I was about a year in real estate. Eager to learn, succeed, and be in-the-know. I was embracing my new career with gusto, but I was floundering. There were so many things to sort through. I was being bombarded with coaches and expensive systems. I was struggling to create a one year plan, let alone a ten- year career goal. I was distracted by shiny things (I dropped $11,000 on a marketing company without barely thinking about it, simply because I thought a “personal brochure” would result in clients beating down my door).
My local association announced they had released a Request for Proposal for a new MLS provider. My branch manager – who knew I had a strong background in website user experience and technology – encouraged me to join the task force. That was the biggest turning point in my career.
I was invited the following year to join committees on the board. I applied for Bylaw and MLS. My association was revising our bylaws, so that was time- intensive and quite involved. I learned more in that year discussing each of the Board bylaws than I had in all the registration courses, and any of the transactions I’d facilitated up to that point, and I still recommend new agents join their local bylaw committee. I also met some excellent, knowledgeable Realtors® I heavily rely on still to this day for feedback, assistance and advice.
I volunteered every year for at least two committees. I found I have a niche interest in technology, and professional standards/arbitration. I’ve been a member of these committees ever since.
A few years later, I ran for Director of my Board. I lost, and I licked my wounds for a few years, then ran again. I then did two consecutive terms as Director and thoroughly enjoyed those four years. I attended the OREA conferences and met leaders in Real Estate from around the country.
The point of my blog post isn’t to share my resume. It’s to highlight the benefits of volunteering in organized real estate.
- I’ve learned about the inner workings of the industry, which has given me confidence and knowledge to speak about the industry to my peers and my sphere. The feeling of inclusion and accomplishment adds increased satisfaction and personal reward to my career.
- I’ve learned sales and negotiation tactics from top producers around the world, and applied those to my business.
- I’ve developed a network of Realtors around the world that send me referrals, that choose me to bounce ideas oﬀ, and whom I’ve developed a secure confidence in, to send clients to when they ask me for referrals.
- I’ve been an active part of positive change in the Helping to move it in the direction I believe is the right direction.
- I use my work in organized real estate in my listing and buyer presentations. Showing potential clients that I’m experienced well beyond my immediate bubble indicates I have tools and knowledge my local “small time” competition does not.
- It is not the “time-waster” many people think it is. A few hours a month volunteering which directly contributes to additional business is time well spent, no matter how you look at it!
Is it for you? How will you know until you try? Most associations hold some kind of informative session around the time they strike committees for the year.Whether that’s just information on their website, an open house style gathering or other, I suggest attending it. Or, contact your associations Leadership Development Committee. Their goal is to help steer those interested in getting involved into the places where their skills and interests would be put to good use.
Worst case scenario, you’ve expanded your professional network and learned a little more about your industry. How can you argue with that?