Volunteering has helped agent Marilyn Blume become a better businessperson by both honing and expanding her knowledge and skill set. In this column, she shares how she’s grown through her volunteering experiences.

In addition to helping others, studies have shown that volunteering brings benefits to those who take the time to do it.

For my part, volunteering as a TAP consultant at my alma mater Washington University in St. Louis and Savvy Ladies has helped me become a better agent by both honing and expanding my skill set. Based on my experiences, I’d like to share my perspective on how volunteering can make you a better agent.

1. Expand your areas of expertise

As a TAP consultant, we are each assigned to a small business to overcome issues to maximize their revenue and growth.

There are two TAP consultants assigned to a business: This provides me with the opportunity to learn from the other TAP consultant in an area in which they are knowledgeable.

Additionally, learning about the small business (and the industry it’s in) expands my knowledge in this niche market. For example, I was working with a restaurant where we had to comply with health codes, understand the competition and differentiate this business from others to draw loyal customers. This relates to real estate as far as making sure the property is up to code and all the proper papers were filed and using comps to evaluate a property. 

2. Generate leads

Participating in these organizations has introduced me to many new people who have a common mission in varying fields.

These new relationships broaden my network as well as provide me with a greater practical knowledge of other industries/professions. Through this, I will connect my contacts to help one another and keep paying it forward.

In addition to meeting new people through these organizations, I also reconnect with people that I went to college with through being active in my school’s alumni program. While catching up with old friends, we exchange our professional experiences. For example, I was at an interview session this past weekend and reconnected with someone I hadn’t seen since college graduation. Turns out she is a real estate attorney and her office is a few blocks away from me! I just expanded my personal and professional network.   

One of my favorite parts of being an active alumnus is interviewing applicants (students applying to my school;) these conversations provide insight into what resonates with this demographic, learning new ideas, as well as building new relationships. I recently spoke with a student who is interested in designing spaces that provide Workplace Wellbeing. This topic relates to real estate and is becoming a field of study as well as a profession. This woman provided me with insight on this hot topic that is relevant to my business.  

3. Become more organized

As Lucille Ball said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” 

Allocating time to volunteer requires me to use my time wisely and effectively. As the time devoted to these volunteer projects is relatively flexible, I organized my day in time blocks to show my availability. It also forces me to adhere to my calendar if I schedule an activity (like writing this article!)

4. Expand your network

Through volunteering, I meet so many new and different people. By talking with these individuals, it allows me to learn about their area of expertise and their perspective. It opens up new ideas and ways of thinking which is so important as our business is truly a people business! This broadens my knowledge and gives me more areas to find common ground with others.

Volunteering with organizations that resonate with me allows me to form new relationships and expand my knowledge base, making me a better real estate agent. I can expand my resources from new experiences and people I meet. 

Marilyn Blume is a licensed real estate salesperson with Warburg Realty in New York. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Are you ready for what the industry holds in 2020? Inman Connect New York is your key to unlocking opportunity in a changing market. At Connect you will gain insight into the future, discover new strategies and network with real estate’s best and brightest to accelerate your business. Create your 2020 success story at Inman Connect New York, January 28-31, 2019.

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