Lindsay Miller, who has become a thought leader in Chicago real estate, rising to the ranks of co-CEO of d’aprile properties, was once a rookie, too.
And like most rookies, she was intent on getting every detail perfect when it came to representing her clients. She described the move to real estate as a “big career change” for her, and she was immediately hooked by the rapid-fire nature of the industry. “Aww, the rookie years!” she fondly recalled in a recent interview with Chicago Agent magazine. “As amazing as it was, there were definitely challenges!”
One of those early lessons stuck with her, she said, recalling a listing she was working on with her mentor. Miller started out small with a parking space rental. As she worked through her checklist of to-do items to get the property ready for the market, her mentor asked about something she had forgotten — at least she thought so at first.
“He asked me if I had ordered the virtual tour yet,” she said. “I panicked and started trying to figure out how I could have missed this detail, while quickly trying to get someone scheduled to take care of it.”
Then it dawned on her — agents don’t create virtual tours for something as simple as a parking space. “Thankfully I realized he was teasing me before I actually made the call,” she said.
The episode was more than just a good old-fashioned razzing for Miller, though, who said she learned a valuable lesson that day: “It taught me to calm down, use my resources and have more fun with it.”
Good-natured fun aside, d’aprile properties’ approach to rookie training is no joke. Miller said it’s one of the selling points of the company. “The advantages of joining our team is certainly the training and exposure the rookie will receive,” she said. “Our offices are very collaborative and provide hands-on learning opportunities for new agents.”
She said that in addition to the resources they provide, new agents are encouraged to work with a mentor and ask a lot of questions.
That’s the biggest so-called “rookie mistake” she sees in the industry — not asking enough questions. Miller said she sees three general types when it comes to new rookies: “confident to a fault, quiet and afraid and open to learning.”
“Too often I see them rushing into a complex industry without asking questions or getting a mentor. Avoidable mistakes live here,” she said. “We also see those agents who stand in their own way because they are afraid of what they don’t know.”
That kind of timidity will get you nowhere in the real estate industry, she said. “In this industry you have to do it to learn it. New agents need to be open to learning. They have to be willing to jump in, but do it with the help of their brokerage.”
They should use any resource available and take advantage of the various training programs the company offers on contracts, compliance, negotiation, listings and more, she said.
“Develop yourself and others” is one of the core values at d’aprile properties. “Training and self-development is our culture.”
The firm offers formal training on a quarterly, monthly and weekly basis in some form; however, d’aprile also makes available support team members who provide training on the spot. “Many of our new agents take part in our mentor program, too,” Miller said.
Plugging into the industry through professional organizations is another good tactic, according to Miller. And there’s an abundance of podcasts, books and websites that provide great content, she said. Join real estate associations, too, and get involved, she advised.
Rookies not only function as learners but also can be teachers to those veteran agents who could learn a thing or two from a fresh set of eyes, according to Miller.
“We can learn a lot from the rookies! This is more of a refresher, but new agents always remind us to keep our eyes and mind open to something new,” she said. “Whether it is new software, an app, marketing, etc., it is important that an experienced agent approaches learning with the same vigor as a new agent in order to remain current and relevant.”