Top five tips for sales rookies
When it comes to residential sales, Rebecca Herbst has been around the block – and then some. Beginning her career in real estate sales 22 years ago, the Bees Nees City Realty Sales Manager has experience in all facets of the real estate profession – be it property management, auctioneering or coaching sales and administration staff.
With a wealth of industry knowledge and several accolades under her belt, it’s hard to imagine a time when Herbst was a newcomer to the real estate industry. As Chair of the REIQ Residential Sales Chapter, she is passionate about inspiring the next generation of sales guns, and has generously sat down with the REIQ Insider to share her tips for sales rookies to excel in the world of real estate.
Kick starting her career in the late 90s, Herbst looks back and laughs at how difficult the process of selling a home was. With no online listings, the only enquiries came from someone walking through the doors of her office, or if she was lucky, from listing her phone number on a signboard.
“When I started we took photos on a camera with film, had to have them developed and then stick the picture on a cardboard window card to stick up in the window,” Herbst jokes.
“The details of your listings were in a binder and you had hundreds of them, but they were mainly open listings that everyone else had.”
However, she says whether you began selling houses twenty years ago or two months ago, the same core principles remain – friendliness, helpfulness and likeability.
Herbst has given real estate rookies the top five tips for rookies to survive and thrive within the property sector.
Real estate is not ‘easy money’ – so put in the hard yards!
If you pursued a career in real estate for the easy money and big commissions, Herbst has some bad news for you.
“When you look at the commissions we get paid, it seems like easy money – until you actually have to do the groundwork to get the first listing before you can even sell it,” says Herbst.
“Hundreds of calls and thousands of letterbox drops or knocks on door later, money spent on promoting yourself on social media or other avenues, you may be lucky and have an owner willing to entrust you with the biggest asset they will ever own.
“Then you actually have to work to sell it!
“If you work out the hourly rate an agent works for in their first year, you might as well work as a checkout chick.”
Keeping your budget lean and developing core marketing strategies will allow you to survive the first twelve months of your sales career, Herbst says.
Develop a thick skin
No matter how dedicated or passionate you are, you will always face rejection as a sales agent.
Herbst says the key is not to take it personally, because it will happen repeatedly (sometimes daily!) throughout your career.
“The first six months will be the toughest,” she says.
“Keep in the back of your mind, that in most cases they are not rejecting you as a person, they are rejecting what you are either asking of them, or what you are offering.
“Keep going, fine-tune your conversation and listening skills, work out what people want, how you can help them and make it as easy and stress-free as possible.”
Align yourself with a mentor, and never stop learning!
Finding an agency that you want to work for long term that aligns with your ethos is an important first step to take when beginning your career.
Whether you decide to shadow a senior salesperson as an associate or find a mentoring program, Herbst says the best way to set yourself up for longevity in the industry is to never believe you know everything about property.
“Listen to podcasts while you deliver letterbox drops, learn your ‘farm’ back to front and attend all the REIQ training available to you,” she says.
“Apply what you learn and always strive to improve.”
A decent handshake, polite nature and dressing well can earn you more business than you think
It may sound old fashioned, but politeness and presentation really can set you apart from your competitors.
However in the digital era, they also want ease of access to their agent – someone who is willing to respond outside of business hours, and that responds to enquiries promptly.
“You need to be dressed professionally, and in neat, clean clothes – you will also feel good about yourself,” she says.
“Responding promptly to calls and emails is really important – one of the biggest complaints you will ever hear about real estate agents is that no one ever gets back to them in a timely manner.
“People want your time, and the world has changed so that everyone wants everything immediately.
“So if you don’t provide that to them, they will find someone that will.”
Don’t just set one big goal – but a series of smaller, bite-sized ones
If Herbst could offer advice to her 24-year-old self, it would be to set more goals.
“Back when I started, you just worked and hoped you made enough to live,” she says.
“Don’t just set one big goal, but lots of different levels so you can achieve and feel satisfaction, yet keep striving on to the next one.
“Nowadays I know what I want to achieve, I have a picture of all of those goals in front of me on my wall, and I have broken down what I need to do to get me there.”
Herbst also says it’s important to reflect on what you have achieved already, and what is important to you both personally and professionally.
“It’s a constant reminder of why you go to work every day!”