Want to be a property agent?
Ever wondered about Aaron's motivations and how he started his life as a property agent? Maybe you are an aspiring real estate agent or already taking the exams. Or better yet, you want to join Aaron as a real estate agent and perhaps benefit from his mentoring!
Here we are, providing the details of Aaron's journey into the Real Estate industry, sharing about his style and ways of training and some snippets of his personal perspective on the industry in a raw and unfiltered manner.
We want to share his story as realistically and truthfully as we can, and you decide if it all makes sense.
The start of it all
Aaron sees himself as a bit different to what people tend to expect from the industry and here we start with how he himself got into Real Estate.
Everything began around the time Aaron was in the Naval Diving Unit (NDU) during National Service. Near the end of the 2 years service, he was wondering about what work he could do, other than being enrolled to start his degree program in marketing with SIM. Thus, with his previous working experiences with World of Sports and Columbia Sportswear, he went for an interview for a part time retail position so he could work and study at the same time.
He did not start at Nike after all, but that same day leaving the interview, he met an acquaintance, a junior from school, who was in the Real Estate industry. From there, he got the introduction to join and ended up paying $799 for his Real Estate course, went through it and successfully became a Real Estate agent. But in that time, there was no exams nor significant regulation about becoming an agent.
Early life as a Real Estate Agent
Starting out, it was all about survival. Aaron recalls not earning any income for the first 6 months being self-employed. The industry even appeared to be weird, as there is no set SOP about how to go about doing things, where everything is either learnt by oneself on his/her own or depending on what the manager teaches. If you join the wrong person, or something that is unsuitable for you, you might end up without any significant progress or results.
There's a little story about how Aaron got his first break. Being youthful and fun loving, clubbing was one of Aaron's leisure activities, and after one particular night out, he struck up a conversation with the taxi driver on the cab home. From the chat, he ended up handing over his name card and shared about being an agent.
The next morning, dealing with the effects of a hangover, Aaron received a call. Yes, from the taxi driver. The taxi driver wanted to sell his flat as part of his divorce proceedings and contact Aaron. For a first case, it did seem rather complicated and nobody ever talks about what it is like selling a property in a complicated case like divorce.
For Aaron, he instinctively approached his manager who suggested a 50:50 split where the manager would handle the case with Aaron shadowing to learn. This is totally okay at the start and perfectly reasonable. But as one gains in experience and knowledge, you would not want to split the potential profits, and thus works on your own.
The first few years for him was all about soaking up the knowledge, learning constantly, be it reading resources or asking questions. Nobody really talks about how to do things unless you ask and he was actively seeking to improve himself.
After about 6 years in the industry, Aaron went into doing recruitment. This was another turning point in his real estate journey. At its peak, Aaron's team came up to around 40 people and of course everyone joined with the intention of making it in the industry through his help.
It was at this point, Aaron was reminded of his time spent in the NDU. In NDU, it's all about the individual's resolve and mindset to succeed and make it, no matter how tough the training was. "If you want it, you do it".
This was a stark contrast to what Aaron found during his experience as a coach in this period. He found himself questioning, "Why am I the one to ask people to work?".
He believes that if someone wants to make it ,the person should be active; actively asking and learning about how to do things, seeking advice as a real estate agent.
When the team was started, many people seemed passive and appeared to be waiting for something to happen. Also, Aaron observed that many people do not like to work alone, and tended to group together for prospecting activities like giving out flyers, roadshows or door knocking work.
Drawing an analogy, it's like sports running, where people needed to gather fellow runners before going for a run. It takes time to do this gathering and scheduling, and you might end up with people that say they are going and do not appear on the day. Also, you might get people who run once and then never go running again.
This is fine for sports running, but in the real estate industry, being an agent is a job. If one does not want to do the prospecting work alone, and needs to wait for people to go together with. "When will you earn the money?"
Realising the situation and feeling confused, Aaron decided to reconfigure the team and spend less time on recruitment. He wanted to be a mentor and not a babysitter. This change and reconfiguration was for the better as he ended up getting:
More time with family
More time for himself
Able to focus on his own sales more
For people that are currently with Aaron, they engage in a far more active manner. This engagement is done through monthly catch up over meals or coffee, where the bulk of time is spent on them asking questions and seeking help about specific scenarios.
In order to be an effective mentor, Aaron is trained in ACTA and certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). He prefers an active way of teaching and helping agents and the way of training is as such:
An active format, where Aaron teaches about how the industry works, then
Agent figures out what's the best way for achieving his/her own success out of the many possibilities
Aaron is not here to constantly babysit or nag at agents to work
The underlying belief is that: to make it in a competitive industry, one needs to be ambitious and competitive in nature. There is significant effort required on people that want to make it in the real estate industry. Being self-employed as a real estate agent, you are your own boss.
Joining Aaron is just like having a teacher and not a boss.
Watch the video to hear Aaron narrate his experiences in person and how the NDU culture influenced his beliefs!