The biggest fallacy in the mind of a newly licensed real estate agent, and unfortunately, many brokers, “I passed the tests, paid my fees, I’m now a sales professional.” Taking the prescribed number of CE hours mandated by each state, passing the required tests, and paying the necessary fees are a wonderful accomplishment. In reality, it is only the first step in a journey to become a qualified sales expert.
Knowledge of Agency Law, Fair Housing, Ethics, MLS, Listings, and more are extremely important in the real estate field. Equally important to learn, and practice, are basic selling skills. Agents come from a variety of backgrounds, homemakers, delivery people, teachers, laborers, accountants, engineers, students and others have joined the field and lack a background in sales. In my experience, ongoing training at real estate company’s focus on a continuation of fair housing rules, correct usage of buyer and listing paperwork, and title, mortgage, and warranty company’s that are available to the agent.
Many brokers also lack a sales background and do not feel comfortable with the sales process and so this aspect of real estate sales is deemed unimportant or ignored. This is a detriment to the real estate firm and the agent. Goal setting, planning, marketing analysis, marketing pieces, listing and buyer presentations, and closing skills are all integral parts of basic selling techniques. When agents learn and use the techniques properly, they will maximize their sales success.
Even on a national level, the importance of basic selling skills is overlooked. The 2009 National Real Estate Convention is taking place in beautiful San Diego, California in November. There are over 95+ program sessions dealing with every aspect of the real estate market. Topics include; Real Estate Marketing in 2010 & Beyond, Introduction to Social Media, Discovering Your Memory Power, International Networking Event, Winning the Name Game and more. The only topic dealing with sales is titled New Sales Speak. According to the brief overview, this program discusses advanced closing language and techniques.
Following are important basic selling skills and their importance and once mastered can increase effectiveness in obtaining listings and buyers.
Many methods of communication are not refined without training. An efficient and effective sales agent knows how to use probing questions, when to use silence, and when to utilize experiences for maximum effect.
A true sales professional is always trying to find new ways to help the client see the benefits of the features they have presented. Without finding and using new techniques, the agent may rely on past selling methods that worked in a robust economy but may not be effective in a different economic climate. Ultimately, agents who do not grow with new sales skills see their sales decrease or remain even and that is not good for the agent or agency.
Time and Territory Management
Planning, preparation, paperwork, and research are important parts of an agent’s responsibility. Information is the key to success and up-to-date data assist the agent to develop current neighborhood information and accurate comparables. The more effective an agent can become in these areas the more time will be available to meet face to face with prospective clients.
Listening is often overlooked as a selling skill. A properly trained sales professional understands that taking an active role in listening to a client will help them find the clients need and then design a solution and obtain the listing or help the buyer.
Author Robert Lewis Stevenson said, “Everyone lives by selling something.” The “something” a real estate agent sells is a valuable service and we do that by a strict code of ethics. Why not be the best at every aspect of the profession, not only having knowledge of real estate sales, but also learning and using sales skills effectively to help people with the largest purchase or sale of their lives. You can increase your sales, even in a challenging economy, if you learn basic selling techniques. You have a license to sell, use it wisely.