Real Estate must-haves for success

The 600 plus RE/MAX of Southern Africa delegates who attended the extremely successful RE/MAX of Southern Africa Stars Convention 2013 held at Sun City during February, were inspired and motivated by keynote speaker, Brian Buffini, the world’s leading real estate trainer.

Working towards better time management, establishing a clear focus and purpose as well as developing a specialised skill set were some of the key topics Buffini covered with RE/MAX Broker/Owners and sales associates attending the convention. These elements, when matched with a high performance attitude, excellent customer service, and well-defined goals, form core components of Buffini’s recipe for success. But overall, its relationships that count.

Buffini says the difference between success and just coasting along will be the same in 10 years, as it is today; the fundamentals don’t change. According to Buffini, estate agents need to have the right habits, attitude and skills in order to succeed.

He explains that estate agents need to develop good habits, and be aware of the bad habits that will get them into trouble. Buffini also emphasises the importance of being informed and having a positive attitude. He asks: “Are you going to be driven by what the media says, or are you going to know the facts and understand the numbers so you’re a true professional?” Buffini says that it is essential that estate agents are well informed.

Buffini is emphatic that realtors should always work at sharpening their skills. “The best agents seek out conferences like these and continuously look for ways to grow. They want to learn from their peers.”

He says that knowing what you want and why you are in the business, and then building a plan around that, is critical for success. According to Buffini, it doesn’t have to be a perfect plan, but at least if you have a plan to begin with, you have something to keep you on track and headed in the right direction.

“The more people are willing to work on themselves - growing their strengths, overcoming their weaknesses, getting accountability, seeking the best training, associating with people they want to emulate - the more they’ll grow, and the more their incomes will grow,” he says.

Because it is difficult for most people to know what they want, Buffini says he often starts by asking people what it is that they don’t want: “It is much easier to know what you don’t want. And if you have been in the business long enough, you should know what your client wants and doesn’t want. It is difficult for people to plan and prepare when the market is good but that is when you need to think about your habits - if they’re taking you closer to where you want to be and what you want to do. People need to be more intentional.” In Buffini’s opinion, an estate agent should never leave home without knowing what they are going to do that day. “Don’t start your day without knowing how you want it to end,” he says.

When asked what challenges he thinks estate agents will face in the next five years and how they can overcome them, Buffini says that agents need to know what is happening in their market, understand the media and its influences, and be careful that technology does not drive content. “Technology,” he says, “doesn’t always drive business. Content and relationships drive technology. Estate agents will need to work with intention and know what they want to accomplish. In today’s world, while technology is fabulous if used with the right people and in the right way, it can only help to build relationships, but it doesn’t create them.  In other words, realtors need to have those relationships to build in the first place, and technology can help support those relationships. People also need to be conscious of the fact that there is more accountability through social media and, again, they need to be intentional about their personal brand - who they want to be and what they want to be known for.”

To those estate professionals starting out in today’s property market, Buffini says that finding a company that is supportive from a training standpoint - and not just technological training – is vital. He says, “Look for a company that has a training program that actually produces results and has people in the office you can meet and talk to about their journey. You need to find a company that is interested in you, instead of just recruiting you and then leaving you on your own. I don’t think anyone should settle - you deserve more than that.”

For Buffini, it’s simple: real estate success, or any success for that matter, comes down to the activities you do to get there. He says, “When starting out in real estate, make a list of all the people you know and let them know you’re in the property business. Keep in constant contact with them; first, provide value, then ask for referrals. The other side of it is, don’t get caught up in emotions; sometimes how you feel and what is actually taking place are two different things. You need a mentor; you need to find people that can encourage you. For people who first get into the business, there’s nothing you’re going to experience that somebody who has five, six, twelve, twenty years of experience hasn’t already gone through.”

When it comes to real estate Buffini says that whether it is Cape Town, California or Vancouver, while geographically things may be different and there are nuances to markets, the questions estate agents face are essentially the same: “Where is my next lead coming from?” “Who’s going to refer me?” and “What am I going to do this month?”

Buffini says: “I think what can happen a lot of the time is people don’t budget their time and activities in a way that is going to be most productive. Many agents also focus on the deal that they have with such a desire to service that costumer that they actually rob themselves of the opportunity to find the next client.”

The real estate industry, typically, does not offer business training, or have business people; it has sales people who do a great job of hustling and getting going. Buffini says that realtors need to acquire the skills of a professional business owner, so they can work more efficiently and increase their profitability. “They don’t need to work twelve hours a day, seven days a week; they don’t need to lose their marriages or their kids - it’s not worth it. They just need to work differently, knowing what they want to do and who they want to do it with. They need to have an action plan of what they want to do each and every day.”

“While these are all fundamentals, they are very powerful. They take a bit of time and a bit of repetition, but they can ultimately be the difference between success and failure.”

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that over 800 RE/MAX Broker/Owners and agents in Southern Africa have achieved great success with Buffini’s training programmes. These courses are offered by RE/MAX, who is licensed to distribute Buffini training to its membership in Southern Africa.

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