• Family and friends have the potential to be a rich source of referral leads, but don't assume they will market your business for you. Keep in touch, and make it clear that you value their referrals.
  • Keeping your contact list in one cohesive place will save you a lot of time and frustration. Instead of the array of sticky notes and spreadsheets, get more organized by storing all your contacts in one database.
  • Building your contact list should be a regular part of your day, and your list will continue to grow.

Real estate agents are a diverse group. Of course, they can differ in age, experience, expertise and personality. But what most of us have in common is the desire to make a successful living from a fulfilling career, and it all starts with your motivation as a new real estate agent.

Let me tell you the tale of two agents. They share a goal of financial stability, but the paths they choose are as different as A and Z.

Once upon a time, two friends completed their real estate training and became freshly minted agents. Both Adele and Zelda dreamed of a career that combined their natural interests in real estate, a desire for variety, social interaction, and ultimately, a lucrative income.

Each of these rookie agents embarked on their career with earnest passion and a strong work ethic, but their experiences are very different. Let’s take a look at how their careers panned out and see what we can learn from them.

Year one

Adele is energetic, passionate and keen to dig into her exciting new career. As soon as she’s a licensed agent, she sends an email to her friends and family to declare that she’s available to help them find their dream home.

Next, Adele updates her personal Facebook page announcing her new career to hundreds of friends. She receives plenty of congratulatory messages where friends promise to recommend her or reach out when they’re ready to buy or sell in the future. These emails are nice to receive but don’t seem to amount to any legitimate leads.

After a few months as an agent, Adele can’t help but feel hurt when she hears that her cousin recently purchased a home without using her as his real estate agent. Despite investing hours prospecting over the phone, and furiously scribbling to-do lists for herself, Adele has a challenging first year in her new career.

Zelda spends her first few days as an agent getting organized and prepared. Like Adele, she also notifies her friends and family that she’s now a licensed real estate agent and proudly updates her social media networks with her new title.

Several colleagues stress to Zelda the importance of using a real estate contact relationship management (CRM) system. As she researches her options, she finds a CRM that offers everything she needs. Better yet, it offers the system free for six months to rookie agents like herself.

In just 24 hours, Zelda is completely set up in the system, and while she doesn’t have a huge database, she includes her family, friends, softball team and former work colleagues and college pals.

Zelda makes a point to add a new contact to her CRM daily and keeps in touch with her database using a professionally written e-newsletter. Before the year is done, Zelda’s contact list has grown to several hundred names, and she’s closed her first six transactions.

Year two

As she embarks on her second year in real estate, Adele resolves to step up her performance. She attends community events, gives her business card to everyone she meets and regularly prospects over the phone.

In spite of her best efforts, Adele finds it increasingly difficult to manage her time with such varied working hours. If she has a meeting booked for early afternoon, she struggles with maintaining productivity for the rest of the day.

Adele is quick to ask new people she meets for their contact information, which she keeps stored in an Excel spreadsheet, her Gmail and on sticky notes at her desk. She still hasn’t quite gotten into the groove of following up with prospects on a regular basis.

At the end of her second year in real estate, Adele doesn’t have a cohesive contact list. She’s closed five deals, but she has a sinking feeling that she could have performed so much better than that.

Zelda starts out her second year as a real estate agent strong. She carefully built her brand and set up an affordable agent website so that prospects can find and contact her easily online.

Her new agent website even feeds her new leads directly into her real estate CRM where the leads automatically begin being nurtured through email.

Zelda is a firm believer in the importance of referral business. She recognizes that most individuals know three to five people who will move each year, and that’s a lot of potential referrals. To maximize her referrals, Zelda continues to keep in touch with her contacts monthly.

As a result, Zelda is already well-known in her community, and when someone is looking for an agent, her name almost always comes up. By the end of her second year, Zelda has completed over 15 transactions, and she’s making a comfortable living.

Read the next installment in the careers of Adele and Zelda, years three through five, here.

Candace Green is the Marketing Manager at IXACT Contact Real Estate CRM. You can follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Email Candace Green.

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