Having a successful career will offer you a lot of benefits and real profitable opportunities. As we live in a world governed by social status and money, working your way up to the top will definitely improve your quality of life. There are many possible reasons for which an individual would desire success.

Everyone aspires to have purpose or meaning in their career but how do you actually do that? What practical steps can you take today or this month to make sure you’re not just toiling away at your desk but you’re doing something you genuinely care about?

Say you’ve been selling real estate for 20 years, and you’re starting to feel a little burnt out. You don’t want to leave the field entirely, but you need a new challenge, a chance to go further and level up towards a better position, for instance as an agency manager.

Agency managers in this field are the realty industry’s coaches, while individual agents are the players who get the glory of hitting the home runs – selling the overpriced listing, signing the difficult buyer or convincing a family that relocating to the area will be a good move.

Those who make the shift from selling real estate to managing others who sell real estate have a variety of motivations, but they do follow some typical career paths. Most have a great deal of experience as agents.

Michael Jau

To guide marketers through the journey of the road from an agent to an agency manager was Michael Jau, an experienced and successful player in the insurance industry. He started off as an agent and climbed his way towards becoming a unit manager and a successful agency manager thereof.

Despite facing a few bumps along, Michael had the utmost strength and determination to get where he is today.

Starting out as a Hong Leong insurance agent back in 2012, Michael noted the many similarities in the job scope and struggles between an insurance agent and a real estate agent.

He shared that when he first started his journey, there were no digital platforms for sales and marketing, thus all search for prospects were done manually – i.e. through handing out flyers. Though a very conventional method, he determines it as the most effective way to build an instant connection with prospects. This challenging period definitely helps a marketer grow and is the best foundation to prosper in the industry.

Cold Calling

Another tip shared by Michael was cold calling, which is a technique in which a salesperson contacts individuals who have not previously expressed interest in the offered products or services. Cold calling typically refers to solicitation by phone or telemarketing, but can also involve in-person visits, such as with door-to-door salespeople.

Michael hints that the method is one of the most effective approaches to build rapport with anyone and to get prospects to open up to a salesperson.

Successful cold-call salespersons should be persistent and willing to endure repeated rejection. To be successful, they should adequately prepare by researching the demographics of their prospects and the market. Consequently, professions who rely heavily on cold calling typically have a high attrition rate.

Cold calling generates various consumer responses, such as acceptance, call terminations or hang-ups, and even verbal attacks. Marketing analysts estimate the success rate of cold calling is just 2% even for a skilled professional. Based on this estimate, only perhaps 5 out of 250 calls will be successful.

Conversely, a warm call salesperson boasts a more favourable success rate of approximately 30%. Warm calling is the solicitation of a customer who had previously expressed interest in the company or product.

Over the years however, guidelines on cold calling has become more stringent. Michael advised marketers to be especially careful in observing the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) 2012 and its rules. Sales reps should pay extra attention to the numbers they cold-call and to the Do Not Call Registry. A wrong call could cost up to three years imprisonment or a fine of up to RM500, 000.

Booths and Exhibitions

Moving on, Michael shared his know-hows of sales during booths and exhibitions. He particularly noted not to filter, not to judge and to interact with as many people as possible.

You spend good money creating an attractive trade show booth and getting your people to the show. Now you need to see a return on your investment by selling your products or services to attendees.

While some people come prepared to buy, others prefer to gather information and consider their options before making a purchase. Implementing a handful of strategies that encourage onsite sales as well as later purchases is key to making your booth pay off.

Encouraging prospects to stop by your booth is the first step in your trade show sales strategy. Create an open booth so people feel comfortable entering rather than standing outside of it.

On door-to-door sales, Michael hinted that the direct selling method can be even more effective than a traditional advertisement, marketing, and sales approach.

What’s old is new again, and now it’s time to recall old-school marketing methods like door-to-door sales. Why? Because when done right, door-to-door marketing is still one of the most efficient ways to increase your customer base, build strong and long-lasting relationships, as well as sell all kinds of products.

Door to Door

Today, the market is oversaturated and even the most promising marketing campaign can get lost in the advertisement noise. Door-to-door sales allows companies to find a place in a crowded market, establishing face-to-face contact with potential prospects that have been unresponsive to other forms of consumer outreach, informing them about the exclusive offers and influencing their decision-making process.

Through this method, sales reps increase the chance to be clearly heard and correctly understood. They can pitch their product directly to a potential customer, and they get valuable feedback in the process.

Neither organizing focus groups, nor hiring survey companies allows you to find out what customers think and feel about your new product, as the door-to-door sales do, simply because your field reps get maximum unfiltered messages from potential customers speaking to them face-to-face.

Leader Time

Despite all these skills that he had managed to pick up during his years as an agent, Michael also shared a part of his life which was not always so smooth. He hit a slump along the way with no sales over the period of four months, hinting that the journey of success is filled with ups and downs.

However, there will always be a silver lining for those who seek the determination to push through. His turning point came during a trip with his girlfriend then (now wife). The eight-day trip enlightened him as he recalled his promise to her and their memories together, his struggles when starting out in the industry and how his wife had encouraged him then. He renewed his mindset to that of when he was a rookie agent, fuelled with the determination to succeed in the industry.

Upon his return back to Malaysia, Michael gave himself a deadline to achieve a certain sales target which he had set. He gave it his all in the few months he had limited to himself, scheduling seven to eight appointments daily with his prospects. During this period, he exceeded his own expectations and secured his spot in the industry.

 He advised agents to not easily give up unless you are very sure you have given your very best in the field. Michael also reminded to appreciate the support you have gotten from your family along the way.

In 2015, Michael ended his journey as an agent when he was promoted to a unit manager and agency manager subsequently.

He shared that throughout the process, the key is to keep learning and constantly improves leadership qualities. One must always be hungry for knowledge and to maintain the determination and mindset of a rookie.

Positioning in leadership is imperative. Michael said that your personal leadership is going to get positioned in others’ minds whether or not you plan for that to happen.

It is important to note those whom will be impacted by your leadership, the type of leader you choose to be, how to impact your target and why your target should follow you.

Think broadly to include those you’ll communicate with directly, those with whom they will communicate and all the influencers along the way. At the same time, dig deep to understand your target’s expectations and hopes. Think about their context, what really matters to them, the occasions on which you can impact them and where you might connect.

Michael stresses the importance of showing appreciation to those who look up to you. He advised to make complimenting someone a habit. Showing a small gesture of appreciation can go a long way when it comes to building a team.

Leading by example is also crucial in good leadership. Leadership is a process in which an individual influences the behaviour and attitudes of other people. Leading by example helps other people see what lies ahead and act swiftly to counter any challenges along the way.

One of the responsibilities of a leader is to inspire other people to do the best that they can do for the benefit of the organization. To achieve this, the leader must show them the way by getting involved in the process – leading by example.

A leader who leads by example positions himself as a credible person who deserves to be respected and trusted by the seniors and juniors. The staffs see the leader as a person who understands their plight, rather than as a person who only gives instructions. They appreciate what the leader does, and works toward helping the leader achieve the organization’s goals.

He also shared the importance of having a blueprint and a goal. If you want to be the best leader you can be, your best bet is to draw up a Leadership Blueprint that makes sense for you, your team, and your situation; and again follow that design carefully.

Just going through the process of putting together your Leadership Blueprint will make you a better leader, because you will have a better understanding of who you are, who you want to be, and how to best support your team.

Effective time management also leads to effective leadership. Time management is invaluable to being a highly effective leader. By taking ownership of your time you can improve the quality and quantity of the work you do, achieve your goals and reduce stress, improve the efficiency of your organisation, and have more time to do what you want to do.

Another good culture to sow in a team as a leader is to stop making excuses. It is a vital behaviour which separates the good from the great. One must strive at all means to achieve something.

Altruism is another good trait to possess as a leader. Altruistic Leadership is defined as the guiding of others with the goal of improving their well-being or emotional state. Leaders must learn to listen to opinions and advice, and learn to give in when necessary.

Finally, Michael said that it is crucial to continue to review with the team. This makes way for constant improvement and helps achieve goals more efficiently.

Conclusively, it is safe to say that there is no short cut to excellence. Everyone is born with enough ability to experience success. Yes, some have more ability and succeed at a much higher level than others but that doesn’t mean you cannot find the level of success you want to reach.

Whatever that destination, your abilities can get you there. The task is to discover and develop your abilities. You must persist until you reach your destination. Nothing comes easy except quitting. Success demands hard work.