Once you've found a company to work for:
1. Ask to shadow a top agent who may even be willing to serve as your mentor
2. Go to the office everyday ---- you'll be surprised at how much you can learn from watching, listening to day-to-day challenges that a realtor faces. You can take this time to network among your co-workers.
3. Learn all the systems --- MLS, etc. If there's a tutorial, make sure you master it.
4. Offer to hold open houses (but do this only after you've observed how good agents hold theirs) for people who may be too busy with multiple listings that they can't hold open houses for all of them. Relish the experience
5. Develop your own system for keeping track of, and staying in touch with your leads. I subscribe to Brian Buffini's Working by Referral system. Check them out at http://www.BuffiniAndCompany.com. The basic tenets are: writing personal notes, making phone calls, popping by from time to time. It's an excellent way to stay top of mind with your associates.
6. READ! There are so many good books that will help you: Start with:
...21 things my broker never told me
... Millionaire Real Estate agent
7. Have an online presence --- begin by joining real estate networking sites. Trulia is good. So is ActiveRain. You'll be amazed at just how much good info you'll find in these sites. And since 86% of buyers use the internet to search for homes, you have to be tuned in, wired in
8. Build your own website -- try Point2Agent for a trial and free site. If you need someone to invite you to give you your first site, email me with your name and email address, and I'll send you an invitation. When you respond, you'll see that you already have that site set up for you to populate.
9. DON'T spend a lot of money on advertising just yet (like postcards, newspaper, promotional giveaways, etc). One of my title reps had introduced me to the concept of "urgent need" where I send out letters to prospective sellers to tell them about one of my client's needs --- to see if perhaps the seller may want to sell the property. Excellent response that yielded several listings for me through several mailings.
10. Buy a domain that is specific to you as a realtor. And make sure that all emails to you, as a realtor, contains that domain. For example: DaveWRealtor.com, with email address sent to Dave@DaveWRealtor.com. If you ever have to change companies, that email address and domain stays with you, and you never lose touch with your past/current/future clients. By doing so, you build your OWN BRAND.
You'll have to have your own inner drive and willingness to serve your clients, no company can teach you that. They can teach you how to write a contract, but not how to sell Real Estate.
You're first few weeks and months will likely be spent getting organized, ordering biz. card, stationary, signs, setting up programs you'll need on your computer, learning how to use the MLS, taking classes etc.
One thing people don't realize is that it is VERY costly to work in Real Esate. You'll need several thousand dollars to just get going and pay all the dues and fees to start and then most companies have a fee they will charge you monthly to work there.
You might want to call an experienced agent in your area and see if you can "shadow" them for a few days to really see first hand how a Realtor works.
I wish you lots of luck and happiness in your new chosen field!
and ask yourself based on those 5 areas, are you ready?
If you are, then the first day would be to write down your sphere of influence, those people in your family, your friends, your doctor, dentist, classmates you are still in touch with, etc. Then send out an announcement to them about your new career. Once you have done that, check back with them on the phone in a week and ask them if they may know someone who are looking for a home, etc.
The mentor is the most important of all. You want someone that will work with you for a period of months. Personally, there is no way that just a few weeks will prepare you for what agents face on a daily basis.
As for the best companies in your area, I would talk to your friends and perhaps other realtors that you know. Go and interview the companies yourself and ask them what they are going to do for you.
I am sure that many other people here will give you additional ideas as well.