The key to great partnerships is communication, and great communication can often start by asking great questions.
Congratulations, you’re a new agent! How exciting! Man, I remember those first crazy steps into this business and an industry that I have come to love and work in for more than 30 years.
Would I change anything about those early days? Maybe. But I was 19 at the time, so there was lots of life to learn alongside lots of real estate skills, tools and good common business sense. The same is probably true of you, right?
I had the distinct advantage of having amazing brokers in my life who were instrumental in my finding my footing as a real estate agent quickly, and I am grateful for that. It sure does make a difference. I wish the same for you.
First and foremost, your broker should be your partner. You should look out for each other. They will hopefully offer you wisdom, guidance and the tools you need to succeed. You, in turn, will help them grow their business as you grow your own.
The key to great partnerships is communication, and great communication can often start by asking great questions. Let’s dive into 11 that you should be asking in your first 30 days.
1. Who are the full-time producing agents on the team?
These are great examples to follow, learn from and perhaps shadow while you get your feet wet. Like kids, some of the best learning we can do is by watching what other people do who have “been there, done that and have the receipts.”
Have grace if they open the door for you to learn from them. Be respectful and responsive, and say thank you often. The years they can shave off your learning curve will be enormous; treat that as the gift that it is.
2. Are there any off-limits farm areas?
Some of the top producers in your office have spent years cultivating farm areas in your market, and many brokers respect that and prefer that new agents do as well.
Here are a few rules of thumb for choosing your farm area:
- There’s not another agent who has a 15-20 percent market share (especially if they are a team member).
- The average home price is an amount that makes sense to you. The time required to work to farm a neighborhood with $300,000 homes and one that has $60,000 is nearly equal.
- Find a neighborhood that has a 7-10 percent turnover rate. (Add up properties sold within 12 months, and divide by number of homes in the area.
3. What is the schedule of office meetings or trainings?
If your broker is engaging team members with meetings and mentoring and training, you should prioritize these things on your calendar. They are that important to your success. Think like old Ben Franklin: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
4. What MLS courses or education opportunities are available to you?
In addition to your brokerage, your local MLS and board will have training, tools and educational opportunities that are available.
5. What additional training does your brokerage support?
Are you detecting a theme yet? The more you know, the better you’ll get, and the faster you’ll get there. Webinars, seminars, checklists, tool kits, mentoring programs, the works.
Although I don’t advocate you spend all your time learning and not doing, it’s vital to create space and time every week toward building your skills and knowledge and putting those skills and knowledge into practice.
To use an analogy, you don’t become a great pianist by watching a video or taking a course. You get great by putting your fingers on the keys and practicing, practicing, practicing. Same here.
6. Does the office do caravans?
These can be tremendous opportunities for you to learn about your teammates, get to know them and network with them while at the same time you are getting to know more about your market. It’s a win-win.
7. Does your company have a standard listing slide deck or presentation that you can customize for your listing appointments?
These should include the broker story, company story or both. That history helps you to build credibility in the eyes of a seller, especially in the early days.
8. What company tools and systems should I learn?
Every organization has systems and tools in place to help create processes and flow designed to keep things from falling through the cracks. It’s important for you to learn and tap into those systems.
9. How do I read the daily MLS reports effectively?
Wow, there is such a wealth of market knowledge in those reports, such as time on market, new listings, new sales, price adjustments, etc. Ask your broker to help you understand how to read them and process that information so that you can get to know your market better in the most time-efficient way.
10. Who are the support team members, and what should I know about them?
From administrative assistants to transaction coordinators to receptionists, to everyone else on the support team, these people are the life-blood of an organization, and frankly, they are often under-appreciated or acknowledged.
Get to know them. Show them appreciation. Figure out how you can help them — not just because they can help you back (and they sure can), but because it’s a great practice as a human being and denotes tremendous character!
11. What are your top 3 tips for me as I start with your company?
You know, most agents won’t ask this question. Most brokers have a sense of pride and ownership about their organization, experience, team, and their journey, and if prompted, might just give you some incredibly thoughtful answers that can become anchors for your success. Prompt them.
Done right, there is no ceiling to what you can do or accomplish. I encourage you to dream big, think big and work with your broker to ask big questions so that you can create phenomenal answers for yourself and your business.