Many new agents who have never been in sales or have never been responsible for generating their own income get a rude awakening when inundated with all of the tasks needed to get started in real estate.
The beginning is always the hardest, and it can be overwhelming for a newbie. But by pursuing the following avenues, new agents can get their business up and running and, most importantly, profitable by taking action every day.
1. Connecting with your sphere of influence
New agents need to announce to the world, specifically their sphere of influence (SOI), that they are in business as soon as their license comes in the mail and gets hung with a broker.
A new agent’s first task should be to call every single person they know and trust, who likewise know and trust you, and let them know you now sell real estate. With everyone that you “touch,” follow that conversation up with a personalized, handwritten thank-you card to each and every person.
This makes a true impact among the people in your SOI. Very few sales agents do this. It shows a level of commitment and professionalism to your new profession that has a true impact and a personal touch.
Within your sphere, prioritize the property owners from the non-owners. This is the most important group of your sphere to leverage. They are the most likely to not only sell at some point, but also, potentially, to be buyers if they do indeed decide to sell at one point or another.
Every single quarter, you are going to take this most important subsection of your SOI and take time to research their property, and then via email, present them with a quarterly, customized comparable market analysis (CMA).
You can email this to them, drop it off in person, or even, if you have the capability send an embedded video right within your MLS to show them all of the homes in their neighborhood that sold. Use embedded videos and a screen sharing tool to create a CMA that has impact and keeps you top-of-mind.
You also must have a voice-to-voice or face-to-face conversation with your sphere. If you are new and don’t have a monthly budget to spend on mailers and campaigns that cost, find a broker who has these tools that you can use as part of their brokerage package.
You should send text reminders monthly. Whether you automate this through your customer relationship management (CRM) or you do it by hand, an impactful reminder to your SOI will allow you to stay top-of-mind with the people who are most likely to transact with you and refer your services to family or friends.
2. Cold calling
Should you be interacting cold? Why yes! Yes, you should.
I get it — cold calling can be intimidating. It’s frustrating dealing with constant rejection. Dialing property owners cold is a grind. But there is no more impactful way to reach masses and have multiple, meaningful real estate-related conversations on a daily basis.
Use a dialer and software to ramp up your effectiveness and efficiency. Numbers are abundant in the information age. Ask your title rep or contract services like Cole Realty Resources, Mojo/Vulcan 7 or REDX to find numbers, and start prospecting to fill today’s pipeline as well as the pipeline of people who will be ready to buy or sell in six months, one year, two years and even longer out.
Set multiple prospecting blocks of time a week, and focus on making 10-20 contacts a day in the neighborhoods and area you wish to work in.
Don’t let anyone interrupt those powerful hours when you are prospecting. Get in several blocks of time in a week. Shoot for windows when people tend to be available to talk. Try Tuesday through Friday 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Choose several blocks that work within your personal schedule, and get to work.
3. Farming or door-knocking
Many agents who hate the phones opt to door-knock. This is another way a brand new agent can meet property owners and prospect for business for free! It’s a simple task.
Look professional, park your car in the area you want to sell, start walking and knocking and talking to homeowners. Your task, like cold calling, is to make as many contacts with property owners as you can during the prospecting time-block.
Focus on creating a connection. See what value you can provide to the neighborhood. I’ve made numerous contacts in my neighborhood farm by knocking on doors, dropping off marketing pieces and neighborhood real estate sales info, and throwing events that benefit the neighborhood such as garage sales, neighborhood parties or holiday themed get-togethers.
Figure out what your neighborhood is missing, and work to fill in that gap.
Use non-owner occupied or vacant listings to leverage your time in a farm. Early in the week each week, find several listings in your desired farm, or as close proximity as you can, that are vacant, and offer to hold the house open for the listing agent.
If they allow you, door-knock the surrounding neighbors, and invite them to the open house that upcoming weekend. And when the day arrives, put as many open house signs that have your name, if allowed, all over the area.
Do this week after week, month after month, and the local residents will start to recognize your name, and it will become synonymous with the area. Then when the homeowners put a face, or voice, to the name, you’ll have greater impact on those residents as the go-to person to help you sell their home.
4. Setting up your social media channels
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat are all effective ways to promote your business. Personal branding is important. Set up business pages for each of these so that you can promote yourself, your properties and your successes.
Take a small ad budget, and promote you and your brand in the area. It may not turn into business right away, but your branding and exposure on social media can provide, at such a cheap cost, and within any budget, an effective tool to get your presences in the marketplace.
All too often agents spend too much time on their social media pages and websites merely wasting time, convincing themselves it’s for “business” when they should be working on starting their next real estate conversation.
Remember, at the end of the day, we are in a relationship business; all of the social media attention in the world will not work if you don’t get people on the phone and help resolve their housing needs voice-to-voice and then face-to-face.
5. Create a lead/prospect pyramid
The quality of the lead and the timing of when that lead is ready to buy or sell is very important. Note that someone ready to list or buy right now should be contacted and communicated with now and as often as possible.
While someone who is waiting till their kids graduate high school in three years who wants to downsize once the kids are in college, doesn’t need to be contacted as frequently.
Use a basic system to categorize your leads
- Level 1: These are the least important. This is the general population in the local area. All of the property owners and people who have the potential and financial wherewithal to be able to buy a home.
- Level 2: This is the group of people that you’ve uncovered in your cold prospecting that said they might do business with you in the future. These are people you contact a few times a year. You email them frequently, you send mass texts on occasions.
- Level 3: This is the level of your SOI and your neighborhood farm. These are the people you try to personally interact with at least quarterly if not once a month (four to 12 times a year), be it phone calls, pop-bys in your farm, event invites, coffee dates or handwritten cards. Your goal in this level is to foster a deeper connection with this group of people. Build a strong bond and connection with this group through interpersonal action so that if and when the time comes you are top-of-mind and the go-to agent in their lives.
- Level 4: These are people you’ve moved through the system, and they are about to enter into the buying or selling window. You know these people, you know their needs, and they’ve raised their hand to signal they are preparing to be ready. This is the time to step in with resources and information regarding the market and strategies to succeed and fulfill their goals as they prepare to buy or sell.
- Level 5: These are the people who are looking to do something in the next two weeks. Set the appointment to sign that listing, or take them out to show properties. This is the smallest group of the pyramid, but the eventual destination if you want to actually have clients and make money.
6. Utilize the power of a CRM
Keeping track of everybody and their specific situations seems like a lot, yeah? This is where your CRM comes into play.
Properly utilizing, categorizing, note taking and setting reminders about which group to work any given day or week will help you keep track of it all.
Remember, your goal is to educate and advance people from the bottom of your pyramid to the top. You’ll find people when you’re prospecting daily who will move along the pyramid themselves, sometimes you’ll run into immediate business.
Remember, a wise man in sales once said, the harder you work, the luckier you’ll get. It’s hard to effectively identify a mass of contacts who might be ready without an organized system. The CRM is the most effective modern way to accomplish this organization.
A parting note
New real estate agents should focus on talking to as many people as they possibly can on a daily basis, specifically with the intent to discuss plans to buy or sell real estate.
There are many avenues to accomplish this task, but you should shoot for 20 contacts a day or 100 contacts a week on average, speaking with a head of household or decision maker about future plans to buy or sell real estate.
Move as many people along the real estate prospecting pyramid from not knowing you, to being aware that you are a real estate agent, to being part of your sphere of influence, to educating them about their impending purchase/sale to setting listing appointments and appointments to show buyers property.
Keep your pipeline full of people who are ready, or getting ready in the near future, to do something. Guide them along the way, and educate them before, during and after the process of a home purchase or home sale to earn your commissions.
Matt Kaestner is a Realtor Zutila, Inc.