“If you were to create a 90-day ‘road map’ for brand new agents, what would you make sure to include?”
Kristen Long, Realtor with Re/Max Realty Associates Chicago recently posed this question in Lab Coat Agents.
There are countless ways to hit a home run in real estate, but with so many options, gimmicks and shiny objects to choose from, it can be overwhelming and daunting to know what to do, how to do it and when.
Creating a plan of action and taking the necessary steps to reach your goals takes time, a tenacious attitude and action. Stick with the basics, and don’t overthink the process.
There’s a lot of great advice out there from experienced professionals.
1. Make the big announcement
Reach out to everyone and anyone you know via social media, mailers and email (check out MailChimp).
Nate Ryan, training specialist at Re/Max Integra Midwest, recommends creating a video announcement.
He said, “Do a video introduction as one of your very first posts. Less than a minute. Describe why you got into this business, what areas you will be serving and why you selected the brokerage that you did.”
2. Create your sphere of influence
“Those that are closest to us and know us, like us, and given the opportunity, would do business or refer business to us. They are often the greatest gift to starting a real estate career,” said Ryan Bokros, managing director, Bamboo Realty, Houston.
These are the people you will put into your contact management system first.
Spend time cultivating these relationships. go to coffee, put your sphere on a newsletter list — and stay in touch on a regular basis.
3. Find a mentor
This is one of the best ways to gain the valuable skill set needed to be a successful real estate agent. A mentor will teach you the ins and outs if the contracts, show you the ropes and explain complicated negotiating scenarios as they arise.
“I’d encourage you to find a good mentor in your office,” said Sean Neuberger, an agent with Realty One Group, Orange County.
“I found a great agent, offered part of my commission on closed sales to him, and in turn, he let me shadow him and work in his office every day. It was instrumental to me getting going in the business.”
4. Hold lots of open houses
Become an open house whiz, and do a lot of them. They are a golden opportunity for new agents, and you can really shine by taking the experience up a notch.
Send out invitations and/or door-knock the neighborhood a few days before. On the day of, bake cookies beforehand so the house smells wonderful, and have tons of market information, stats, buyer and seller packets and so on, for all the prospects who come through the door.
Present yourself as the knowledgeable professional who takes his or her career seriously.
Some agents, such as Steve Weiss, broker and owner at Coast & County Broker’s in San Luis Obisbo, have cultivated a successful career from consistent open houses.
“Most new agents are not in a financial position to invest a lot of money right out of the gate,” Weiss said, “so I suggest three very simple steps to begin their career.
“Make sure that everyone you know is aware that you’re in the real estate business, know your inventory, open house every — and I mean every — weekend.
“No matter how boring it is, open house every darn weekend.
“These three simple steps helped me begin and grow a very successful real estate career for the past 31 years and counting.”
One easy way to get the ball rolling is to farm a neighborhood, ideally the one in which you live.
Get out the door and introduce yourself to your neighborhood, create a community Facebook page with local events and provide a monthly newsletter to stay top-of-mind.
Marlene Scheffer, designated broker, Realty Station Inc., Bremerton, loves farming neighborhoods, and she recommends this activity to all her new agents.
“My thoughts are that technology is nice, but it should add to your list of basics,” she said.
“A neighborhood ‘farm’ is a basic and a pretty easy and cheap one if you want it to be. The more time an agent spends on it, the cheaper it will be, and since new agents tend to have more time than money, it’s usually a good move for them.”
6. Invest in training
Most brokerages offer some level of training.
Diving in and learning as much as possible is key to lasting success. The more you know and understand real estate, contracts, the art of negotiating and so on, the more confident you will be and the better overall agent you will be.
You need to understand every single word in the contract, the timelines and the consequences of what can happen if a deal goes sideways.
Join groups that truly interest you. There are myriad of community clubs and organizations that have weekly or monthly meetings.
Volunteer organizations are a great way to get plugged into your community and engage with a cause.
Facebook offers an endless selection of real estate, business and professional groups. Find a few that truly interest you, and let the connections develop organically.
“Growth needs to be organic, but it can be pushed along with a plan,” said Kim Ward Basco, owner of River Valley Real Estate, Lambertville, New Jersey.
Always be true to yourself and engage authentically.
Many agents swear by professional coaching either by a one-on-one locally, using a tele-coach or through systems such as Mike Ferry, Brian Buffini, and Tim and Julie Harris.
The coaching fees can add up fast, but working with an accountability partner can save the day especially when you are in sales. Having someone there to keep you on track, focused and action oriented can be priceless.
Nate Ryan said, “The business can be a physical and mental roller coaster. A coach will help you focus on the plan and execute the plan.”
9. Mine FSBOs and expired listings
Some agents have built their business around calling for sale by owners (FSBOs) and expired listings. These are potentially excellent sources of business if you do it right.
Watch out for the “do not call” list, and be fully prepared with your script.
Here’s an informative article written by Teke Wiggin, Inman staff writer, on how to work this pool of prospects.
10. Watch webinars, videos and read books
There’s a ton of useful information regarding real estate on YouTube, real estate-related websites and plenty of books to read.
Here are some classic books to put on your list right away:
- The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Dave Jenks, Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan
- The E Myth by Michael Gerber
- How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins
It’s important to run your real estate career as a business and develop your entrepreneurial acumen. Researching a variety of sources will shed valuable insights, inspiration and ideas for you to implement along the way.
11. Develop skills
Once you have some the basics down, it’s time to practice.
What do you say when the seller asks you to cut your commission? How do you explain the details of the inspection contingency?
Scott Dickerson, an agent with Evelo Team at Keller Williams, Indianapolis, agrees that the more people you engage with, the better practice you will have with these important topics.
He said, “FSBOs, expireds, open houses, door knock, sphere of influence. Have as many real estate conversations as you can.
“Ask for referrals and appointments. Practice your scripts.”
12. Write handwritten notes
It’s amazing what goodwill a small gesture, such as a handwritten note, can create. The core of your business is all about the relationships that you cultivate.
Practice listening to people when they speak. Really listen to them, and connect. Follow up on the conversation with a handwritten note, and create a lasting impression.
13. Follow up, and use your CRM
What good is all that output of time and energy if you don’t have a system for following up?
This is a make-it-or-break-it strategy, tool and mindset that must be implemented day 1.
Your contact relationship system (CRM) is priceless and will keep track of the people you meet with little notes such as, “Fluffy, three-bedroom, moving here next year, $2 million,” so that you can stay in touch with them.
Agents who master their CRM are golden — period.
Developing a system for follow-up does take time to learn, but once it is established, it will run itself. That is the intention behind systems. Implement them once, and simplify the process.
14. Utilize floor time
Most offices offer some form of floor time. This is where buyers and sellers stop by or call into the office looking for real estate information.
A newbie has an opportunity to turn this prospect into a solid client with the right business rapport.
15. Create a digital presence
One of the most important tasks to address right away is your digital presentation.
Double check your profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, Snapchat, Instagram and anywhere else you have one. Clean them up, fill them in and make them consistent and professional.
“Complete your online profiles. Before the end of the day. You can’t prospect until you do this,” said Leslie Ebersole, broker at Baird and Warner, St. Charles, Illinois.
Our current and future clients are checking us out and following us online, so make sure you are presenting yourself in a professional light.
At the end of the day, the best game plan includes the tried-and-true basics. They are always the best place to start.
“There is no reason to try and reinvent the wheel; the plan to success has been well-paved by those before you,” said Brandon Doyle, Realtor with Re/Max Results, Maple Grove, Minnesota.
Get involved, take action, implement your plan, and enjoy the process! Good luck!