What advice would you give someone to help them have a long, happy and successful career as a property agent?
I was fortunate enough to be in this position during a speech I gave at the National Federation of Property Professionals Awarding Body’s prestigious ‘Awards Ceremony’ last week.
I chose three matters to focus on…
The first was an observation – ‘never stop educating yourself’.
If there is one certainty in an ever-changing property world, it’s that the more knowledge and skills you have, the more you separate yourself from the herd. You become indispensable to both the public and the profession. This can’t help but lead to a longer, happier and more financially successful property career.
It doesn’t matter where the knowledge comes from. It could be attending a business skills workshop, obtaining a property qualification or simply reading a book. Better still, a little bit of each would be a powerful combination.
The important thing is that this becomes a habit during a career. Regularly educating yourself means you continually develop as an individual to fulfil your own potential and to better serve the customer.
The second thought I shared with the audience was ‘genuinely help your customers’.
If property agents want to survive and flourish in this ultra-competitive profession, the customer needs to be the focus of everything they do.
Henry Ford said: “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” This is as true today as it was then.
This means treating the customer with respect and not as if they were some impersonal entry on a database.
Property agents are not in the retail business. They are in the people business. They don’t sell everyday products like loaves of bread or a bag of apples.
Instead, they are likely dealing with a customer’s most expensive asset. Consequently, the customer needs personal guidance, help if things go wrong, and sometimes just someone to turn to for assurance. What they don’t want is to be treated as if they are buying a bag of sugar or a packet of fish fingers. And, to suggest otherwise is wrong.
Because it can be an emotional time for customers buying, selling, letting or renting property. An agent’s success will come from building long-term relationships with them on an individual basis so that one day the agent’s reputation is so far-reaching it’s attracting an overwhelming amount of business.
If an agent puts the customers’ needs before their own, treats them as individuals, has personal contact with them and genuinely goes the extra mile, then it has been my experience that great things will happen.
The third and final piece of advice I offered was ‘be kind to yourselves’.
Property agents can work in a stressful environment: long hours, a competitive market, dealing with challenging situations and sometimes dealing with equally challenging customers. It can take its toll if you’re not careful.
As property agents I wonder if sometimes we need to remind ourselves that life is a balance of work and play. We deserve to enjoy a little bit of both and be mindful not to let the stress of work ever overshadow life outside the office.
So there you have it – three things I believe can go some way to helping us have a long, happy and successful career as a property agent.
How about you?
What would be your advice?
Paul Jager is head of the property division at MOL, who write the workbooks for the NAEA and ARLA property qualifications and provide a variety of training in property and management.
For more details on these call MOL on 0345 203 2103 or visit their website at www.mollearn.com