I just completed my third full year of office brokerage. You often see these type of posts from senior brokers (two examples here and here). However this is different; my perspective is from someone currently doing it – trying and failing – to be a better young broker. The purpose of this post is to explain what I’ve learned over three years — what has worked, what hasn’t and where I can improve. Perhaps it will help you too.
How to be a Successful Young Broker:
1. Find a mentor/team you want to work with: This is so important. You need to find a senior partner that you trust and is willing to give you the guidance you need. Finding the right partner/team is the most important way to ensure success. If you’re currently unsatisfied, make this your top priority. This is the foundation upon which you become successful.
2-4. Invest in Yourself: This could have been #1. Since it’s not, it’s #2, #3, and #4. A major benefit about office brokerage is that you are in control of your time. This gives you great power — what will you do with it? While canvassing and business development is important (it’s next on this list), investing in yourself should come first. My rationale behind this is that if you invest in yourself to become better – be it socially, more knowledgeable, more presentable, etc. – the business development will catch up. One of the easiest ways to invest in yourself is through reading. Other ways I am currently investing in myself can be found here.
5. Schedule Time to Canvass: There’s a reason it’s called “cold calling.” More times than not, it’s not fun. However it’s important. To ensure that you do it, carve out time in your calendar and honor your commitment to yourself. I used to cold call every morning from 745-915 and then every night from 530-630. It was in my calendar and I was good about sticking to it. But it only lasted a few months. Since then, my canvassing has been sporadic — whenever I have time, or an idea, I will canvass. One of my major weaknesses right now is my focus on canvassing. I came to that conclusion about being honest with myself about where I need to be better. For me, it requires developing a system where canvassing becomes part of my routine. That is how I am effective with anything (working out, meditating, journaling, etc.) But you need to find what works for you.
6. Be Positive: I call this purposeful positivity. I’m going to write a post on this soon. If you ask anyone that knows me, they will comment on my happy/optimistic attitude. I literally choose to be positive all the time. When bad things happen, I change focus and find the lesson or the opportunity. Anyone can do this (read The Obstacle is the Way for more inspiration). My attitude is one of my biggest strengths.
7. Be Present: Simon Sinek had a good interview recently on millennials in the workplace. One comment that stuck with me was his focus on presence. My advice to myself, and other young brokers — when you’re in a meeting, really be in the meeting. Listen. Take notes. Ask questions. You’ll learn so much faster. Convince yourself that you are losing money by having your phone on the table. Because in reality you are.
8. Say No: You often hear advice to say yes to everything — just to learn, blah blah. However, you need to consider who the person is asking you to do the assignment, the time involved to complete it and the potential money that can be made. After you consider these factors, only then can you make an assessment if the assignment is worth your time. What has worked for me when I’ve turned down assignments is saying, “Thank you for thinking of me. If I want to be a ____ (Executive Vice President/Vice Chairman, insert other title) like _____ (insert name of person asking request,) I need to focus on bigger things.” Personally, I’ve never had any bad repercussions from saying no – only more time to focus on other endeavors (saying no was the most powerful thing I learned last year).
9. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others: This is extremely hard in our job when everything is tied to money. You get promoted based on how much money you make. At the annual awards ceremony, top performers are recognized and categorized in “x” clubs (i.e. silver producer club, gold producer club, million dollar club, etc.) based on how much money he/she made that year. But comparing yourself to others only guarantees negativity. I developed this realization recently while reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. She writes, “I can’t tell you how many times I’m feeling so good about myself and my life and my family, and then in a split second it’s gone because I consciously or unconsciously start comparing myself to other people.” I relate to this, and I’m sure others will too.
10. Understand Your Value: Young brokers are extremely valuable. It took me a while to realize my own. You have time, new ideas, new relationships and new perspectives to help your senior broker. Make sure he/she realizes that. Right now, as Mike [Movshovich] and I try to grow our business, we’re searching for a good young broker for these reasons. He/she will be a valuable part of our team.
Looking at the above, I can improve on #5 (scheduling time to canvass,) #7 (being present, which is essentially increasing my ability to learn faster) and #9 (not comparing myself to others.)
Where can you improve?