As a new real estate agent, you’ve already joined a local real estate office and are excited to start earning the big bucks. But with over 2 million licensed real estate agents in the U.S., according to ARELLO, you’re going to need some tools to help you stand out among your peers and grow your success.
When I worked as a receptionist in a real estate office, I found it fascinating to watch the agent traffic (Sociology 101 at its best!). Some agents would be there first thing in the morning, others would meander in mid-morning. Some would work all day, others would be there for an hour or two. What did I learn from all of this? Those that were the most successful were at the office the most. My point: you cannot expect to earn $50K your first month, or even make it in the real estate industry, when you only work 10 hours a week.
Let's Get the Obvious Out of the Way:Suitable vehicle, doesn’t have to be high-end
- Runs well
- Looks good
- Washed, waxed and vacuumed
- Clothes are pressed
- Shoes are buffed
- Hair is cut and styled
- Limit jewelry
To accomplish your real estate goals, you need to have strong work ethic. Be in the office each day, especially during your most productive hours. Then, as you start to get clients, be available when they need you. Return calls promptly. Attend meetings and get there early. I could go on and on...
Do the most unpleasant tasks first. Return those dreaded phone calls first or other undesirable tasks. Then move on to what you love: studying the market, selling/buying trends, new construction, etc.
Do what you say you’re going to do and do it quickly. No one wants to wait 5 days to hear from an agent they met at an open house. If you offer to provide information to a potential client, deliver it promptly. Follow up with the same day or the next day to see if they have any questions.
Set a realistic budget and income expectations. If you don't start by setting a budget and estimating how much you hope to earn, how will you know if you're growing your business?
Figure out how much money you NEED to make to pay business and personal expenses then calculate projected earnings.
When setting income expectations, consider what you hope to make in a year. Divide by 12 to get an idea of monthly earnings. If you wish to earn $20,000/month, figure out how many sales you would have to close to earn it minus your expenses. Take into consideration the commission paid to the brokerage and other fees.
There are a lot of great CRM (Customer Relationship Management) programs available to real estate agents and you MUST have one. This database will help you keep track of the prospects, leads, and clients you serve.
You will want to categorize your leads into groups (ex. propective buyers) and gear specific marketing towards them. For example, select a group of prospects to nurture with a drip email campaign.
Not only can you use your CRM program to store contacts and keep track of purchase/selling history, but you can also get reminders about anniversaries, the name of your client's first grandchild, pet names, etc. I can still remember hearing a client's excitement after the agent congratulated them on their 30th wedding anniversary. "How did you remember?!"
Great communication skills
Learn your client's preferred form of communication by asking for their preferences at the beginning of your relationship (phone call, text, email, etc.).
You might not have all the answers (but your clients don't need to know that). Clients are looking to you for expert advice, but you're new to the industry and may not have all the answers, all the time. Let them know you'll look into it and promptly email the information. This will give you a chance to research the topic, making it easier to explain it when you do a follow-up call.
Have patience when explaining real estate jargon. Even though you know the information inside and out, clients may have a difficult time fully comprehending it. Slow down and make time to explain what you're saying. Remember, this is probably the first time they’re hearing it.
Stay up-to-date on local knowledge and industry trends. If you want to build trust and loyalty, it's important to know what's going on locally as well as industry-wide. School information, zoning, pricing trends, mortgage rates, etc.
Sphere of Influence (SOI)
Building up a contact list is important. Think broad. Who do you know and who do they know? The potential reach is endless.
- Friends, family, old classmates, neighbors, your physicians, coaches, old business associates, your barista, etc. Categorize them in your CRM program (friends, family, buyer prospect, seller prospect, etc.).
- Send them announcements, including: “I have started buying/selling real estate!”
- Make a plan for ongoing contact via email, phone, text, Facebook Messenger, etc.
- SOI will result in higher price points / higher returns
Find a mentor
Finding a mentor, someone who has already become a great success, will grow your career rapidly. If you cannot find a mentor in your area, consider hiring a business coach or listen to coaching podcasts.
Your Own Website and Blog
Most agents have a website associated with the agency where they hang their license. They also manage a website and blog of their own. Use each to market yourself, gain control over the content you wish to share with potential clients and provide a different means of attracting leads. As you build an audience, who follows your content, you’ll gain new clients.
If you want to succeed in the real estate industry, you need to start with the basics and grow from experience and the advice of mentors. You are an independent contractor, which means you own your business and you are ultimately in charge of marketing yourself and your business. Start by getting the basics in order (ex. CRM program), set goals, and build up your SOI. You have limitless income potential but if you don't have systems in place in the beginning, you're going to waste time and money catching up later. Start out with the right tools, a budget, projected income, and your sales funnel will steadily grow. Now get out there and make it happen!