If you want to build a successful commercial real estate investment sales business, be prepared for a lot of hard work. Many will tell you that it’s easy to establish a career in brokerage. I hate to be the one to break the news, but if you want to genuinely succeed in this business – the only shortcut I can recommend is to do more tasks “right” early on, and then you’ll achieve success quicker. But you still have to do the work.
Brokerage is very much a numbers game. If you want to be more successful, you need to:
- List more properties
- Represent more buyers
- Research more owners
- Make more phone calls
- Have more meetings
- Open More Escrows
- Close More Deals and on and on and on . . .
If you only work 20 hours per week, you will create certain results. If you work 40 hours per week you should generate better results, and if you work 60 hours a week – you will likely achieve even better results. What if you work 80 hours per week? Although I don’t have any specific data, I believe the ideal amount of time to spend on your business in the initial years, is 50 to 60 hours per week.
If you work much less, you just won’t get enough traction to keep you motivated. If you work much more, you will likely burn out and may feel frustrated that your results don’t correlate to the effort you are expending. The following is some advice to help you maximize your efforts:
Be Consistent – The most successful brokers realize they are in business for themselves and should treat their career like they’re employed by a professional firm that has specific expectations/requirements of its employees. Do you think that someone starting out in banking, law, or consulting wakes up each day and decides when they feel like going to work? I don’t think so. It is important to develop a routine and be consistent. You should set a goal to arrive at the office at a certain time and leave at about the same time each day. Your life needs to revolve around this schedule so picking up your dry cleaning, getting your car washed, calling friends, and other tasks shouldn’t take place during normal business hours.
Before I entered the brokerage business, I spent 3 months working in Israel where they have a six day work week. They end their week a little early on Fridays and take off Saturdays. When I started in brokerage, I found this to be a pretty good way to schedule my time, except I skipped leaving the office early and only worked about 6 hours on Sunday.
Surround Yourself with Hard Working People – If you want to maintain your momentum, then join an office with other hard working people. It is very difficult to motivate yourself to work into the evening if everyone else leaves at 5 PM. One of the reasons I changed firms at one point in my career was because I knew I wanted to be successful and that working harder was key to that success. I was having trouble staying motivated, so I went to a company where there were others that shared a similar work ethic. The most successful brokers are generally competitive people. Surrounding yourself with hard working people will not only provide you comradery, but it will also trigger that competitive spirit and keep you energized.
Make Goals and Track Your Efforts – Using metrics is a good way to track your efforts and keep you motivated to put in the hours required to achieve your desired results. Make a goal of how many calls you want to make, how many properties to research, or how many personal notes to send out each week. Then keep track as you accomplish these tasks. This will help you stay on point and keep you motivated when maybe you just want to walk out the door. If your goal was to write 10 notes to potential clients and it is Thursday afternoon and you have only written 5, then you now have something you know you should do that will help keep you at your desk for another hour.
Give Yourself Time to Refresh – It is critical to allow yourself time to refresh. I know we have all heard this axiom and it is certainly harder to do in reality. Everyone has their own way of refreshing. For some, it is a leisurely week off. For others, it is some form of recreation or other activity. At one of the brokerage firms I worked at, several of us would go to lunch a few days a week. We would share ideas, talk about clients, strategize about deals and discuss what was happening in our personal lives. For most of us, this was a time to refresh. I always came back ready to take on my afternoons with enthusiasm. For me, this short, quick burst of relaxation in the middle of my day was an ideal way to refresh. I encourage you to find your best ways to refresh and pursue them.
I know in my career the harder I’ve worked the more good fortune and “luck” I’ve enjoyed. If you are consistent, surround yourself with hard working people, make goals, track the results, AND give yourself time to refresh – I assure you that you’ll also be on the path to considerable financial and personal success. Good “LUCK” in your endeavors!
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