Returning from walking her dog one day, new real estate agent Alyssa Hellman met another dog owner, a woman who lived in a nice penthouse apartment with her husband. As they chatted, the woman made a vague reference to selling at some stage. This was enough for Hellman to change her dog-walking schedule for the next two years.

  • Take steps to get into the flow of your clients' lives.
  • Don't go over the top buying tech when starting out - just use what your broker provides initially.
  • Be yourself, don't change to fit in with the norm.

Returning from walking her dog one day, new real estate agent Alyssa Hellman met another dog owner, a woman who lived in a nice penthouse apartment with her husband. As they chatted, the woman made a vague reference to selling at some stage.

This was enough for Hellman to change her dog-walking schedule for the next two years.

“I aligned my dog-walking schedule to hers — I took my dog out at 6 and 11 — because that’s when they walked their dog, Maggie. I became part of the flow of their life,” said Hellman. She was a new agent at the age of 24 trying to make it in Washington, D.C., and she worked tirelessly at networking with other agents and potential clients.

And her dog-walking persistence paid off. “When it was time to list their home, it was second nature to ask me,” she said.

Get into the flow

“People’s lives have a flow — you need to find a way to get into the flow of their life,” said Hellman, speaking at Inman Connect New York last week in the special session “New Agents Hitting the Ground Running.” Hellman first heard the “flow” term from Ninja Selling.

Hustle is as important as flow, she added — like stepping in to take on open houses for other agents or returning calls more quickly than the competition.

Tips for new agents

Hellman, who is the director of the Go School of Real Estate in North Carolina (associated with Better Homes and Gardens Go Realty), had a number of tips for new agents.

Don’t be tempted to buy lots of expensive tech in the early days, she said.

“Start with the system provided by your broker,” she suggests. “As a new agent, you don’t have deep pockets — you can really put yourself in a hole if you  start spending on systems.”

Agents should take advantage of a CRM if the broker has one, she said. After the session, she added that at some stage during a typical real estate career, the brokerage-offered CRM might be too limited for what you want to do.

“I have studied my business and understood that the bulk of my business is coming from referrals, people that I know,” she explained.

So she has chosen systems that bring her closer to her network. Her first investment was the Contactually CRM.

Hellman liked the advice given at ICNY that agents should be connecting on their personal Facebook pages with clients.

“On your personal website, you can be more social. You are people first, agents second,” she said.

Be yourself

One of Hellman’s strongest messages to new agents is to be themselves.

“A lot of that comes from being comfortable in your own skin,” she said.

“When I first started, everyone was in a business suit,” Hellman continued. “But that was not me. And is probably never going to be me. So it’s about understanding who you are. You’ve got to be comfortable to be that person with your friends and with your clients.”

This message crosses over to giving advice too, she said.  “If you are not being yourself and trying to read off a script, you won’t read smoothly and that’s how you will come across to the client.”

Speaking off the cuff is much more her style, she said, and more authentic.

Hellman is suspicious of people who make generalizations when marketing to millennials or baby boomers. “You can’t paint a broad brush stroke; you just have to communicate with people,” she said.

As a millennial herself, she does not always fit the bill, either.

“I would call myself a very ‘techy’ agent — I have a lot of things only on my cell phone,” she said, but her phone isn’t her most important tool.

“My most important tool is my notebook, where I keep handwritten notes,” she said.

Picking the right brokerage

Meanwhile, for new agents going through the process of choosing their real estate brokerage,  they should do their research about the fit because this decision might make or break their career.

“If you are not passionate about the company, that might not be the right brokerage for you,” she said.

Finding your tribe is crucial as a new agent, and this tribe should include the people in your brokerage. “Your tribe fuels your passion,” said Hellman.

Her last piece of advice: Don’t rely on one mentor when starting out.

“My advice, rather than finding one mentor, is to be a sponge. Listen, then take away what you want to take away,” she said.

Email Gill South.

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