2 Paths to Real Estate Sales Success

Published on August 17, 2011

In coaching REALTORS across the country, I am finding that a common question arises when someone is either new to the business or is redefining what they would like their business to look like. Maybe they are a few years into the field and have experienced the ups and downs in their income or they are realizing that there is a lot more to the business than at first meets the eye!

There are two ways to be in real estate as a sales person and be successful as I see it:

Option #1. Approach it as a business. You may be the business's only employee, but it is still a business nonetheless. To be successful, you will need to operate as any business operates including learning how to manage the financial operations, sales, customer service, marketing, staffing, etc.  In this option, you are responsible for the income and the overhead. You can ea

rn more income or buy your time back through leveraging certain tasks to other people who are talented but choose not to own and/or run their own business. If you choose not to own and run a business (which includes learning how to read a Profit and Loss statement... i.e. P&L), you may want to consider option #2.

Option #2: Working for someone else who runs a real estate business (i.e. a team, group, etc.), allowing you to just sell. There are many people who are great at sales and not at running a business, so being an independent contractor or employee who works under a system or structure works for them. With this option, you are responsible for only your role in the organ

ization (i.e. selling buyers, taking listings, administrative, or combination of roles) and typically not responsible for the overhead. The compensation per transaction may be less, but you may be able to do more transactions in this role and enjoy it more due to not having the headaches that come with the everyday management responsibilities inherent in running a business.

I have seen people who are highly successful in real estate in both scenarios. The key is to know what "success" looks like to you.

For me, I know that I do not work well for other people. Period. Never have. I like free reign to make decisions and do not want to answer to other people for those decisions. In my case, Option #2 is not really an option for me. I would rather carry the burden of all the tasks of running a business including the possibility of financial strain in order to have freedom of choice. I have also had some really great sales people working with me in my career who were amazing with buyers and sellers and did not have a need to be "in charge" or be the decision maker and they made a great living working within our structure. They liked someone else handling the details and taking the risks and all they wanted to do is lead generate, show or list, and close. A match made in Heaven as I saw it.

In the popular book by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, they outline something called the path to the 7th level. The book is written for those like me who prefer option #1 as their path. When talking about the 3rd “L” (a.k.a. Leverage), Keller outlines how real estate business owners can hire and train talented people to help them buy back their time and/or increase their sales. The people he is talking about hiring are people who fit into option #2 above and prefer to work for someone else.

Both option #1 and option #2 are great options for working successfully in the real estate business. In order to decide which option is best, ask yourself some questions and create the vision in your mind of what the “perfect” role is for you:

1. How well do I work for other people? What is my track record with this? Do I do better as my own boss or under the guidance of a strong leader?
2. Do I like to be the decision maker or am I "ok" with mandates and following rules set forth by others?
3. Do I need my own brand or am I content with working under someone else's brand? Is my own public identity important?
4. What are my strengths? Am I business minded? If not, am I willing to take the time needed to learn how to be and/or do I have the money to hire that part out?
5. What is my end goal? Do I want to eventually have people working for me or do I just want to sell and close deals?
6. Do I need to have support systems in place or am I the type that likes to create the support systems myself?
7. What do I prefer to spend my time doing?
8. Do I have the capital reserves to build an infrastructure ... or am I willing to lead with revenue to grow it over time?
9. Am I the type person who needs a group approach in my work or do I work better independently?
10. Am I "ok" with answering to someone else for my results?

These questions will at least get you started.

Another great way to determine whether option #1 or #2 is best for you is to just close your eyes and imagine yourself having the ideal day. What are you doing?  Who is in the picture? What are they doing? How do you feel? Now write it down or journal it in your daily journal. Be specific... get very clear and vivid in your image of your ideal day, week, month, year, etc. Based on your image, ask yourself what the best role is for you and how that role can best be carried out...which option best describes your image of an ideal day.

There is not “right” way to be successful in real estate. Success is determined by your own definition and whether or not you are living the life you designed in your definition!

I love the quote by attributed to Earl Nightingale that says, "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal."

Figure out YOUR ideal and then make it happen!

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