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In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
As founder of Spears Group of Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty, Jonathan Spears is dedicated to creating exemplary outcomes for luxury clients throughout his Emerald Coast market.
It was by overcoming objections early in his career — as a teenaged real estate agent — that he learned the importance of letting your performance overcome any potential setbacks. Find out how he gained the confidence and market expertise that allowed him to flourish.
(Note: This interview has been edited for style).
How long have you been in the business?
I started studying for the Florida Real Estate Sales Associate exam in January of 2010 (my 18th birthday) and completed my licensing in February of that year. I started working as an assistant in June of 2010 right after the disastrous BP oil spill, which put an immediate obstacle on our Northwest Florida real estate market at the time.
The problem-solving required during the formative years of my career was an incredible foundation that I’ve built my business on today.
From working foreclosures, short sales and HUD housing to parlaying into the upper echelon of luxury real estate, I’ve been fortunate to experience a broad spectrum of market cycles over the past 11-plus years.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Being a thought leader in the industry as well as pioneering marketing strategies in the luxury real estate sector.
We will also continue to grow our luxury real estate sales team, Spears Group, which was recently awarded the No. 1 spot on the Wall Street Journal – Real Trends “The Thousand” for medium real estate teams in Florida.
What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate, and how did you learn it?
I’ve learned that confidence and market knowledge is key to leading buyers and sellers through a transaction successfully. Personally, I started in this business at the age of 18, and my age became a consistent objection as I strived to work in luxury real estate.
I was able to parlay that objection into a massive advantage, as I realized my work ethic, being technology savvy, etc., provided me a competitive advantage to my 50-plus aged marketplace peers. I focused on my delivery being rooted in a deep understanding of the market and my tactful approach to negotiations that solidified my ability to lead in a transaction.
For example, I had a prominent C-level executive of a Fortune 500 company who was looking for what seemed to be a unicorn in our market. This customer was used to leading billions of dollars in sales in their respective industry and was relying on my expertise to lead them to the right property for their family here in Northwest Florida.
Having confidence that I was the best fit to secure their dream property (and ultimately family investment) was a big boost in my efforts to gain their business. I ended up sourcing a property off-market for these folks from going door to door (prospecting with purpose for a seller) and navigating them through a very difficult negotiation.
They’ve since purchased multiple properties from me and allowed my team to represent them on purchases and sales in multiple out-of-state markets. I learned that the experience the client has is the most important aspect of a transaction, next to the success of closing a deal on their behalf.
What advice would you give to new agents?
Focus on excellence in your business. Most new agents I encounter become infatuated with the “lifestyle” of a luxury real estate agent but do not understand the time investment needed to learn the skill sets.
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Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.