Staying on top of industry changes and new developments is crucial, especially in a business with so much on the line. Changes in local economies, housing needs or zoning issues can seriously impact investments. Developments in customer service aspects — new approaches or tools to help clients find what they need, and then walk away happy — can mean the difference between keeping people coming back and losing them to a competitor. Changes in technology, such as the developing field of artificial intelligence, can open up new avenues to make sure you’re dedicating resources to the right areas. Even updates to building laws can impact how well a site will do: Without knowing ahead of time about changes, you may get hit by unforeseen costs when doing upgrades, ones that can turn a nice profit into a purchase that barely breaks even.
So how do you keep up-to-date on developments, as well as keep improving your skills or education? Members from Forbes Real EstateCouncil favor the following approaches:
1. Network With Local Market Leaders
When entering a market or gaining a better understanding of your own, look for local market leaders who have insight you can trust. On a daily basis, I network with real estate wholesalers, agents, Realtors, attorneys, developers, builders and my mentors to determine whether actions I take in a given area will be profitable over time. There’s no substitute for local, actionable information. – Abhi Golhar, Summit & Crowne
2. Surround Yourself With Great People
Network equals net worth: The more people you speak to, the more opinions and knowledge you receive, which eventually molds your decisions for the better. Be proud to be the dumbest person in the room. Surround yourself with great people, and you too will be great. – Engelo Rumora, List’n Sell Realty
3. Listen To In-Person Instructors Who Encourage Interaction
My favorite classes have become in-person classes, where instructors encourage interaction. We all have different experiences and ideas. It’s interesting to hear what has worked for others, and then take those ideas and evolve them into something that is my own. Find instructors who keep your attention and function in similar niches, and follow them. – Michelle Ames, HorsePower Realty/Realty Executives Metroplex
4. Sit Down With Clients And Discuss Their Pain Points
The greatest learning occurs not in schools or meeting rooms, but when you sit down with your customers and discuss their pain points. I make it a point to meet as many of our clients in person as possible, and to personally respond to inbound inquiries about our services. This allows me to understand how an end user perceives our business, what their challenges are and how we could benefit them. – SohinShah, InstaLend
5. Leverage Associations And Industry Knowledge
We continue to benefit from the fantastic content, network and events provided by the Urban Land Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers and National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts. Pairing the deep knowledge there with more contemporary and real estate-specific media outlets gives us an insight into how our industry is shifting and moving. – Michael Sroka, Dealpath, Inc.
6. Study Other Industries’ Cultures And Products For Ideas
Real estate is a slow-moving beast that is years behind other industries. I don’t have a single resource, nor would I recommend using a single resource. Instead, I seek out a broad perspective by following a number of industries, consumer software products and any companies that I think are doing a good job creating culture. The best ideas for real estate often come from elsewhere. – Gino Zahnd, Cozy
Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization for senior-level executives in the real estate industry.