If you want to know how to be a landman, you first need to know the law.
Every mineral title landman must know the laws of the state they are working. Without a strong legal foundation, you will not go far in oil and gas. You’re out there because a company trusts you to accurately interpret legal documents.
To accurately interpret legal documents, you need to know how to read the body of instruments. If you get one word wrong, you can change the meaning of an entire sentence. This sets off a laundry list of costly issues.
If the intent of the parties gets confused or if it’s not exact in any way, you could end up taking $30 million dollars of leases on acreage that is already Held By Production (HBP). If you ask around the oilfield, you are bound to come across at least someone who’s watched a greenhorn pull that off.
But, if you want to know how to be a landman it’s about much more than courthouse documents. There are a plethora of intangibles that make a great landman.
Let’s look at five “soft skills” no landman can live without.
It’s fun to joke about the war stories you hear about those $30 million dollar mistakes, but truth be told, no one wants to see that happen. It’s a nightmare for everyone involved.
If you are thinking of becoming a landman, detail-oriented isn’t just a bullet point on a resume. You have to catch errors and inconsistencies the moment you look at a document. Precision is supremely important, but precision includes velocity.
Great landmen do incredible work, unbearably fast.
When you’re out on the road negotiating leases, you don’t have an office full of co-workers to keep you going. Your manager isn’t there to get you fired up to go out and close deals every day either. This can be a hard transition if you’re not suited for the life of a landman.
As a landman on the road, you are more of an entrepreneur than an employee. It’s you against the world. Go make it happen and come back with a bunch of oil and gas leases in hand!
If you are not a passionate person that thrives under pressure, you probably want to look at another career.
3. Lifelong Learner
Anyone who is passionate about their work never stops learning. And that’s the thing about the oil and gas industry, you never stop learning. It’s such a complex industry, you will never meet an oilfield veteran who claims they know everything. And if you do they never figured out how to be a landman.
If you are a naturally curious person who easily gets lost in fascination, you can’t find a better business than the oil bidness. From history to science to personalities, you won’t find a better industry of straight-shooting good people who love what they do.
If you enjoy constantly upgrading your skills and pushing yourself further each day, you might be a perfect fit for a career as a landman.
4. Relentless Persistence
That’s not to say persistent beyond reason. At some point, you have to assess your progress and power through The Dip or jump ship. No company wants to hire a landman that wastes their time chasing the wrong priorities.
But a truly professional landman with the proper amount of emotional detachment stays the course. You went to the trouble of making it happen, now you see it through. Not everyone signs on the dotted line at the end of every meeting.
If you’re good at playing the long game and building strong relationships over time, you will be a great landman.
You need to be a good people person to do any of this, of course. But, “people person” is table stakes for any landman. As we move into 2018, we are facing a down market for as far as the eye can see. To be successful, you must specialize in more than one area.
If you start out pulling documents from the local courthouse, take classes to improve your negotiation skills. If you’re an expert with legal instruments work to improve your negotiation, sales, and leadership skills.
No matter where you end up, you won’t get there without a plethora of skills.
There You Have It: How To Be A Landman
It’s just that easy. Excel to the top 5% of your field. Remember, your work is your calling card and when the business slows down, only the cream of the crop will be working. If you want to master how to be a landman, you will master the craft across the board.
Honestly, I’m thrilled to see the number of talented young people who have joined the industry over the past decade. We need as many great people working in the oil and gas business as possible.
So, if you come across this article and have a question about how to be a landman you haven’t been able to get a straight answer on, I am happy to give you an answer. Leave your questions in the comments below.
I would love to help!