Best Advice New Real Estate Agents Will Ever Hear

RE/MAX Results CEO, Brenda Tushaus, sat down with multiple agents and the owner himself, John Collopy, to ask what advice they have to share with new real estate agents.


Brenda Tushaus: Throughout 2020, I asked all of my guests on The Results Podcast what advice they would pass along to new agents, what surprised me is the variety of responses to that question. I was provided answers that may be the best advice a new agent will ever hear. You are about to hear from some of the most successful and experienced agents in the Results family. If you are an experienced real estate agent you may also get some ideas you could implement to help your business grow in 2021. So sit back, relax, and take some notes as we kick it off with the man that started it all. The most successful real estate broker in America, the founder of RE/MAX Results, John Collopy. John, why don’t you give us a major piece of advice to people that are entertaining a career in real estate.

John Collopy: Well in the traditional days when I worked with new sales executives, I never hired one without interviewing their spouse. That was mandatory because a lot of times the spouse didn’t know what the other person was getting into and what I would tell them is that it’s unlikely that you will have a paycheck for six months and you’re going to work nights and weekends. I needed to have spousal buy-in on that because it’s an irregularity. Now our sales executives that have been in the business a long time don’t work as many nights as weekends. But it doesn’t make any difference how long you’ve been in the business, if you’ve got somebody from out of town coming in who wants to buy a house and they need to have it by Sunday, you’re working weekends and you’re working all day and all night. And so, I used to require that the spouse buy in. And then I used to make them go interview with two other real estate companies. So, I’d lay out our training program, which what I did back then was very intensive for accountability, more than training, it was accountability. They had to buy into that. So, if they didn’t come back and ask for the job, they didn’t come work for us.



Brenda: Chuck Brooks has been with RE/MAX Results in our Woodbury office for over 22 years, running a very successful team at Results for many of those years. What is one major piece of advice that you would give to brand new real estate agents entering the market?

Chuck Brooks: I would say the number one thing would be to talk to their family and beg them to understand that they’re in the business and then to make sure when they say they’re becoming a realtor that they say they are a realtor, not becoming, and they’re with RE/MAX Results. I would promote RE/MAX Results to the highest degree because of its strength, size, and good leadership. It’s so overwhelming and awesome to be here. They need to let their family know how excited they are to be with this team because what I see sometimes is that their family recommends somebody else, not even remembering they’re in the business. If that’s one thing that John Collopy has put in that never changes, contact, contact, contact. You let people know you’re available because most people want to work with people they know and trust.



Brenda: Up next are husband and wife team Elie and Deb Safi from our Lilydale office. What’s the number one piece of advice you would give to people who are new to the industry or considering entering real estate as a career?

Deb Safi: Well one thing that we both agree on, and we’ve talked about more than a couple of times is that we would like to see real estate become more of a full-time business. It requires so much information that you need to understand that you have to do it regularly. Writing contracts, negotiating, putting your clients first.  All those things are so important in this business, that if you don’t do it every single day, you’re not going to have the skill set that is needed to work.

Elie Safi: I think that coupled with the flexibility, knowing that you are entering into a career field where you really do need to be somewhat flexible with your time. You can block out personal time, but real estate happens in the evenings, throughout the day, and on weekends. Learning to be able to block out your personal time is great but then understand that you’re going to have some evenings and you’re going to have calls because when someone is looking to purchase or sell a house, it’s a big deal. It really does encompass their life. It’s emotional, it’s a big deal for them and they need to have you there for them to walk them through that. With their property that comes on the really hot market, like with the Spring market, and to coordinate a time to be able to go out there and view it or if it’s a seller and being able to communicate with them as offers come in.



Brenda: Jameson Melbye has made a name for himself in Red Wing through his radio show, Facebook ads, and billboards. What is one bit of advice you would give to new sales executives entering the business?

Jameson Melbye: I was told to focus on buyers. I was told not to get my Wisconsin license and real quick I dove into researching the business and no, you want to put signs in yards, you want to list houses, that’s how you can leverage. During the recession, I got up to about 30-35 listings at one point when I was really dialed in and very aggressive when I was younger. You just can’t possibly have that many buyers at the same time actively looking so listings are leverage, listings bring in buyers. So why someone should tell a new agent to focus on buyers is insane to me. You have one sale out of that buyer, you are working with them on evenings and weekends versus a listing, if it’s marketed correctly, should bring in more business so why not focus on listings from day one.



Brenda: Lisa Dunn works at our Edina East office and her team name is called the Change Agents Group, I love that. What is one piece of advice you would give to new, newer agents or agents just entering the industry?

Lisa Dunn: The riches are in niches. Get yourself a specialty. Find a mentor that’s doing what you want to do and hang on. Figure out what gives you a reason to get up in the morning. What gives you the fire in the belly and what makes you passionate. How can you incorporate what you are passionate about into what you do day-to-day? And when you do that, nobody will ever be as good at doing it as you are.



Brenda: Mary Mensch out of our Shoreview office just celebrated her eighth-year anniversary with RE/MAX Results. What’s your number one advice to someone listening that’s new or maybe considering real estate?

Mary Mensch: Look at your sphere, use your sphere, and don’t become trapped by everyone else does. Do what works for you. For me, I like to meet people in person. I’m a people person. I’m not crazy about getting on the phone. If I need to have a difficult conversation with a client, I want to do that face to face. That’s not for a phone call. But look at your sphere, look at who you’re comfortable with and work with that because those will be your best clients over the long term.



Brenda: Rex Johnson works out of our St. Paul Highland Park office and he is a former pizza delivery guy that sold thirty homes in his first year in real estate at RE/MAX Results. What’s one bit of advice for new sales executives or someone entering real estate? Is there anything that you did that you would have done differently? What would tell someone who might be considering real estate or is brand new?

Rex Johnson: If you’re brand new and starting out find the piece of marketing that you hate the least because very few people want to market when they first start. Whether that’s door knocking, whether that’s hanging flyers, calling your sphere of influence, sending Facebook messages to every Facebook friend to reconnect with them, or hosting Open Houses. Find the one that you dislike the least and do that and then get really, really good at it. For instance, I’m really good at Open Houses. That’s how I got started, doing six per weekend, four months straight before I ever closed a transaction. And you have to have a vision of if I meet enough people. The more hands you shake, the more money you make. And if you have that vision then you can beat on that every single weekend and then just keep offering service.



Brenda: Two of our rookies of the year from the past three years, Sam Steadman and Lars Anderson from our Loring Park office. This is advice for anyone who is a newer agent in the industry. What is one thing you would have done differently in your first year in real estate?

Sam Steadman: Just cold-call and be willing to do it every day. Especially if you’re a new person, you can’t lose. You can call thousands and thousands of people and think you’re wasting your time and you get one good lead out of that. That lead can change your career path regarding who’s out there.

Lars Anderson: It’s all a learning process, I learned a lot my first year to not necessarily be so emotionally attached to transactions. Understanding that you can treat each person with love and respect and do a great job for them and you’re not going to get the same reaction from them, you know they might not appreciate that because something else comes up or they’re dealing with another thing. You know it’s real people, real-life stuff, and a lot of money with every transaction. I’ve really learned if something goes wrong, I’m not going to let it ruin my day and I’m going to sleep great that night and wake up the next day and that might be a better day as far as business is related.



Brenda: Sheryl Petrashek of our Apple Valley office says her business doubled within the first year of hiring her first assistant. If someone is wondering if they need to hire an assistant, should they start with a part-time assistant versus full-time?

Sheryl Petrashek: So many ways to do it. You can start with a Virtual Transaction Coordinator; a lot of people make that work and it works well for them and that might be a good place to start. We have some good ones associated with Results as you know, so that might be a good place to start. For the next three to six months, see how that works. I think that starting to make your checklist is really important first, and then hiring the person before you get them done because all of us will start to make the checklist and we won’t finish it exactly and we’ll keep telling ourselves I’ll hire the assistant when my checklists are done. So yes, starting the checklist, get about halfway there, and then hire the person who’s going to help you finish it.



Brenda: Stephanie Gruver out of our Loring Park office transitioned into real estate from the insurance industry. So for people that might be entertaining the idea of a career in real estate or entering as new agents, what is that big piece of advice that you would give them?

Stephanie Gruver: Well obviously, you have to work, I mean nobody is going to do this for you. But the “our” part of that is when you see other successful agents, do not envy their success, learn from their success. I think that one of the biggest mistakes a salesperson can make is looking at somebody else’s production and envying it instead of learning from it. You have to ask yourself if you want to be that person? Do you want to sell a thousand houses a year, is that what you want to do? Because you’re creating a career for yourself and set a goal that you want and make sure it’s your goal. You know, if you want to sell 25 houses a year and spend and work a certain number of hours so you can spend however many hours doing something else with your life, that’s your business. This is your show. You have to decide how you’re going to run it and what you’re going to do. And so, when I look to successful agents, I try to learn what they’re doing and decide if that’s something I want to put into my business. And really if someone else is working their tail off and making their numbers, good for them, have at it. There are also times where I‘ve said, I don’t want to do that today. I’ve also turned down people. There are people I will not work with. They do not respect me, they do not understand my skills, I will not tolerate that. And that’s just having enough self-respect for myself that I’m just not going to put myself in this position of constantly being berated or treated poorly. I’m a partner or guide in the sales but I am not a servant in the sales process.



Brenda: Tim Murphy is out of our Apple Valley office and I like to refer to Tim as a digital content guru because his entire strategy revolves around social content and podcasting. I think I can predict what your answer will be but what is your advice to people who are new to real estate or considering a career in real estate?

Tim Murphy: Document your journey. Because at the beginning of the day, how many people are new to real estate? A lot. How many people are curious about real estate? A lot. And if you’re brand new, you’re going to learn that every single day you try to make it in real estate. Because it’s a hard fight. And the more that you document that journey, the more that people are going to root for you. And the more that people root for you, the more they’re going to like you. Pictures, videos, stories. It’s not really that hard if you get past judgment. Judgment is the only thing that ever holds anybody back. The rest of it, you’ll figure it out.


Click on the links below to hear the whole episode!

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