• Whether it’s through cold calling, door knocking or another method (except buying online leads), keep your pipeline full and put a personal touch on your customer service.

If you are new to real estate, your head is probably spinning from all the information thrown your way. I bet you figured it wouldn’t be easy, but did you anticipate how baffling it would be? There is a big gap between real estate school and being a real estate agent in the real world.

Let me share with you the five most important lessons I learned in my first year as an agent.

1. Cold calling builds grit

Let’s face it! Cold calling is not fun! In fact, as agents both new and seasoned, it is one of the most underutilized tools we use because we don’t like it.

But, if you approach cold calls more as a relationship-building opportunity and less about getting an appointment, it can change your perspective and the outcome of the call.

Find a reason for the call beyond asking them about real estate.

For example, pass along information about a community event to break the ice. Then, once they have lowered their guard, ask them if you can assist them with any real estate needs.

In the end, every door you knock upon and every phone you ring will propel your confidence and knowledge in the industry.

2. Don’t waste your marketing budget paying for online leads

Are you aware that research shows only 8 percent of all real estate sales nationally are the result of an online lead? What about the fact that conversion rates for online leads average between 1 percent and 3 percent?

Finally, did you know that 80 percent of all real estate transactions arise from our sphere of influence and that our sphere converts at a rate close to 70 percent?

According to Frank Chimento, in his Open Letter to Brokerage Owners Nationwide, these statistics are backed up by the National Association of Realtors, The Wav Group, Swanepoel and others.

Instead, of lining the pockets of the big guys, you’re better off joining local clubs and organizations to build relationships. You are going to get a lot more bang for your buck in a bowling league than you will by handing over those hard-earned dollars for paid leads.

3.  Continue to pump new leads into your pipeline

Once you are working with a few clients, handling everything can be overwhelming.

As a new agent, the first thing to slip off your radar is usually prospecting. No matter where you are in your real estate career, what you do now will pay off six months from now, so never stop pumping new leads into that pipeline.

Otherwise, once your current clients become past clients, you are back to square one.

4.  Don’t drown in the sea of never-ending technology choices

You only need one database that can be readily accessible from anywhere anytime and access to your MLS and office documents. Outside of that its overkill.

The problem is the holy grail of real estate software isn’t available yet, and greedy marketers will sell you the moon and deliver sand.

Before I got into real estate, I had a marketing friend tell me that if you want to sell something online, pitch it to a Realtor because they’ll buy anything.

Now that I am in real estate, I get more pitches than I do prospects. Don’t fall into that money pit. Remember, all you really need is to be able to access contact data whenever you need it.

5. The personal touch is still king

In real estate, the old way is still the best way. Write personal notes whenever you can to reach out to new prospects and former clients.

They are much more likely to remember a handwritten note that starts with “Thank You,” “Congratulations,” or “I was thinking of you” than they will a generic postcard.

This helps solidify your role as their trusted adviser and neighborhood expert, so they remember you when they, or anyone they know, needs a real estate agent.

Of course, there are many other lessons I learned, and I continue to face new challenges and learn new lessons almost daily. Because of that, it is one of the few professions where you can grow exponentially both in the business and as a person.

Missy Yost is a Realtor with Weichert Realtors Coastal Properties in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Follow The Yost Group on Facebook or Twitter

Email Missy Yost

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