3 tips to help budding brokers go from surviving to thriving

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Getting your broker’s license is just the start of the story, broker-owner and educator Elisha Lopez writes. Here’s how to elevate your brokerage career to the highest heights.

No one can predict the future of real estate, but you can prepare. Find out what to prepare for and pick up the tools you’ll need at the immersive Virtual Inman Connect online Nov. 1-2, 2023. And don’t miss Inman Connect New York on Jan. 23-25, 2024, where AI, capital and more will be center stage. Bet big on the roaring future, and join us at Connect.

While real estate agents take extensive courses to prepare for their careers, brokers are often ignored and expected to figure out how to succeed with little to no training or support. At our brokerage, we use our years of experience and our custom training program to help guide our team in advancing their businesses and careers.

Here are our top three tips to help budding brokers succeed.

Master the basics

For brokers to build a successful brokerage, they need to master the basics of real estate. Time and time again, I’ll meet with those who were dazzled during their pre-licensing class by all the bells and whistles of owning their own business and decided to skip practicing real estate and jump right into becoming a broker.  

In our 12-week training program, “Not To Just Survive But Thrive in Real Estate,” we review all the basic skills. The number one tool we expect our students to master is their scripts. We don’t have a book; we have 10 pages of scripts.

Whether you have sales experience or not, you need to master the language patterns of our industry. Doing so will help you fearlessly engage in conversations, negotiations and objections. Those are timeless skills that must be personally mastered and then taught to every member of the team. 

A good broker needs experience with negotiations and helping clients through the emotional rollercoaster of buying and selling a home. A great broker can do it while overcoming objections in unpredictable markets through recessions and booms. 

An excellent broker has mastered the basic skills and taught them to another person.

If you haven’t yet mastered real estate sales and then successfully passed that along to one agent, how will you teach multiple agents who are asking for help and looking to you for guidance?

Define value proposition

Define your value proposition. You’ll need to figure out what you value and how that will set you apart from the competition. Will you provide a seamless service or a white glove experience? Will you focus on educating your clients every step of the way or specialize in life transitions like a career change, growing family, divorce or death? Defining your area of expertise will draw clients with specific needs to you. 

You’ll also need to decide what type of brokerage you’ll be. Will you become a boutique that simply provides leads, a traditional team structure, a small mom-and-pop storefront, invest in commercial real estate or become a franchise? Not only will these decisions frame your organization, but they’ll also reveal what path you’ll need to take to find support.

You can’t run a business like this on your own. You can try, but you’ll end up exhausted and isolated. A network of support can not only contribute innovative ideas and business solutions, but it will also provide people who can relate to the emotional challenges you’ll face.

Many franchises will already have a support network built into the framework, but if they don’t, or you go off on your own, you’ll need to find and build that support. The clearer you are about your value and expertise, the easier it will be to find guidance.

You need to spend money to make money

When starting a brokerage, funds can be very tight and it’s tempting to cut costs by doing everything yourself. Don’t start building a team if you have to continue taking on your own clients to make ends meet.

We recommend you wait until the business is booming so much that you absolutely have to hire more agents to help carry the load. If you still need to make ends meet with your own clients, you won’t have time to tend to your team’s needs.  

The one place you cannot afford to cut funds is leadership support. As a broker, you’ll need to continue learning from others who have systems in place to manage accounts, keep up with marketing trends, support agents as they struggle and grow and provide ongoing education for them. Join a community of broker leaders, a mastermind group or hire a coach. It may cost money upfront, but the ROI is huge.

Think about the investments we recommend homeowners make before they put their homes on the market. A fresh coat of paint and manicured landscaping will always increase its value. If you absolutely can’t afford to hire a coach, don’t have time to join a leaders group or you need to keep working with your own clients to remain solvent, perhaps you aren’t ready to take on a team of agents. 

It’s never too late to make things right. If you are a broker who has tried to train your own team and realized it was out of your capacity, go back to the basics. Master your craft. Define the type of brokerage you will be, and join a leadership community.

You don’t have to do this alone. In fact, you shouldn’t. No matter where you are today, if you invest in a solid foundation, you will be able to carry your team and brokerage to the highest heights.

Elisha Lopez is a real estate broker and owner of Ocala Realty World in Central Florida. Lopez has more than 20 years of experience in real estate and is the founder of the ORW School of Real Estate, which serves real estate students seeking licensure in Florida. Learn more at ocalarealtyworld.com.

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