Building a successful real estate career requires the drive to persist, learn from others and the ability to execute. It’s estimated that 87 percent of all real estate agents fail in their first 5 years, so how can you avoid joining them? We talked to some successful real estate agents for their tips, tools and insights.
Here are 12 real estate agent tips that you can use to build your own successful career:
1. Be Tenacious
This business requires a lot of patience, especially for a new agent working among agents with 30 years of experience and a book of clients. In order to start off on the right foot — that is, a positive mindset — new agents must be determined to identify and follow through on opportunities. When I started working as an independent agent, I reached out to agents who had a lot of for sale listings. I sent emails letting them know that if they ever needed coverage open house coverage, I would be more than happy to help and host an open house for them in exchange for access to any direct buyers who attend the open houses.
I loved doing this because it gave me an opportunity to engage with potential clients in person — discuss the current market; the buying process, which many were not educated about, especially with co-ops; and what I have done for past clients like guide them through the offer and negotiation stages and walk them through the board application process. If the listing agent trusts you, then they are more likely to reach out to you again — I was literally doing one to two open houses for an agent every Sunday).
2. Give Your Business a Runway
Give yourself a realistic timeframe to get up and running. You are starting a business, and any business requires time in order to begin to make money. Between 12 and 18 months is a realistic time before you start to see business on a regular basis. That means you need to make sure you have money to live on and money to invest in your marketing during that time frame. Proper timeline planning and budgeting will ensure you have a fighting chance to make the career work.
3. Have a Scalable CRM
Nurturing contacts and leads is the bread and butter of building your digital Rolodex. A great customer relationship management (CRM) like Freshsales allows you to start off with a free product that you can use for as long as you wish and scale up with features as necessary. It’s a great way to start off your career or to help you become even more successful because the expense is low, but the payoff is big.
4. Maintain a Budget & Embrace the Untraditional
Expect to work on the weekends when clients are usually available to view properties. As a real estate agent, you are only paid when you sell or rent a property. For this reason, paychecks do not come on a set schedule, so it’s important to create a budget to manage your cash flow, so you are financially stable during busy and slow periods.
5. Check Your Online Reputation
Reputation is everything for real estate agents. Potential clients will most likely investigate realtors before reaching out, so it’s important to frequently Google yourself to see what’s been published by you and others online. Bad reviews or defamatory social media posts can destroy a real estate business overnight. Even your own private social media posts can alienate clients if you share politically charged views or use vulgar language in posts or comments.
6. Combine Process with Value
Everyone can find homes online, find out the good school districts or how close it is to work. What are we as real estate agents bringing to the table that makes us stand out and why are we doing this? Please don’t say for the “money.” Find your value, what you offer and your purpose for doing it!
Know what “value” you offer as a Realtor as you grow is important, but having a real database you build on is also a piece of the foundation in a stable real estate career. When you combine process with value, you have a recipe for success.
7. Communicate Quickly and Reliably
While you might think I’m beating a dead horse, it’s the little things that matter. Responding to clients text and emails right away — ideally within minutes — although before the end of the day is better than nothing. It’s too easy to respond to someone later. Go above and beyond and respond now. If someone calls you — answer. I don’t care if it’s a telemarketer trying to sell you Facebook ads. Answer your phone. If you have to miss the call, call them back ASAP, not before you leave the office. Just do it. Putting follow up on the back burner will kill your business.
8. Be the Neighborhood Expert
You will never truly succeed unless you offer real value-added to your clients. You need to understand the local school system, different neighborhoods, housing markets and trends, commuting options and the finances behind buying or selling a home.
9. Treat Every Client Like Gold
When it comes to building a successful real estate career, the most import advice I could give a new agent is to treat every deal the same. No matter if it’s a N100,000,000 sale or N100,000 sale, treat every transaction and client like it’s the most important yet, and it will pay off tenfold.
10. Be Consistent and Hold Yourself Accountable
Real estate is not something you will become an expert overnight. What you can become an expert in immediately is your approach to each day. Be consistent. Write a list of items that you are going to accomplish at the beginning of each day and at the end each day, hold yourself accountable. Commit to learning something new on a daily basis. This can range from new information about a community or understanding contracts better. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We were all new agents at one point, and there are many people willing to help.
11. Build a Strong Network of Prospects and Clients
The most successful real estate agents have a strong network that provides a steady source of business and referrals. A mistake many real estate agents make is forgetting to maintain the relationships of their core network while focusing on creating new contacts. While it is important to grow, it’s equally important to maintain all relationships. Since there is a lot of competition in real estate, join organizations where you can meet people who you have things in common with which will help you develop a niche clientele.
12. Set Aside Time Every Day to Grow Your Business
It’s important to set aside time every day to prospect for new clients to help grow your business. Sometimes new agents get too caught up in closing their current transactions that they forget to look for new clients to work with, and they’re left with nothing after those existing deals close.
Okoli Okechukwu Loveday
MD GraceLand Homes and Property Agents