor training opportunities, you’ll find out how extensive these opportunities truly are. Your area realtor community may provide training opportunities, or you can take online courses from the National Association of Realtors. Social media can also be a great source for specific training.
Cound says, “I’m a member of several great Facebook groups for realtors that offer training. I can log on at any time during the day and find really valuable training opportunities. Our brokerage has a Facebook page where agents in our office share best practices and offer answers to questions and solutions to problems throughout the day and night. Another Facebook group I find helpful - LabCoat Agents - is open to agents across brokerages all over the country.”
Questions to Ask about Training
Because there are so many opportunities for training, it’s helpful to clarify the type of training you want to focus on for this season. These questions can help you identify the training you might need:
- Where do you have knowledge gaps? If you find yourself consistently googling your clients’ questions about a certain topic such as title insurance, that’s a good indicator that you need to grow your knowledge.
- Where do you have skill gaps? If the idea of running Facebook ads makes your palms sweat or you’ve never had to negotiate an inspection repair, you probably need to sharpen specific skills.
- What strengths do you want to nurture? You can also play to your strengths or personal interests. For example, Cound says that she really enjoys staging and loves learning from staging companies and other agents who stage homes.
Remember that you can’t do everything all at once! You may find that you have several areas where you’d like to grow. Decide what’s most important to you and try to focus on that one thing before tackling other topics.
Set Up Systems and Tools to Streamline Your Business
Tools and systems can really make your life easier and your real estate business more effective, but these usually take time to establish. When things are busy, you often don’t have time to think about a new tool – much less implement one. But a slower season is the perfect time to establish systems or implement new tools.
Cound advises new realtors to really think through their basic processes. “It isn’t quick and it isn’t fancy, but now is the perfect time to make sure you have good systems in place. What do you do from the time you get a buyer to the time you close on a home? Do you have systems in place for maintaining that relationship after closing? You can also think through your seller and listing systems.”
“Set up these systems while you have time to put them together, and before you’re overwhelmed with business,” Cound says. “I waited too late to establish these, and I definitely regretted it.” When you establish good systems, you’re setting yourself up for a more efficient and effective real estate business.
More established realtors may consider hiring outside help. “My greatest tool is leverage. I hired a marketing coordinator about two years ago and she has been a game-changer for me. Although I have a marketing background, I found that I just didn’t have time to do anything with all of my ideas. My marketing coordinator has helped me implement ideas and develop systems I can actually follow through with.”
Other realtors may find planning tools, CRM software, or apps helpful in streamlining their business. There are countless tools out there that can make your life easier, but a tool on its own isn’t helpful. You need to have a strategy for implementing that tool and integrating it into your business practices.
Establish Personal and Professional Habits
Everyone knows it can be challenging to establish a new habit, and breaking old habits can be even harder. And when you’re busy, habit-building (or breaking) can be even harder. Now may be the perfect time for you to evaluate habits you’d like to establish for your personal or professional benefit.
Cound says, “I’m coming out of such a crazy season. There were days and weeks where I’d hit the ground running and not stop until my head hit the pillow. And although I was experiencing a lot of success, it was also really unfulfilling.”
“I’ve started getting back in the habit of starting my day with a cup of coffee and some quiet time reading scripture and praying. This helps me start my day knowing that no matter what happens, my heart and mind are focused on what truly matters. If a contract falls apart, I’m able to remember that God is who He says He is. And if another agent or client is frustrated with me, I’m reminded that God is enough,” she continues.
Whether you’re looking to establish a personal habit such as a daily devotional time or a professional habit such as posting more regularly on social media, you’ll want to choose a habit that truly matters to you and your priorities. It can also be helpful to focus on building just one new habit at a time. “Other things – like exercise – are on my list of habits that I’d like to build, but for now I’m just trying to focus on this one thing,” Cound says.
When it comes to personal and professional growth, Cound recommends that realtors stay connected to their office and the other agents in their office. “Remember that you’re not on you’re own! I’ve found that most realtors genuinely want to help and support one another.” She also encourages realtors to ask questions, follow their interests, and start small.
At South Oak, we love partnering with realtors to help them grow both personally and professionally. Whether you need title insurance training, want to improve your clients’ closing experience, or just want to be connected with other realtors, we’re here to help. Contact us with your questions or to learn more about training opportunities at South Oak.
Leigh Cound is a Birmingham native who has been helping families find their dream homes for over twelve years. With a reputation as a trusted advisor and expert in her field, she loves helping clients make informed decisions about buying or selling a property. You can learn more about Leigh at coundrealty.kw.com.