Being in an industry where the vast majority of professionals flounder for months if not years, it can often be discouraging for new agents to persevere and maintain the vision required to move forward. The best way to succeed in this business is to demonstrate value.
According to the National Association of Realtors, agents with three to five years of experience only earn a mere $30,100 on average.
It’s no secret that the barrier to entry is not exactly intimidating, and subsequently we have ended up with a heavily saturated marketplace with thousands of “No. 1 agents.”
Real estate has become the cosmetology of business. Don’t know what to do? Too lazy to work hard? Get a real estate license and get rich like they do on TV!
Too often we are faced with the story of a “top agent” in a specific market or the characteristics that riddle the story of being successful. Check the numbers, and the story is usually far different from what’s being told. Even worse, these are the people we are hoping to learn something from.
We live in a world surrounded by what Gary Vaynerchuk would describe as right-hooks — attempts to seal a deal through a hard close. Look at me, buy this, buy that.
In reality, a person is inundated with these types of unlimited approaches and the message becomes white noise regardless of how valuable the product or service might actually be.
Instead, the way to differentiate oneself and actually have a voice that is not only heard, but also listened to, is to focus on the jabs — delivering small nuggets of continuous value with no expectation of reciprocation in the immediate future.
What the hell am I talking about?
As a new real estate agent, it’s natural to take to traditional practices to earn business the way your elders have: door-knocking, cold calling, popping-in, etc.
However, these are just vehicles for delivering a message. The content itself is what will separate you from your peers. Are you talking about them? Or are you talking about you?
The first priority for a consumer looking to hire any professional is simple: they need to like you. If they don’t like you, they won’t trust you. If they don’t trust you, your skillset is irrelevant.
This means posting your image on every bus bench, handing out cards that say you’re the area specialist or blasting social media with a home you just sold is actually doing you more harm than good. Instead, focus more on the value you’re adding and focus less on what transpires from it.
3 solid ways to demonstrate value without being a salesperson
1. Post non-business-related updates on social media channels that show your true self
Where do you eat? What’s your day look like? What are your hobbies? People buy people.
- Choose one social media platform to focus on (at first) — I recommend Facebook. Make it your personal profile only — no business pages.
- Post at minimum once daily (maximum four times a day), ensuring 75 percent of your content isn’t business related. People love photos of you with your grandparents and your dog. Stay away from any political topics, religious views or anything else that can completely silo you from your audience.
- Don’t sit back and watch people like or comment without making it a two-way conversation. No one likes the person who posts and runs away while monitoring everything silently
Note: When you post about business, don’t make it about you. Talk about the process, other people, your community, etc.
For example: “Super pumped to be helping my friend’s colleague with her transition back to New York. If you know of someone looking to get into a rad place in Costa Mesa, we’ll have photos up in a few days.”
2. Host free webinars on the homebuying process from different angles
Make ads to drive traffic that are focused on relationships and education, not transactions. Don’t post something like: “Learn how to buy a home today.”
- Choose a niche topic with a catchy title, like: “4 steps on how newlyweds can buy their first home” or “How to get paid to stop renting.”
- Make your content applicable to (almost) anyone looking to purchase a home — that way if you decide to duplicate the content or turn it into a pre-recorded webinar, the message still translates to the bachelor renter, the newlyweds, the roommate buddies, etc.
- Run Facebook pay-per-click (PPC) ads against your topic with a thumbnail image that grabs the audience. Choose the appropriate demographic and set a budget. For example: for the bachelor renter, target all 24- to 35-year-old single males within 20 miles of Los Angeles who earn a minimum of $75,000 a year — maximum budget of $10 a day on clicks.
Note: Make sure the link that you’re directing the audience to has a lead generating element to it. I personally use Unbounce to build squeeze pages to capture people’s information when they sign up for the webinar and any other event.
3. Contact your “raving fans”
Raving fans are people who would refer you to anyone they overheard talking about a real estate need.
- Choose the correct medium whether it be text, call or email; this is about what your fan prefers; not you.
- Send a message that never touches on real estate Example: “Hey, Kelly, How was your New Year’s? I remember you saying you were going to leave the country. Where did you end up going? Hope you’re having a good start to 2016 and staying dry.”
- Repeat with every raving fan — every month.
Note: If one of your raving fans really does have a real estate need, don’t blend that content in with these monthly check-ups. Your call, text or email will be enough to spark the conversation from their side.
The bottom line is if you’re looking to make waves as “the future agent of X,” concentrate less on telling the “me, me, me story.” In other words, forget about the just sold just listed or open houses, and go all in on the value-add contribution to everyone in your surrounding.
Remember, people buy people. Be likable and normal. You wouldn’t call back the stage-five clinger after one date, nor will you earn business by being overly eager and pushy.
Once you’ve captured the attention, it’s time to earn the trust. From there, your goal is to be the go-to source for information, the trusted authority, and the friend. Forget the close.
If someone simply believes you’re the best at what you do and trusts you implicitly, you’ll be the next millionaire in your friend-group without ever trying to sell a damn thing.