The President of the United States gets 100 days to prove himself. You get less. A lot less.
But like the President, what you do in the early days of your new career will largely determine whether you sink or swim.
This is a time of opportunity for you. A chance to start fresh. A new beginning. But it’s also a time of vulnerability. You’re a stranger in a strange land–with just a few dollars in your pocket.
The stakes are obviously high.
Failure in the early days of your career can spell the end of a promising business. So this post is not just about exploiting opportunities and advancing your career. It’s also about preventing failure.
Therefore, your goal should be to arrive at critical mass as rapidly as possible. If you succeed in this, you’ll free up precious time to focus on business development.
Follow these 10 critical strategies and you will inevitably exploit opportunities, prevent failures and advance your career.
1. Promote Yourself
First and foremost, make a clear break with your last job. Quit it if at all possible. Part-timers are crummy real estate agents.
Then, hit the ground running. Announce to everyone you know–including your old boss and co-workers–that you are a real estate agent. What you want is immediate traction. This means reworking your network.
Furthermore, learn everything you can about real estate. And start sharing that information. On a blog. In a newsletter. At networking events.
And most importantly: watch out for people who want to hold you back.
2. Accelerate Your Learning
If you aren’t a reader–become one. Fast. If you aren’t a learner–get over it. You’ll need to become one if you want to succeed in real estate.
Now, if you have trouble learning or find reading boring, do this: view it as an investment. Imagine every hour spent learning is a possible $100 down the road.
Furthermore, to be systematic about learning, you’ll need to define your learning agenda. You’ll need to find the best sources of insight (this could be designations, coaching, conferences or mentors. Or all of them). What’s always helped me when I want to learn something is to adopt a learning plan. This will work for you, too.
3. Match Strategy to Situation
Always diagnose the business situation you are entering before you create a strategy. Is it a hot market or a sluggish market? Urban or rural? What are the challenges and opportunities? Should you play offense or defense? What are the right skills needed to lead?
Also, understand the history, the people and the culture of your market. This can be some of your best clues on how to succeed in your market.
4. Nail Down Early Wins
While there are a lot of ways to build credibility, early wins is certainly one of the best.
What is an early win? Great thing about early wins in real estate is that you get to define them. An early win could be getting a buyer for a piece of property your company’s best salesperson has been having trouble selling. Or it could be as small as meeting key leaders in your city.
Early wins involve rewards not just for your clients or co-workers–but for you, too. But whatever the win, make sure it’s a tangible result. Something you can measure.
5. Negotiate Success
How do you build a productive relationship with the people you work with–whether clients or co-workers? There are several do’s and don’ts.
First, the do’s. Take responsibility for making every relationship work. Clarify expectations ealry and often. Negotiate times for action. Aim for early wins important to your clients and co-workers. Pursue relationships with people your clients and co-workers respect.
Second, the don’ts. Never trash the past. Don’t avoid communicating with your clients or co-workers. Never surprise them. Never approach them with problems only. Never run down a checklist. Never try to change the people you work with.
6. Get Alignment from Key People
Think of yourself as an architect for your business. You’re the one who’s responsible for making sure your business is productive, effective and efficient. And that the important people in your business–the one’s who are going to help you succeed–are behind your strategy.
This includes all the obvious people: your boss, partner, manager and co-workers. But believe it or not, this also includes your spouse. He or she needs to be on board with you are doing. Otherwise, expect grief.
7. Build Your Team
I can honestly say that the number one way to grow a business is to build a team. In other words, delegate work. Rock star agents probably not so much, but other successful agents move rapidly to add people to their team because they realize they can accomplish more when they have a group of people working as one on a compelling vision.
8. Create Coalitions
Sooner or later, you will need the support of peers–whether you like them or not. That’s why it’s so important to identify supporters and opponents, and then figure out how you can influence them.
This might mean you’ll have to humble yourself and act kindly toward someone you can’t stand. If that makes you want to hurl, think about this: one act of kindness now could lead to a strategic advantage in the future. One act of defiance now could lead to a stonewall–and a critical failure.
9. Keep Your Balance
This is the real estate killer–unending work. Seven day work weeks. Midnight closing times. Going into the office on holidays. Allow this to happen and you will burnout, or worse, lose your family.
Take stock, set limits on your business and be disciplined. For example, you could have a goal for a four-day work week. Or a four hour work week. Whatever your plan, stick to it.
10. Develop Everyone
If you follow the previous strategies you should be well on your way to reaping a rewarding real estate career. However, you’re not done.
Don’t forget about the people around you. Make it a plan to develop every member on your team into a leader. Help those in your peer or mastermind group to grow. Help client’s achieve success outside of buying or selling a home. Ask yourself: whose life can I accelerate?
If you want more help on making that transition between jobs, read Michael Watkins The First 90 Days.
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