"Hey, you remember that townhouse we pitched?" my co-worker yelled across the room. "Our big competitor’s got the listing."
Well, of course I remember that townhouse that we pitched, since it was the most expensive property that I’d ever pitched and my first team pitch as well. Plus, those of us who haven’t remembered to follow Bernice Ross’s advice to clean our desk to make room for new business easily found the file that had been sitting there since last May.
"They didn’t take that from us," I yelled back to my co-worker. "We gave it away."
And I feel like we did. We gave a good pitch but a late follow-up, partly because some of the material that we should have had lying around as boilerplate (for example, an agency brochure) we didn’t have lying around, and updating it takes time, and the three of us were busy.
This pitch was in May, and the place was just listed a week ago. So maybe at the time the decision not to spend every minute of every day following up that townhouse pitch was a good one. I remember I did a rental that made me some immediate money. I also worked on a sale listing that I already had, which took six more months to pay off, but I was already married to it. And I’m sure I made and ate some dinners.
However, nine months later I am eating my heart out when I see that pretty multimillion-dollar listing on someone else’s Web site. Oh, that six-figure commission! What was I thinking, that I wanted to help my existing clients and eat dinner?
So this brings me back to the importance of a business plan. I have two bread-and-butter listings now and they’re going fine, but I also still have this dream where I strut around in a Chanel suit (but having fun, the way Christine Baranski would) and work on really high-end properties. So today, a day filled with crazy business because it’s the day before vacation, I stopped everything in order to deal with my Web designer for half an hour.
And then I did bread-and-butter work for a few hours, and then I stopped everything again in order to work on my TRC certification. (For those of you who don’t know it, TRC is a certification that says you’ve agreed to work with an international consortium’s standards to refer and service international clients — it’s the kind of thing that OF COURSE the agent of a multimillion-dollar townhouse would have.)
When I started working on Wall Street, fresh out of college, none of us had Wall Street clothes. We all lived by the motto "fake it till you make it" and kept building our wardrobes carefully, one jacket at a time, to conform to our ideal of what the perfect Wall Street professional would look like.
Well, that’s how I think of my business plan. I like this job, and I’m earning money, but I have to spend a little time every day working toward the branding and the clients that would make this an even better job — and bring me even more money.
The broker who snagged the townhouse listing won’t have an easy road — high-end properties are not selling in this market, so it may take her a full year to get to that big fat commission.
But I still want to work toward the day that that’s my job. Because I am by nature a little bit competitive, and I’d like to be the broker that brokers in other firms are complaining about losing their listings to.
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of "Diary of a Real Estate Rookie."
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