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7 skills that are hard to learn but will pay off forever

What are the skills you need to develop now that will lead to your dream business in the future? The more you improve yourself, the more your business will improve.

By Jimmy Burgess

After observing thousands of top-producing agents, I’ve found there are certain skills real estate superstars possess. These skills are rarely natural, but they can be developed through focused study and practice. Are they easy to learn? Not necessarily. Will they be worth the effort? Absolutely.

The following are seven skills that may be hard to learn, but they’ll pay dividends forever.

Skill No. 1: Building rapport quickly Do you struggle to connect with people you just met? You’re not alone, but there is a process used to connect and build rapport quickly. Once developed, this skill leads to an ever-growing network of people who know, like and trust you. But how do we learn to build rapport?

There is a fantastic book by Nicholas Boothman titled How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less that has an entire chapter devoted to building rapport. The book covers everything from the basics of smiling and listening to the art of synchronizing your body language so that anyone you meet will unconsciously connect with you without understanding why.

The ability to connect with others is one of the most critical skills a successful agent can develop. Focus on developing this skill and your business will grow.

Skill No. 2: Managing time effectively

An unmanaged schedule always leads to mediocrity. Average agents react to what the day brings, but top-producing real estate agents shape the day around their actions.

Do you manage your time well? If the answer to this question is “no” or you know you could improve in this area, then there are a few basic steps you can take to manage your time more effectively.

The first step is to develop a rhythm to your daily schedule. Each day should include at least three business activities: generating new business, managing existing business and nurturing past clients for future business. This all begins with time-blocking your schedule.

The following is my ideal mix for each day:

  • Start your day with time-blocking two uninterrupted hours for prospecting calls.

  • Follow your morning prospecting time with an hour to return emails and phone calls.

  • Schedule lunch with a past client or a member of your sphere of influence to deepen these relationships.

  • Set appointments in the afternoon for listings or showing property.

This may sound difficult, but the agents who use this or a similar schedule find success.

Skill No. 3: Producing video content that attracts your ideal clients Producing video content that attracts your ideal client is an extremely valuable skill for an agent looking to succeed now and in the future. We used to say top agents were marketers who happened to sell real estate. In the future, we may be saying some of the most successful real estate agents are media producers who happen to sell real estate.

Video is picture after picture. Frame after frame. So, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth millions of words.

The skill of producing valuable video content will benefit your business in ways very few other strategies can. The time to develop this skill is now.

Skill No. 4: Marketing well on social media Marketing is about positioning yourself where the eyes of your ideal client are. Your ideal clients are on social media, so developing proficiency in social media marketing is a must if you are to maximize opportunities to grow your business.

To become proficient in social media marketing, there are a few key strategies that will speed up your development. Start by studying what agents in other markets are doing successfully. Test their strategies or types of posts in your market. Odds are, if it works for an agent in another city, it will work for you in yours.

Test several different types of posts, and after you have 30-40 posts, study which posts created the most engagement. Were these posts video, pictures or plain text? Were they entertaining, educational or informational? By identifying the posts your audience prefers, you can give them more of what they want.

Skill No. 5: Showing gratitude authentically

Nothing deepens relationships more than learning how to authentically show gratitude to those who help us along the way. This isn’t just about saying thank you. What is it that you skillfully do to show gratitude and make an impression on someone?

This can be as simple as writing a thoughtful thank-you note or as detailed as providing a gift that is so personal to that individual that they will never forget you.

Here are a few examples of personalized gifts that I’ve seen make a powerful impression.

• Donating to someone’s favorite charity in their honor

• Providing tickets to an event they would love

• Having a painting done of the house they bought or sold

• Providing a unique gift related to a hobby or passion they have

• Giving a gift related to an activity or event they can do with their children

When you authentically show your gratitude, people will respond with actions that will lead to you having more to be thankful for.

Skill No. 6: Developing self-awareness

Do you have a grasp of what you do well in your business and what you struggle with? The busy-ness of our business distracts us from evaluating what it is we do well that generates results.

A great way to evaluate yourself and your business is to make a list of all your transactions over the past few years. Break down the activity that led to each of these transactions. Did they come from your sphere of influence, a referral, an open house, an online lead or from farming activities?

The evaluation of this data will show you what the most effective strategies have been for your business. It will also expose the activities you may be spending time on that are a waste of your time and energy.

Self-awareness is a skill that is often overlooked but is a powerful way to become the most efficient agent you can be.

Skill No. 7: Delegating lower-value activities

Leverage comes from spending your time doing the highest-yielding activities you can do. Many agents struggle with hiring people to help them do tasks that are not the highest-yielding activities they could be performing. This leads to a ceiling for their business and eventually to burnout.

Vince Leisey, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate in Omaha, Nebraska, says for every $100,000 per year you make, your time is roughly valued at $50 per hour. Based on this realization, if you are doing activities you could hire someone else to do for $15-$20 per hour, you are costing yourself money and limiting the upside potential for your business.

The top-producing agents learn how to delegate lower-value activities, and that skill leads to continuously growing businesses.

Five years from now the size of your business will be a direct result of the skills you develop. What are the skills you need to develop now that will lead to your dream business in the future? If you focus on improving yourself, your business can’t help but improve.


Article originally published on Inman on February 18, 2022.

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