The real estate game can be a tricky one. One moment you’re riding the wave of success and feeling invincible, and the next, you’re in over your head, wondering where it all went wrong. There must have been clues, but how do you even know what to look for?
Yes, it is possible to tell when your real estate business is going off-course before it’s too late, and by keeping your fingers on the pulse of your business, you can evaluate often and adjust your course. This is an important reminder, especially at this time of year.
Some agents get all caught up in December and January plotting and putting together their business and marketing plans, which we love, but then they tuck those plans in a drawer and don’t look at them again until the next December. Don’t let that be you.
This industry can be unpredictable, and it’s easy to get off track and make mistakes, but here are 11 red flags to watch out for:
You haven’t closed any deals recently
If it’s been months since your last sale, it’s time to start reassessing your strategies and tactics.
Is there something about your approach that isn’t resonating with buyers or sellers? Have market conditions changed, and have you changed with them? What can you do differently to close more deals? If you can’t quite answer these questions, then consider some outside help like a mentor or a real estate coach who can see things in your business that you may not.
I often tell my Power Agents that one of the fastest ways to turn this around is to pick up the phone and start calling past clients or focus on having two conversations about real estate every single day — one about selling and one about buying. That’s 60 conversations in a month, making the odds of putting deals together more favorable.
It’s important to look at your numbers, too – so you know what your batting average is. If it’s all swings and no hits, it’s time to have a mentor or coach help you readjust what you are doing and saying during your prospecting and listing conversations.
Your listings aren’t selling quickly
If your listings have been sitting on the market for what feels like ages without any offers, this could be a sign that either the property is overpriced or that you need to tweak its marketing strategy so that it reaches the right people. Take some time to research comparable properties in the area and consider reducing the price to avoid the listing growing even staler.
Go over the feedback that you have gotten from other agents or buyers that didn’t make an offer, as the answer to why it’s not getting offers is often right there on paper. Try different marketing tactics such as staging or virtual tours to make your listings stand out from the competition or adjust the price.
You’re spending too much money on advertising
Advertising can be an effective way of reaching potential clients, but it can also quickly become expensive if not managed properly. Pay attention to how much money you’re spending on advertising each month and track how many leads those ads generate so that you know whether they’re worth it or not.
If an ad campaign isn’t producing results, it’s time to pull the plug and invest in other marketing channels instead. I am a full believer that you shouldn’t spend money that you don’t have when it comes to self-promotion and marketing, and with a wide array of free and budget-friendly options, those can be just as profitable as paid ads.
You’ve lost touch with clients
It’s important to stay in touch with past clients, so they think of you first when they need help buying or selling a home again (or when they know someone who does).
Without regular contact, clients may forget about you or decide to work with another agent instead, so picking up the phone to touch base or making Smile Stops (also known as pop-bys) on a regular basis will keep you top of mind when they have questions, are thinking of moving, or have a referral.
Lack of leads and referrals
Referrals from satisfied clients are essential for building trust and credibility as an agent, so if none are coming in, it’s likely a sign something needs fixing within your business model. This could mean that your self-promotion efforts are not working, you aren’t consistently staying in touch with your sphere, or that potential clients are not seeing your listings.
If this is the case, it may be time to re-evaluate your marketing strategy and make sure you’re targeting the right people with the right message at the right time. Take time to review client feedback after each sale, and work on building relationships with past customers to build up a referral base.
Referral business comes from clients who already trust and value what you do — plus, these referrals don’t cost anything. Make sure you ask past clients for referrals after every deal as part of your follow-up process; this will help increase awareness of your brand and grow your business over time.
You may also consider offering an incentive for referrals, like entering them in a draw for a great prize or hosting a party for everyone that gives you a referral.
Low closing rates or delays in closings
If you have low closing rates on deals that you’ve been working on, this could mean that either you aren’t negotiating effectively or that buyers and sellers don’t understand what you are offering them. Make sure to revisit your negotiations and discuss any unresolved issues with buyers or sellers so that they understand the offer and its terms.
If you aren’t having trouble at the negotiating table, but closing dates are continually being pushed back or held up, chances are there is either something wrong on your end or with the lender or title company handling the closing process — either way, it’s important to get things sorted out ASAP otherwise deals could easily fall through due to delays.
Poor or non-existent online reputation
Maintaining a good online reputation is key to success as a real estate agent — but if yours isn’t up to par, it could be a sign something’s wrong with how you’re running your business. Take a moment to review all the online reviews about your business and see how they match up with expectations from customers, then take steps to address any negative feedback or improve customer service wherever possible.
Having a solid online presence is crucial for any real estate agent looking to attract new clients and build their brand. Having a website that showcases your services and features testimonials from past clients is essential if you want people to take you seriously as a professional.
Additionally, being active on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram is also key — posting informational content as well as posts of you working your business and living your life.
Not staying current with the market trends
If potential clients are asking you, “What’s happening in the housing market right now?” and you don’t know the answer, then that’s a hint that you might need to spend some time catching up on what’s happening in the industry, as well as what’s going on in your local area and how that will impact home sales.
One of the best ways to build trust and rapport with homeowners is to have your fingers on the pulse of the local market. When you know the industry and the local market, homeowners will feel confident that you will also have the savvy to sell their homes without stress.
You don’t have a system for keeping track of leads
Leads are the bread and butter of any real estate business, so it’s important to have a system for tracking them. Whether it’s a CRM (customer relationship management) software or just an excel spreadsheet, having a system gives you visibility into who you need to follow up with, what their needs are, and how they prefer to communicate with you. Without this kind of visibility, your leads will slip through the cracks and could easily go to someone else.
After all, maintaining a reputation of trustworthiness is key, but if you miss their message or forget to call them back, that reputation won’t last long. Using a CRM to manage leads and automate many of your contact “touches” ensures that nobody falls through the cracks.
You’re not making use of technology
Technology has changed the real estate game in many ways. From virtual tours to automated emails — there are endless opportunities to leverage technology to streamline processes, save time, and make more money. If you’re not taking advantage of the technology available, then chances are you’re missing out on some serious ROI potential.
Technology changes quickly in this day and age, so not staying up to date on new apps and software can lead to missed opportunities for success in the real estate market. Do some research into what other agents are doing differently than you — whether it’s utilizing social media more effectively or leveraging new technologies — and try to incorporate those changes into how you do business as well.
You don’t have a network of professionals to rely on
No one can do it alone. Having a network of other professionals, such as lenders, appraisers, inspectors, etc., is essential for any successful real estate agent — not only because they can provide valuable insight into the market but also because they can help refer business your way when they come across someone looking for an agent.
Also, when you need advice or someone to roleplay dialogues and improve your listing presentation, having a group of other agents in your corner might be just what you need to give your business a boost.
Being successful in real estate means staying alert for red flags that indicate something isn’t going right. All of these are indicators that something needs attention ASAP in order for your business to stay afloat. By being aware of these warning signs early on and taking proactive steps towards correcting them timely, you will ensure long-term success for yourself as a real estate agent.
Take time out every month to work on your business, not just in it. It will help you keep a clearer head and spot the red flags early.
Darryl Davis is a speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, as well as the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars. Connect with him on Facebook or YouTube.