When deciding whether to get a real estate license, people commonly ask how long it takes to become successful in real estate. The problem with this question is that it’s impossible to quantify. Success is dependent on the individual agent, as well as the market they’re working in.
Instead of trying to figure out the timetable for success, real estate agents must focus on ensuring that they have indisputable knowledge of the market, incomparable training and a bedside manner that leaves nothing to be desired.
If you want to become more successful as a real estate agent, you must strive to be among the best that the industry has to offer, and that means consistently brushing up on your business practices – regardless of how long you’ve been working in the field. Here are 10 tips to help you advance your career.
1. Enhance Your Knowledge Of The Market
Market knowledge is one of the best indicators of a real estate agent’s level of experience and skill. As a result, how you go about increasing your awareness of the market will depend on whether you’re starting your career, established in the industry or already a veteran broker.
New agents must spend a significant amount of time learning about home value by researching comps and current market conditions. However, veteran brokers should spend more time learning to anticipate how home value will be impacted by changes in the industry, economy and local area.
If you’re just starting your career, establishing baseline knowledge can be an intimidating endeavor, which is why it’s best to begin with the needs your potential clients are most likely to have. “You’re going to want to know what comparable properties are going for in a standard three-bedroom, two-bath home, as that’s going to be the main search criteria for a majority of your buyers,” says Megan Blum, licensed real estate agent at Flux Real Estate in Seattle, Washington.
For more established agents, enhancing your knowledge may mean expanding the boundaries of what you consider to be your “local” market and becoming well-versed in the sales data for the ZIP codes in your greater area. “Have an idea of what the difference in data is for each ZIP code or neighborhood,” Blum advises. “Knowing the average sales price, average days on market, average amount of new listings per week will help you be able to educate and communicate with your buyer or seller on what to expect.”
But enhancing your knowledge of the market should go beyond inventory and sales data for seasoned brokers. “Be aware of hot spots and topics for each specific community,” says Stacye Pratt, REALTOR® and owner of LSP Real Estate, LLC in Denver, Colorado.
To stay apprised of the market, successful agents go beyond the MLS. If you want your expertise to stand out in the business, you should read industry news on both the national and local markets and keep up to date on any projects or trends that may affect property value.
2. Don’t Conform To Negative Stereotypes About Real Estate Agents
Unfortunately, there are many negative stereotypes about real estate agents. Agents are often painted as pushy individuals who abscond with 3 – 6% of the purchase price after merely putting up a “for sale” sign in the front yard. Although we know this typecasting is inaccurate when it comes to the majority of hardworking agents, it’s crucial to be aware of these stereotypes, so you know what you’re up against.
Your work to combat these assumptions should begin with the first conversation you have with potential clients, especially if you use cold calling as a means to generate leads. “When I’m working to gain a client’s business, I will put the ball in their court while still maintaining control,” says Blum. “I will make a comment like ‘I don’t want to be that agent that calls you all the time, so just let me know when the time is right to schedule this meeting, and we’ll go from there. Otherwise, I’ll try to reach out in a couple of weeks if I haven’t heard from you.’”
Blum also ensures that she explains to potential clients that she’s not in the business to score a quick commission but instead is interested in educating buyers and sellers in all areas of the process. “Setting up the expectation that you know how most agents are, that you’re not desperate for their business and that you will reach out after a realistic amount of time will give the client the idea that they have control – which in a way they do, but so do you as the agent,” she adds.
After all, being successful in the industry requires that agents build their clients’ trust. By acknowledging that you’re aware of the common concerns buyers and sellers have about working with a real estate agent and demonstrating how you’re different from the stereotypes, you can build that trust much faster.
3. Team Up With Other Real Estate Agents
Two heads are better than one may be a cliché, but there’s definitely truth to it when it comes to the real estate industry. Although the thought of having to split a commission may cause some to groan, teaming up with other real estate agents can ultimately help you increase your income and grow your business.
“It will help you to get an overall feel of what the market’s doing throughout your entire region instead of just in the pocket that you buy and sell,” says Blum. “They also might specialize or have gone through situations that you haven’t come across and will be able to give insight into what to expect if it happens to you and vice versa.”
Partnering with other real estate agents certainly allows you to benefit from their market knowledge, experience and clientele. By working on a team, you can learn new skills, pool resources and represent even more clients at once. You may have to share commissions to do so, but think about how many more will come your way because of it.
4. Find A Mentor
For new agents, working on a team provides a great entry into the industry and access to more clients. However, working with a mentor offers the opportunity for hands-on learning.
“Having a mentor is invaluable,” says Pratt. “A mentor can broaden your knowledge outside of book smart to practical applications of various scenarios that cannot always be taught with a textbook.”
Blum believes that a major benefit of finding a mentor is the ability to learn about the systems and processes they have in place. Although some inexperienced agents choose to read off scripts, those who work with mentors gain the knowledge they need to have genuine interactions and build relationships with clients.
“Mentors will also have clients under contract (most likely), so a new agent can attend inspections and be walked through the entire process, shadowing them rather than getting under contract themselves and having no idea what to expect,” says Blum. “It was huge for me to attend a lot of inspections in the beginning to get an idea of what to look at in homes that could be red flags, big perks, etc.”
5. Leverage The Reputation Of Your Brokerage Firm
In the real estate industry, reputation is of the utmost importance, especially since so much business is generated through word of mouth. Your reputation is essential, but so is the reputation of your brokerage firm.
The best firms already have an established brand that your clients will recognize, even if they haven’t heard of you. So, leveraging it will also enable you to use your agency’s credentials and prestige to your advantage.
“Similar to working with a mentor, a firm will have a great system set in place,” says Blum. “They will have marketing that has already been in place for years that people will recognize, and there will be a high caliber of quality (hopefully) tied to the name.”
Furthermore, by making the most of your firm’s resources, you can learn niche aspects of the business that will enable you to improve your knowledge and skills.
“Firms will also usually have vendors that they are connected with, and you can learn more about home buying and selling through other services that might be needed, such as septic inspections, sewer scopes, lending, etc.,” she says. “At the end of the day, firms provide education, and that’s the most important tool you could hope for.”
6. Use Technology To Streamline Your Business Practices
Being a successful agent requires a lot of juggling. However, good agents use technology to help streamline aspects of the business that don’t require the same kind of personal touch.
“Auto-drip campaigns have become a huge part of agents’ leverage in technology,” says Blum. “They are able to set up systems that automatically email or text prospective clients to keep their name at the top of the list and keep the client interested.”
Creating an email marketing campaign can help you keep tabs on your previous and potential clients and ensure that they know precisely how to contact you whenever they have any real estate needs. Through a reliable email service provider, like MailChimp or Constant Contact, you can send out regular, automated messages that showcase your skills and establish you as an expert in the field.
“We create monthly market update videos that allow us to express our knowledge and educate prospective clients on what to expect in the marketplace of the area they want to look in,” says Blum. “By sending this out once a month, it is not only a reminder to the possible client that we’re still around and checking in on them, but it also educates them on what to expect and expresses the knowledge we have on the area, showing us as entrusted, valuable agents that should be utilized when the time comes to buy or sell.”
7. Make Your Social Media Content Stand Out
Nowadays, social media is a key component of real estate agents’ marketing plans. However, mastering popular social media sites requires more than just regular posts. You must find a way to engage your audience if you want your social media to actually help you obtain more business.
When working to improve your content, Blum recommends perusing the accounts of real estate agents from the younger generation for inspiration on innovative ways to captivate and gain clientele.
“Any way that you can engage your social media audience to interact with your business and how your business runs will enhance your online presence significantly,” says Blum. “One thing that captivated a lot of my audience on social media was doing a guessing game in regards to the purchase price of a home that was sold in a local area.”
Blum explains that most participants were shocked by the actual sales prices. Seeing how much lower their guesses were even encouraged homeowners to reach out to determine how much they could potentially make from selling their own homes.
After having a baby, Blum began using her personal life as fodder for her social media posts and discovered how useful it can be. “I have made myself more relatable to a bigger demographic and have shown that I have an understanding of what a young family needs in their home search,” she says. “Potential clients want to be able to relate to you on a real level, not just as a business professional.”
If you want to become more successful as an agent, you should use both strategies to market yourself on social media. Create fun posts to grab users’ attention but also incorporate aspects of your personal life to make yourself more relatable and ensure that you come across as someone who is genuine and trustworthy.
8. Maximize Your Ability To Generate New Business At Open Houses
You can maximize your ability to generate new business at open houses by treating them as not just an event to sell a home but an opportunity to sell yourself. Leaving a sign-in sheet for buyers to write down their contact information is a great way to add to your list of potential clients.
But contacting them after the open house isn’t enough. You must make a strong impression during the event. “Be prepared with other active listings in the area and personal marketing material to be given out to the attendees,” says Steven Hall, REALTOR® and CEO of Realty Results in Liberty, Missouri.
You must show open house attendees that you’re professional and prepared, but how do you go about starting the conversation? Blum recommends asking buyers how the house they came to see fits their home search criteria.
“That opens up to talking about timelines, financing and other areas they’re interested in. Then, from there, you’re able to drop some data on the different areas and what to expect in price differences based on what they’re looking for,” she says. “You can have your laptop open and be ready to show them other active homes on the market, which also gives you an opportunity to show them the MLS and explain its benefits.”
Blum finds that using this process significantly increases the chances of setting up a home search for those buyers, which is a huge step in scoring new clients.
9. Utilize Vendors As A Source For New Leads
Becoming more successful means increasing your clientele through any possible means. While networking is an essential part of this process, don’t overlook the connections you’ve already made. Vendors can be a great source for new leads.
Depending on how long you’ve been in the business, you probably have a list of inspectors, appraisers, attorneys, mortgage bankers, contractors, etc. who you regularly recommend to your clients. So why not have them return the favor by sending some leads your way.
“The amazing part of this business is that leads can come from anyone you work with or come in contact with,” says Blum. “Now, granted, I wouldn’t expect the agent to be going to the vendors, asking bluntly, ‘Do you have any leads for me?’ But, generally, bring up that if they have anyone that might be in a position to buy or sell to keep your name in the back of their mind.”
Once you’ve established the desire for new business, you should prove to them that you’re deserving of their referrals. “Walk the walk and show the vendors you are valuable by the way you conduct your business,” says Hall.
However, before you begin asking vendors for their help, make sure you trust the quality of their work. “Stick with vendors that you or your clients have used with successful outcomes,” says Pratt, who also recommends that agents spend time reading vendors reviews and ratings.
10. Pitch Stories To Reporters
As you become increasingly established in the industry, you should think about gaining free publicity. There are tons of news outlets that write about real estate, and reporters are constantly seeking out real estate agents as sources for their articles.
According to Blum, pitching stories to reporters is helpful for agents in that it increases their exposure, showcases them as experts within the field and improves their apparent trustworthiness in the eyes of potential buyers and sellers.
While you can pitch full stories to reporters, the easiest way to get your name in print is to offer your expertise through websites that connect sources with journalists. On free sites, like Help a Reporter Out and ProfNet, journalists send out queries for the articles they’re working on, and sources respond to interview questions in exchange for publicity.
The more articles that you contribute to, the easier it will be to elevate your brand and drive new clients to seek your services.
Summary: Succeeding In Real Estate Means Honing Your Business Practices
The most successful real estate agents are those who never rest on their laurels. They aren’t afraid of change. They embrace it.
Great agents work tirelessly to find novel ways to market their business, generate new leads and retain their previous clients. They learn about new technology and find ways to incorporate it into their daily business practices.
If you want to become more successful as a real estate agent, you must stay apprised of the market and industry by reading everything you can get your hands on. If you’re looking for more resources on how to take your real estate business to the next level, explore more articles in the Zing Blog’s Industry Insider section.
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