The statistics for new agents entering into business are rather bleak. An overwhelming majority of new real estate agents fail in the first year or two in the business. New agents are eager yet don’t understand how to keep afloat and be profitable early on in their career.
Most new agents are ready to go, thinking riches will fall into their lap the moment they pass the real estate licensing exam. In today’s competitive market there is nothing further from the truth.
So what does a new agent need to do regularly to succeed, grow and be profitable in their business and beyond? Here’s a list of eight things that new agents must do to prosper and succeed in their first year.
1. Focus on learning
What separates the good from the great and the great from the best? It’s not solely your talent or your drive because so many people have both of those traits. I believe it’s your skill set.
The learned traits that successful sales people and success real estate agents acquire and employ through intentional learning and practice is the foundation of a success real estate sales business.
In the real estate world, we are blessed in that we have no need to try and reinvent the wheel. Your broker or mentor can point the way to the scripts necessary to improve your skill set if you are willing to put in the work, practice your scripts and make them your own.
On top of that, being new, you’ll likely need to take time to learn the inner workings of a real estate transaction. Spend time with your broker or mentor to learn the finer points of your state’s purchase agreement, the disclosures and the way agents in your market structure deals.
If your broker has training platforms, schedule time every day or block out a few hours a week to explore their training to improve your knowledge and your skills week over week. Every market, every state, every region, every home in this country is different.
Learn the ins and outs of your market. Take an inspector to coffee, go into the title office, network with the lenders in your area and ask questions. Build your knowledge base, and fill in the gaps as situations arise in your practice.
2. Talk to your sphere of influence, and let them know you are in business
When you are new to selling real estate, this should be step one! Call everyone that you know, and let them know that you are in business, that you are working with a great team, and you’re there to help them with all of the their real estate needs.
These are the most important people in your database. They already know and trust you, which is half the battle. They are the most important people because they are the ones who are most likely to actually do business with you and refer their family and friends when they know someone in their circle that is looking to buy or sell.
3. Start dialing to grow your database
You need to be talking to people! We’re in a face-to-face, voice-to-voice business. Your main focus everyday is to talk to as many homeowners and potential buyers as possible.
Set time aside every single workday to focus on the task of connecting with prospects.
As you talk to those prospects and earn their trust, get their email addresses and continually add new people to a database, an excel file or your customer relationship management platform (CRM). Keep track of who you are talking to with notes so that you can reference prior conversations and deepen the relationship with your follow-up calls.
Then proceed to send them regular emails to keep them informed and continue to connect periodically throughout the year to stay top-of-mind.
“This entire business revolves around the phone. Play the numbers. This is a contact sport. Meaning, the more people you contact, the better you’ll do.” – Greg Weinstein in Boiler Room (played by Nicky Katt)
4. Get to know the local market
Being an actual market expert is difficult, claiming to be one is all too easy. So how can you gain an edge on the competition? Study, study, and then study some more.
Do you know that house on 123 Main St that sold six months ago? What style was it, what did it sell for, and what does it looks like inside?
There is so much data and info in your market that is all stored on your MLS. Start in a small region or a neighborhood. Learn about the homes and the prices and why one home sold for more or less. Know why people are moving in and out of the the area.
Get to know the local schools, the local sports teams and what is important to the people who live and work in the community you are selling in.
For most of us, the community part is easy because we often live in those same communities in which we sell. But don’t overlook the market stats and knowledge that a true expert has about the real estate in the area.
Take 20 minutes a day to search and study the MLS for actives, sold and pending homes. Learn key data points like price-per-square-foot, average days on market, absorption rate, etc., so that you are armed with data and can speak with confidence regarding the market when you have your next real estate conversation with a potential buyer or seller.
5. Start fresh with a dedicated social media presence
Set aside your old personal Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and start social media accounts that are focused on your real estate-related activity. This is a great way to announce your arrival into the business in your local market. But you cannot take a laissez-faire approach if you wish for your reach to grow.
Create a plan, and write out a content calendar for your social media postings. Share relevant material on each of the appropriate platforms that catches users’ attention and grows your follower base.
For example, pictures and videos go primarily on Instagram, daily activities on your IG and FB stories, relevant articles on Facebook and Twitter. No need to reinvent the wheel your first year in business. To save time, use a system that you can schedule and post your content in advance.
6. Identify a profitable farm, and work it
Everybody wants those easy “come list me calls.” How do many agents accomplish provoking inbound calls to come list? Farming, aka, continually marketing and providing service to a geographic region or neighborhood and having that collection of homeowners perceive you to be the area expert.
Alas, I wish it were as easy as it sounds. Time and persistent effort is primary to becoming successful in a farm, but before you put the energy into a farm, in your first year of business, you need to identify the right farm.
How do you identify a starter farm?
Here are six basic principles for finding and working the right farm:
- Find a neighborhood with above average year-over-year turnover.
- Select a farm with a number of properties you can actually work consistently. I recommend your first farm ranging from 250-400 homes.
- Try to find a farm without a dominant agent already farming the area.
- Continually provide value by connecting with the property owners to deepen the relationships like planning events (garage sales, community get-togethers, etc.) or providing valuable data and info that speaks to the homeowners in the area, like recent activity or a local event calendar
- Volunteer to work other agents’ open houses, litter the neighborhood with your open house signs in the farm to strengthen your presence and the perception that you are to the go-to agent in the area.
- Door-knock, and drop flyers to the homes regularly.
Spending time and purposeful actions in the farm will breed familiarity with you and your brand, and over time you’ll grow to be the go-to person who is top-of-mind when local property owners think about your neighborhood’s real estate needs.
7. Get an accountability partner or coach
Accountability to your business development and your personal development is what starts you on the path from new agent to mediocre agent and eventually will set you apart to change your life and your business into the super star agent you dream you can be. We all know we need to do the work.
Having a friend, a business partner, another agent, a broker or coach there by your side, continually pushing you forward and holding you accountable for your actions so that you can attain the goals you set for yourself is so incredibly helpful. You’re not in this alone, there are many people in your life who will be willing to keep you on track to achieve.
You can also find other like-minded individuals outside of your market or your profession in places like Facebook groups who can hold you to your word. In fact, writing this article was one of my tasks I posted in one of my frequently visited Facebook groups called “Hold Me Accountable.”
I told the group the task I needed to be held accountable for and what I would do if I didn’t finish my article today. I prefer to rather spend time writing today instead of the punishment I laid out for myself. Set a goal for the day, punishment if you don’t complete the task — and follow through.
For example, “I’ll make 25 contacts today on the phones, or I will not have dessert at dinner.” It’s easy, it’s clear, and it can provide the motivation to do the tasks that often get left by the wayside.
8. Stick to the plan
Focusing on constant progress is what makes any business great. So many salespeople, business owners and entrepreneurs take the bull by the horns and are shot out of a cannon the moment they start pursuing goal. They work feverishly in the beginning, and the will they possess often fades over time.
You must realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day. The real processes of growing a successful real estate practice takes time. You must sustain your focus. You must never let that will to succeed fade.
Keep that candle burning bright by working on your mindset, saying a mantra everyday, reading and listening to empowering people and messages every day. Type in “motivation” into YouTube, and you’ll find more content than you could possibly watch or listen to in a lifetime.
Go to iTunes and see the tens of thousands of episodes of podcasts related to real estate, sales, mindset or motivation. Never stop adding fuel to your fire when you’re on the road driving. Never let that desire to be the best fade. You owe it to family, you owe it to your friends, and most importantly, you owe it to yourself to fulfill your potential.
These key actions will lay the foundation for a successful real estate practice. It’s up to you to follow through with the principles I’ve just laid out. You have the ability to be the best agent in your market place, to dominate the competition and watch your closings and commission soar to near unlimited heights.
Matt Kaestner is a Realtor Zutila, Inc.