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Being known as the expert.

As an agent, we’re expected to be the experts.

Trust in an agent requires a certain belief that no matter what the situation, you, the agent, will have the expertise to guide the client through whatever comes along. We need to know our local markets, the national markets, home prices, contracts, title issues, mortgages – you can add whatever you want to the list, we’re supposed to know it. People rely on us to have the answers.

When you’re new, you’re not an expert. You don’t have the experiences that lead up to expertise. You’ve passed your test and you feel ready to take on the world, but I know from experience, on your first transaction something will come up that makes you say “what in the world is that and how do I deal with it?” If not the first, then the second; if not the second, then the nine hundred and thirty-first. It will happen.

Practice makes perfect experts.

Much like the skier in the photo above, you don’t just magically start at the top. You’ve got to earn it. You need to practice your craft and learn everyday to be an expert. Truly, I don’t think you ever reach the “expert” level. The minute you’re the expert, the mountain just gets taller. If you stop pushing towards the summit, you’re only going to slide down the mountain. Classes, reading, interacting with other agents, and reading blogs will help expand your knowledge, but actual use of that knowledge will make you the expert that consumers will trust.

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Being the expert means knowing when to say “help!”

I’ve learned a lot, but I still think I have only a fraction of the knowledge I need and want. I’m not a mortgage expert. I’m not as knowledgeable about home inspection as I’d like. I cringe when I hear an acronym I don’t understand (we have so many). There are times that despite my own confidence in knowing what I need to do for my clients, I feel like I don’t know the answer. And when I don’t? I ask for help. Whether its another agent, my broker, a lender, a title company, or one of you; we all need help from time to time – new or not. Having expertise in every area of every field involved in a real estate transaction is simply impossible. That’s why a true expert knows the other experts so they can find the answers to their clients questions.

I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately. Perhaps I’ve obtained the “expert” designation.

photo courtesy of Joe Shlabotnik

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Written By

Matt is a former PA-based rockstar turned real estate agent with RE/MAX Access in San Antonio, TX. He was asked to join AgentGenius to provide a look at the successes and trials of being a newer agent. His consumer-based outlook on the real estate business has helped him see things from both sides. He is married to a wonderful woman from England who makes him use the word "rubbish."

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. KimWood

    March 11, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Matt –
    I want on those slopes!!! It’s been too long… ok… I guess you didn’t really want to talk about the Diamond Runs……

    I learned early it was ok for me to say, “I’m not certain about that, but I’ll find out” or “That is the perfect question to ask Mr. Mortgage”. You are right – redirecting those question does make the expert. It also makes a true ‘team’ when you have field experts to assist when needed.

  2. Lisa Sanderson

    March 12, 2009 at 5:35 am

    The first buyer I ever closed (1992) wrote a rave review on the post-closing questionnaire that my broker sent out. In it, one of the things he cited as good was that even though I didn’t know everything, I knew where to get the info he needed. That was probably the best thing that first broker taught me ‘you don’t have to know everything but know where to find out’. That, and the power of ‘thank you.’

  3. Missy Caulk

    March 12, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Ever learning…

    It will never stop….

    Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know” on the journey.

  4. Matt Stigliano

    March 14, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Kim – I was never much of a skier or snowboarder. In fact, I once had the opportunity to learn from the Nitro Snowboarding team – pros from all around the world. After about 100 times falling down the French Alps, I continued to the bottom. There I discovered the bar and enjoyed the fact that I was in the same mountains that Evian comes from.

    I learned that lesson early in life, because I hated to be wrong and misguide anyone. So I’ve never been afraid to admit what I don’t know. Since I like to learn new stuff, I don’t mind admitting it either, since I’ll be able to learn the answer as well as provide it.

    Lisa – I remember a teacher in high school telling me that school wasn’t to teach me things, it was to teach me how to learn things. I think that teacher gave me some great advice with that and it applies today.

    Missy – The only thing that frustrates me is when I can’t find the answer. I’m still looking for a tax accountant who can answer a question I have, but so far no one knows the answer.

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