RISMEDIA, April 22, 2011—I have done a lot of selling over the past 35-plus years—cumulatively at least a few hundred million dollars in personal selling. The largest single sale was a $1.5 million apartment building in the 1980s.
Most of my sales were just your average, median-priced home or typical duplex, up to 30-unit apartment building, a strip center here and there…and it took me a few years to really get going.
I sold everything: from condos, houses, apartment buildings, shopping centers, industrial properties, medical buildings, limited partnership interests in real estate investments to stocks (including REITS), bonds, mutual funds, tax services, financial planning services to website services, e-mail services to education programs, online and offline to, finally, the benefits of the Internet itself to the entire real estate industry.
I never thought I would have a career in selling, but it turned out that way. When I started in real estate, it was not the selling that I fell in love with; it was real estate that was my passion. It was only later that I grew to enjoy the excitement of writing the contract and the “close.”
What is the point? I arrived at a career in sales by default, which is more than likely the same situation for many in real estate today. So, here you are—where you may never have anticipated you would be—selling to earn a living. How do you make the most of it?
Effective selling is a skill to be developed for those serious about a sales career. Learn the art and science of sales. There have been many good books written on the subject. Develop a reading list, a schedule and then read.
Understand persuasion and how it fits into your business.
Think of yourself as a “helper” (no one wants to be “sold” something). After all, if you are in real estate sales, you are helping people with what is usually their most valuable asset—their home—and something they want to buy (or sell), or they would not be talking to you about it.
Here is a short list of what I believe is necessary for one to have an effective career in real estate sales (and most of it applies to sales in general):
– Product knowledge
– Communication skills—verbal skills and writing skills
– Access to potential clients
– Marketing skills
– Technology skills
– Financial skills—for business and your personal life
– Generational knowledge
– International knowledge
And let’s not forget….enough money (capital) to get you through startup and sustain you through the lean times.
Saul Klein is senior vice president, Point2, author of MLS 5.0 – The MLS of the Future Whitepaper, a licensed real estate broker in California for the past 32 years and 1993 President of the San Diego Association of REALTORS®. Klein created NAR’s ePRO Technology Certification Program in 2001 and NAR’s Web 2.0 & Social Media Course in 2009. Klein has been providing strategic planning and leadership programs to the industry since 1994 and is a 1972 graduate of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis.