Becoming an Expert by Krista Mashore

Real estate experts close more sales, but what does it take to become a true expert in this business?

Many people get into real estate because they think it’s easy—and it is. It’s way too easy to get your license. For example, in California, you have to provide proof of completion for 135 hours of required education (45 credit hours in Real Estate Principles, 45 credit hours in Real Estate Practice course, and 45 credit hours in one additional state approved course). And, we all know that if you do the classes online, you’ll spend much less time than 135 hours. Just pass the test (which is pretty simple). Bingo! You’re now perfectly qualified to advise people and deal with them on what is probably the biggest investment they will ever make.

That’s crazy! It takes over 500 hours to become a licensed manicurist! I can go on and on about the time it takes for other professionals to become licensed in their fields.

I know you’re sincere and want to do good work for your clients. But do you honestly think you can call yourself an “expert”? Even if you’ve been in the business for twenty years, if you aren’t staying on the leading edge of what’s happening in real estate your expertise might be questioned. Ask yourself:

  • “How have I expanded, improved, and evolved in my business?”
  • “Am I making strides to make it better?”
  • “Am I still doing the same things that I learned when I first got into the business?”

Please don’t compare yourself with the agents and brokers around you. You need to be different! If your goal is to be a Community Market Leader, set your sights a lot higher than the other agents in your area. Just go online and see how many agents claim to be experts—even after only four months in the business!

The truth is, our profession has a negative reputation. Part of that negative image is that it’s so easy to become a real estate agent. Everyone thinks it’s an easy job and most agents treat it that way. They don’t take it seriously. In turn, the community is not taking you seriously.

We have to work harder than ever to establish trust, gain respect, and show we know what we’re doing and will treat our clients fairly. I cannot tell you how many times I walk into clients’ homes and they go on and on about what a poor past experience they’ve had. They are gun shy, to say the least. They dealt with an agent who just didn’t have a clue as to what they were doing. That prior agent made errors that caused undue distress and loss of money, probably due to inexperience and lack of expertise.

It’s time to step it up, my friends, and treat your business like a business. Do you think McDonald’s built their brand by flipping a few burgers then sitting back to wait for crowds of people to burst through their doors? No, they were intentional about their business and treated their business as a business.

The good news is that as soon as you actually run your business like a business, go above and beyond, and dive in to become an expert in this field, you automatically earn respect from people. It happens quickly because you stand out as being different and as a leader in your field.

In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell claims that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. Think about it, that’s around 10 hours a day for 1,000 days! Even if you have a lot of aptitude, Gladwell said in an interview, “The point is simply that natural ability requires a huge investment of time in order to be made manifest.” The author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport, emphasizes that how you’re using those 10,000 hours is equally important. He says you need to push yourself to the very limits of your current skill set to really expand into expertise.

Can we agree that standard continuing education and twenty transactions under your belt don’t qualify you as an expert? In California, where I live, the average agent sells six homes per year. How can you master any profession if you only do it five or six times a year? You cannot!
Personally, I’m comfortable defining myself as an expert. I’ve worked in real estate for sixteen years. I’ve sold just under 2,000 homes, averaging 120 homes a year. And even though I have all that experience, I still take a minimum of three to five webinar classes a week. Some of the classes help me track trends in real estate, business, or the economy. Others are about technology, marketing, and digital marketing so I stay on the cutting edge of marketing techniques. I push myself to take classes and read about whatever will enhance the value I can give to my clients.

I was heading to yet another out of town training a while back, and my dad said to me, “Why do you do all these trainings, Krista? You’re already #1 in our area.” I said, “Dad, the reason I’m #1 in the area is because I’m doing these trainings.” The point is, you can never stop learning. The second that you stop learning is the second you lose your claim to being an expert. The world is always changing and you need to keep up with those changes to be an expert. You also lose your place as #1 or as a Community Market Leader because somebody is going to come along and outshine you. This is true in any profession.

What does this all have to do with engaging your community? It has everything to do with it! You can be the nicest person in the world, but the person your community will flock to is the one who has the expertise. Ask yourself, when you go for surgery, are you looking for the nicest, most fun surgeon in town, or the one who clearly demonstrates his surgical expertise? Yeah, me too.

You first have to become an expert so you have valuable knowledge to share with your clients and community. That expertise includes knowing about the market, where it’s going, and how current trends affect buyers and sellers. I spend an average of five to seven hours per week just learning and researching to keep current in our industry. I enjoy it. But, even if you don’t, you should be spending at least an hour or two every week to keep up with what’s happening.

When I meet with clients they have no problem paying me a full commission because they expect more and they see the value in what I’m offering. These clients realize that, in this day and age, if you’re doing things the way you should be, you’re keeping up with technology and using it effectively— and that’s worth a full commission.

Because I was an educator, learning is in my nature so it’s easy for me. If it’s not easy for you, figure out a way to make it easy. Use audio downloads and audio books. Download Audible or another software. Listen to educational business and real estate books while you’re getting ready for work or cooking dinner. That’s what I do. I try to not waste any spare minute, even when I’m standing in line, or driving. It has helped me immensely.

What information is useful to share? Neighborhood information, market data, statistics, absorption rate, average days on market, list price and sales price, if the market trend is going up or down, if foot traffic per buyer is up or down, information on interest rates, any changes in the real estate market, or anything that’s new, that’s different. You want to let your community know what’s happening both locally and nationally, and especially how it affects them personally. People don’t care about you, they care about themselves and how they and their families will be affected positively or negatively.

One great resource for this information is the National Association of REALTORS® (N.A.R). Check out the annual Home Buyer and Seller report. It explains the behavior patterns of a buyer and seller, and gives direct insight into how and what you should be marketing. This report is typically provided within your state’s association. The statistics from the previous year come out in March of each year. If you aren’t reading it, you’re doing yourself and your clients a disservice. I don’t mean to sound harsh but if agents aren’t willing to do their jobs to this level, let’s ask them to step aside so professionals who have the attitude and business practices of a true Community Market Leader can provide true expertise, service, and value to those they serve.

Other resources I use include Inman News,, and Content Marketing Institute for business trends, information on changes in the economy, updates, and cutting edge best practices in business. I also use Facebook groups like Lead Gen Scripts and Objections, Internet Marketing, Digital Marketing Institute, Community Market Leader, and The Paperless Agent.
Step up your game and become a true real estate expert!

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