If you’re a Realtor (or an investor contemplating getting licensed), you’ve probably asked yourself how to be a successful real estate agent. Luckily, the answer is simple. If you treat your company the same way you would run a small business, you will achieve longevity and success–it’s as simple as that. If you can treat your investment company as the business it deserves to be treated like, success should find you sooner than you find it.
While the concept may seem overwhelming, treating yourself like a business isn’t as hard as it sounds. In fact, doing so can help you generate more dependable leads on a consistent basis.
The real estate industry is constantly changing, meaning it is up to investors and agents to go that extra mile to stay current and ahead of the competition. Nothing facilitates the development of a successful real estate agent quite like the small business systems I get into below. If you are interested in making up some ground in the real estate industry, I encourage you to keep reading.
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How To Become A Successful Real Estate Agent In 10 Steps
When you implement small business systems (which you will learn how to do shortly), not only will your life improve, but you will also help to improve the lives of your current and future clients.
In today’s real estate landscape, customers expect their agents to deliver personalized experiences. If you are not up to date on the latest trends and technologies, the only thing you’ll be doing is wasting the time of both you and your customer. When you are ready to take responsibility for your own fate, use these tips to give your business the edge it deserves.
Have a Marketing Plan in Place
Become an Expert in Your Market
Ramp Up Your Social Media Efforts
Implement Small Business Systems
Don’t Only Focus On Selling
Find A Mentor
Use The Right Tools & Technology
1. Be Available
You might be working with five clients at one time, but if you cannot give your undivided attention to each person, you can kiss your profit (and future recommendation) goodbye. With the advent of caller ID, answering the phone and collecting potential client information is easier than ever. Of course, there will be times when you are genuinely unable to get to your phone on time; but when possible, respond to a call from a current customer. Chances are, they have a simple problem that has a simple solution. Take five minutes to help them out, and you’ll become a hero. You would be surprised at how valuable availability is to the average small business — consider the alternative.
It is equally important to ask every client about their preferred method of communication. Do they like texts, emails, or old-school phone calls? Whatever the answer is, be sure to interact with them on that medium. Clients will notice when you take the time to personalize their experience and remember the “little things.”
2. Set Goals
Did you know that 83 percent of the population doesn’t set goals? Additionally, only three percent of the people who do set goals have those goals written down somewhere. However, if you do take the time to physically write down your goals, you will be 79 percent more likely to achieve them. There is no reason you shouldn’t add goal setting to your daily business to-dos with a statistic like that.
Goal setting is important for all real estate entrepreneurs who want to succeed, as goals give you a way to track and measure progress. How can you tell if your business is improving if you don’t know how you hold up to the competition? Setting specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound goals is a sure-fire way to lock in success.
3. Have a Marketing Plan in Place
If you can set up a marketing campaign and subsequently automate its process, you’ll be way ahead of the game. The key to success in automated marketing is trifold: you must hit all your bases and personalize every customer experience, all without reinventing the wheel every time you launch a new campaign. Use new technology and old-school marketing methods to reach a broad customer base, and be sure to define your target audiences. Once you find a strategy that works for you, you can duplicate the process across multiple mediums. The content on your piece of direct mail may seamlessly transition into a social media post, and vice versa. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, and always look for ways to improve efficiency.
4. Become an Expert in Your Market
Since information about anything and everything is so readily available online, homebuyers are less inclined to enlist the services of agents and investors. Who needs a realtor when you can read Trulia or Redfin’s blogs and get all your answers for free? When it comes down to it, the one thing an agent can offer to customers that the internet can’t is experience. If you present yourself as the expert in your market — a thought leader, if you will — homebuyers will have no choice but to work with you.
Kris Lippi, the licensed real estate broker behind the website ISoldMyHouse.com recommends sticking to your local area because standing reputation is key. “The field of real estate also dominantly works through referrals, so practicing in a place where people know you grants you automatic credibility,” he says. “This, in turn, will increase your chances of being given business.”
Staying up to date on the latest news in your industry and sticking to your local market is the best way to get ahead.
5. Build Relationships
A successful real estate agent will have a jam-packed schedule at all times. Still, that’s no excuse for forgoing to build customer relationships. You need to go the extra mile every time and with every transaction. Late nights and grueling hours should become the norm, not the exception, at least for a little while. Nobody ever said it would be easy to realize a higher level of success. It shouldn’t matter if you are selling a home for $200,000 or $20 million; your attitude should be the same with every client.
Building relationships, in many ways, is the best way a real estate agent can spend their time. Gina Castrorao, a real estate analyst at Fit Small Business, argues that building relationships is perhaps even the most important indicator used to determine an agent’s level of success. “If you are an agent that is good at their job,” says Castrorao, “you will build long-lasting relationships with your clients.” It is important to note, however, that “the goal isn’t to do one deal with a client and never speak to them again. The goal is to do multiple deals with the same clients over the years and that client’s network,” says Castrorao.
The best way to build and maintain customer relationships is by listening to every client’s individual needs. Agents who focus too much time worrying about their financial gains cannot discern what their client wants. Remember that a real estate agent is less of a salesman and more of a guide — a mentor or counselor who helps people through one of the most exciting (and usually overwhelming) experiences of their lives.
6. Ramp Up Your Social Media Efforts
A big aspect of staying up to date on current trends and technologies is being present on social media. Even if you don’t consider yourself technologically savvy, here are four platforms you should join:
Facebook: Facebook is the mecca for all things social media. Not only does it claim over two billion users, but it is also a great platform for advertising. Whether you want to show off a newly listed property on your newsfeed or broadcast your services through a paid ad campaign, Facebook is there to make your marketing dreams come true.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is one of the best places to network with professionals in your industry. The constantly updated newsfeed is also a great place to discover new friends and ask questions.
Instagram: If you are looking to reach a younger audience (perhaps first-time homebuyer aged), Instagram is for you. Tap into your more creative side and create a visually appealing profile by uploading interior and exterior shots from your open houses.
Twitter: Keep your clients (and potential clients) up to date on your life in real-time with Twitter. Whether you answer relevant questions asked by your followers or describe your journey, you’d be surprised by how much you can say in just 140 characters.
7. Implement Small Business Systems:
This is the tip that ties everything together. By utilizing the above strategies, you are, in effect, implementing small business systems. The most successful small businesses are structured; they follow strict processes, they have well-defined strategies, they have action plans derived from clearly established goals, and most importantly, they focus on customer needs. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Just be sure to consistently test your new processes so you can stick with what works and ditch what doesn’t.
8. Don’t Only Focus On Selling
While selling the house is a successful real estate agent’s primary goal, don’t make it the main focus of your interaction with buyers. Build your connection with buyers so that they feel comfortable and build their trust in you. You are more likely to sell the house if buyers believe you have their best interest at heart, so don’t let selling the home be the only focus.
9. Find A Mentor
Find a mentor who has experience in the real estate industry that you can learn the process of selling a house from. This will allow you to see the documents involved in real estate deals that will allow you to be more confident and capable of handling a deal independently. Some brokers offer training programs that can be beneficial for new real estate agents to gain experience.
10. Use The Right Tools & Technology
The right technology is crucial for a successful marketing campaign for new agents. Be sure to establish a strong presence on social media to reach a larger target audience. You should also create a website for potential buyers to visit to visualize the work you do and the services you can provide. This is a great way to stand out from other agents who may even have more experience than you do.
Additional Tips For Success
If you are looking to give yourself an edge in your market, you can always take more steps to stand out. Focus on building relationships in your area and dedicate time to growing your business. Here are a few extra tips that will help you along the way:
Create a Budget: Finances are the core of what makes any business successful. Take time to create and maintain a budget as you start accepting clients. Track your work-related expenses, commissions, and any other costs or income associated with your work. In doing so, you can stay on top of your finances and improve areas as needed. Try downloading this sample business budget template to help you get started.
Talk to the Media: As a real estate agent, you need to get used to putting yourself out there. This means seeking out new opportunities for publicity. Try signing up for Help A Reporter Out (HARO) to provide insight to journalists working on real estate-related content. You can also build relationships with reporters in your area in case any future opportunities arise. Both of these practices will help you get your name out there and potentially build a bigger network of clients.
Work With Other Agents: It can be a great idea to team up with another agent in your area. At least for a deal here and there. While you will have to split commissions, it can help you gain more experience and increase your overall business. Think about the skills and connections you could bring to the table and partner with an agent you could learn from. This mutually beneficial setup could expand your knowledge and lead to more work in the future.
Screen Your Clients: We often find ourselves immersed in pitching ourselves to potential clients, so much so that we forget to make sure that those clients will be a good fit for us as well. If you waste your time chasing leads that ultimately wind up leading nowhere, you’ve lost valuable time. Develop a system to identify whether a lead is a serious buyer or not.
Becoming a real estate agent has many attractive qualities, but becoming successful in the industry will require time and effort. The goals you set for yourself will help you navigate your path to success and allow you to measure your progress. Use the above steps as a blueprint for your business systems, and you’ll be well on your way to learning how to be a successful real estate agent.
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