7 Tips that Will Make You A Successful Real Estate Agent in Your First Year
This article is for First Year Real Estate Agents, whether you’re six months in and still searching for your first deal OR you just received your license in the mail. The intent of this blog entry is to help those of you who are seeking help/advice. After having employed and coached nearly 1000 agents personally, I am going to give you tips that quite frankly, even veteran agents with little or no production need to hear. Sometimes, it’s about going back to basics.
If you’d like to add to the conversation and assist First Year Agents, drop me a line in the comments section below!
Tip No. 1 – It’s All About Leads
I’ve seen it happen time and time again. A new agent will get in the business and open 2 or 3 escrows in their first few weeks, not because they’ve mastered the listing or residential purchase agreement, but because they’d approach anyone and everyone within 2-3 feet of them about real estate. They were excited about their profession and it was by sheer enthusiasm that people would listen to them. That excitement, or as I call it, “Ignorance On Fire,” is what got them the business. Then after closing a few deals they, decide that it’s time to master the contracts. They attend trainings, webinars, conference calls, and know the contracts inside and out only to reach a new level which I call “Intelligence On Ice” only to discover that they now have no leads in their funnel and no clients to service because they shifted their focus from lead generation to contract education.
There is a time and place for learning your contracts, but make no mistake, I have employed hundreds of real estate agents who had PhD’s in the contracts but no clients to serve. Make lead generation your priority. Work on lead generation daily. Learn how to create active and passive streams of lead generation. Too much active streams (cold calling, door knocking, open houses) and you’ll be exchanging time for money. Too much passive marketing, and you won’t see a paycheck for at least 8 to 12 months. You need them both.
Tip No. 2 – Master The Internet
In real estate, you can either buy leads or earn them. Things were very different even 10 years ago. Back then, most agents did not rely on websites to bring in business. In fact much of what they did relied more on old fashion marketing including advertising in newspapers and magazines.
You have to create an unmistakably good real estate website that showcases all the cities or towns you do business in. These community pages, which are really “micro-sites” within the main page of your site, have to get the eyeballs of all the local residents you are targeting. A good community page gives consumers everything they would want to know about a city or town. Information such as demographics, town history, local attractions, restaurants and of course a description about the real estate market. A good local page will also have some information about yourself and what makes you a hire worthy agent.
One important point to emphasize however is the need to market these pages well. As an agent you need to make sure they are done well to perform online. Having the basic understanding of both on page and off page SEO is important. For a Realtor to capture business from these type of pages you should come up in search for a phrase like top Real Estate Agents (enter City here). When a consumer does a Google search like this they are looking to hire an agent. While this might not be a high volume search, it is a money search! This is not a casual real estate enthusiast but someone who is looking to hire a Realtor!
While creating an online presence may not be an instant source of leads and income, if you’re able to overcome the challenges year one will present, the presence you create will pay you back, ten times over.
Tip No. 3 – Make Personal Contact
People like to deal with people who can genuinely show that they care about them. We live in busy times and we tend to streamline a lot of tasks to become more efficient. Staying in touch with your clients cannot be replaced even by the best technological tools or by another individual. If you want that client to be loyal and supportive to you, you will need to find the time to care about them.
You should be scheduling one coffee meeting with one of your personal contacts per week. Taking people out to lunch can get very expensive, so the best thing to do is to invite someone out for a cuppa coffee, and simply advise them that you just want to catch up. Make sure that the meeting is about them. Ask questions about them. Unless they are a complete narcissist, they will eventually ask about you. This is your opportunity to share with them the excitement of your profession.
Tip No. 4 – There Isn’t Only One Way
There are MANY different ways to run your business, generate new business, and manage your database. The problem with many brokerages is that they only teach the “tried and true” methods of getting new business. If you like to talk on the phone and network all day, then these tactics may work for you, but they should not be the only techniques that a brokerage has at its disposal.
You can generate new business in multiple ways including using the internet. Many new agents are discouraged from this. You should be using as many free tools that are available to you to promote your brand. Among these free tools he said include the media, particularly social media. You’ve got to build a social fortress. That means that at bare minimum your business must have a profile on Google Maps, Apple Maps, Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook Business, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest.
Many of these platforms allow you to not only share original content you create, but sites like LinkedIn and Medium allow you to write your own articles that are often picked up quicker by search engines than blog content from your own personal website. The best part is that all these tools are absolutely free.
Tip No. 5 – You Are A Business. Know Your Numbers
You are starting a business. You are an entrepreneur. This is VERY different than having a job or going into a line of work where salaries, benefits, and 9/5 exists. Ever successful business owner knows:
- How much foot traffic is needed for their business to survive
- How many customers need to purchase a “widget” to turn a profit
- The price of each “widget” to turn a profit
Set a goal for the income you want to make, and then you need to understand how many leads it will take to get there. You have to know (at bare minimum)
- How to prospect for leads
- How many leads are required to yield a transaction (commission)
- What dollar amount does each transaction represent (minus expenses & taxes)
Use the law of averages to your benefit and understand that if you generate enough leads, the income will follow.
Try our FREE Business Blueprint which can calculate your Numbers For You
Tip No. 6 – Track What Works
It is important to track where each deal originated. Set up unique emails for different campaigns. When advertising in print, etc., use a different email address for each ad. You need to know whether a lead came from PPC, organic, or a blog post. Most CRM’s will categorize when a lead comes from the website or one of the lead gen sites. If someone calls, make sure to ask them where they heard about you. One of the best ROIs over the past year has been a YouTube Video. Contrary to what most people think, these YouTube videos do not have to be professionally made. An HD WebCam and a laptop it’s really all you need to provide weekly market updates and stories of what it’s like to be a real estate agent. (hint: Try to avoid going on a rant and complaining about the profession. We all have bad days, but 80% of the people listening don’t care and the other 20% are glad it’s not them.)
Unfortunately, most of our marketing costs more than YouTube. One of the typical pitches we hear from vendors is “In your market, you only need one deal to recover the cost.” Trust me, you will hear that line throughout your career in real estate. The catch is, how long does it take the product they’re pitching to bring you that one deal. By tracking ROI of everything, you will know which items to cut.
Be careful with marketing programs that need 6 months or even one year contracts. Lots of vendors will try to rope you into them. If their programs are so good, then why don’t they offer a monthly subscription? Or at least a three month starter package? Make sure someone in your specific market is having success with the program. Do read the fine print about canceling the contract. Bottomline, once you realize that something isn’t giving you a good ROI it needs to be cut.
Tip No. 7 – Implement Technology
Not just technology related to signatures and taking great pictures with professional photography gear but also focusing on the tools that allow us to leverage our time so that we are not stuck in exchanging hours for dollars. Outsourcing should be a part of any businesses recruitment strategy. Hire a virtual assistant or admin. It will pay for itself instantly will allow you to focus on more productive activities. It’s cost effective, which means as a business owner you don’t get stuck working on low value tasks (admin, invoicing, scheduling, research, etc.). Instead, you can work on bringing more business into the business, which equates to more sales! Outsourcing your bookkeeping, accounting and controller services you ensure that your financial operations will be well managed and your CPA can focus on being a trusted advisor you call on for reliance, not just compliance.