What is more important – being a great real estate salesperson or knowing how to build a great business?

One of the BIG mistakes I consistently see real estate agents make is trying to be a better salesperson. I have to admit, I fell into this trap too. When I first got my real estate license, I listened to audio programs and read books on how to become a better salesperson. I read all of the big name titles including Zig Zigler, Tom Hopkins, Brian Tracy, etc. All of these books and audio programs are great, if you want to be a salesperson.

For my first few years in the business, I focused on trying to improve my sales skills. I tried different dialogues and phone scripts. I made more prospecting phone calls. I networked and asked for referrals. I did everything the books and tapes suggested that I do. However, in hindsight, I now realize that my focus was entirely wrong. I didn’t get into real estate to become a great salesperson. I got into real estate to own a business. Now, I’m not saying being a great salesperson is a bad thing. I’m simply saying there is a difference between building a business and selling homes.

When I shifted my focus to building a business, instead of being a great salesperson, everything changed for me. I started to read books and listen to tapes on leadership, marketing and recruiting. I finally realized that it is easier to recruit great sales people than it was to become a great salesperson.  Can you see the difference in thinking?

Napoleon_hillYou have probably read "Think & Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. Hill is famous for teaching us that we get what we think about most. We all have limited time and limited resources. This means, we can only dedicate our thoughts to one major strategy. I decided to focus my time and energy into building a business.

What is the best thing that can happen to you if you invest the majority of your time and resources into becoming a great salesperson? YOU sell a lot of homes, right? Notice that I capitalized YOU. On the surface, this sounds good. The problem is that YOU only have 24 hours a in a day. Your income and sales are severely limited because they are entirely dependent upon YOU. YOU can only work so much. In order to make more money, you’re forced to go sell another home. This is a never ending cycle for great salespeople.

On the other hand, what is the best thing that can happen to you, if you invest the majority of your time and resources into becoming a great business owner? Well, now things begin to change! Here are a few questions for you to ponder…

1) Is your business limited on the number of homes that it can sell?  – No.

2) If you have sales people working for your business, do you have to participate in every sale? – No

3) Is your income limited to your personal sales? – No

4) Does your income stop if you don’t sell any homes? – No

If you’re going to work in real estate, doesn’t it make more sense to focus on building a business rather than being a great salesperson? Now, I realize many agents reading my blog are not Brokers. You might be thinking "How can I build a business if I’m just an agent?" Your license status doesn’t matter. How you think is what matters. Think of your role as a business owner, not a salesperson. I’ll bet that you can still hire agents and administrative help without being a Broker. This simply means that you don’t need to be a broker to build your business.

Stop spending your time trying to be a better salesperson. Start spending your time learning how to build a successful business.  Look at your goals for 2008. Are they directed towards building a business or becoming a better salesperson? One way to see whether you’re focused on being a better salesperson is to analyze your goals for home sales. Do your goals show an increase in your personal sales? If so, you’re thinking like a salesperson. A "true" entrepreneur’s goals would include a decrease in personal sales. The "true" entrepreneur’s goal is to have others sell homes for their business.

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