In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, Realtor.com and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.
Wondering if there’s still opportunity as a real estate agent? The answer is an emphatic yes.
Noah Escobar, a 22-year-old real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida closed and contracted over $16 million in sales volume in his first full calendar year as an agent. In this article, he shares what he did before starting his sales career, a few step-by-step ways he generated business, and what he is focused on going into his sophomore year in the business.
He prepared for success by offering what he had to other agents
Escobar interned as a videographer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida, during his junior and senior years in college. The experience of shooting and editing videos for agents’ social media content, interviews of top agents and videos focusing on helping agents grow their businesses was invaluable.
As he shot the videos, he asked agents how they built their businesses and what they wished they had known when they started. He added value to the agents through his skill as a videographer, and based on the value he gave, many top producers gladly counseled him on how to build his business.
Whether you’re 22 years old or 72 years old, you have a skill that can help top producers. Your skill may be social media content creation, organizational skills, photography, or any other gift you might possess. No matter what it is, by offering to help top producers for free or at a reduced price, you will find agents willing to help you succeed in your real estate business.
Helping other agents is the fastest way to build relationships; it affords you the ability to learn from watching top producers and to prepare yourself for dramatic business growth.
He leveraged the agent relationships he built
By providing value to the agents, he was able to build relationships. He leveraged these relationships to make himself available if the agents had buyer leads they could not or did not want to follow up with. He offered to split any commission generated through these clients 50/50.
He kept the agents updated via email about his communication and progress with the leads. The documentation and follow-up led to more leads being sent his way. Leveraging these relationships led to more than $50,000 in gross commission income (GCI) in 2022.
He focused on underserved opportunities
Escobar recognized early on that his ability to compete for luxury listings would be difficult in his first year. This prompted him to look for underserved markets where he identified an opportunity with out-of-town vacant landowners.
“I’ve found there are three reasons people buy lots. The first reason is that they are looking for somewhere to park their money whether that be a 1031 exchange or excess cash they need to place. The second is as an investment with anticipation for capital appreciation over time. The third is they buy wanting to build, and they may or may not get around to it.
Each of these reasons creates opportunities to serve the lot owners. People who park money usually have additional money they need to park, leading to assisting them in finding their next property or rotating out of the lot and into another property. The owners who bought the lot as an investment will often entertain the idea of selling the lot for a profit. The sale of the lot often leads to the opportunity to help them buy their next investment property as well.
The last group of lot owners were the ones who bought with the intention of building. If they are still intending to build on the lot, this opens the opportunity to introduce them to a local builder. Many local builders will gladly pay you a referral fee for introducing them to someone that decides to hire them to build a house on their lot. “Many of the owners that intended to build never get around to it, which leads to them being open to selling the lot,” Escobar explained.
The process he used was to circle prospect these out-of-town lot owners with information about a recent comparable lot sale. Escobar admitted that making the first calls was scary.
He recalled contacting one owner who was dismissive on the initial phone call. After hanging up, Escobar texted the owner to apologize for any inconvenience and let him know that he truly is calling people to provide details about a recent sale that would affect the value of their property. The homeowner responded to the text apologetically. That relationship led to three referrals and over six transactions in the past 12 months.
Circle prospecting out-of-town lot owner strategy generated over $62,000 in GCI in 2022, Escobar said. He plans to double down on this strategy in the coming year.
He attended events and built referral relationships
A desire to expand his knowledge of how other agents are growing their businesses led him to invest in attending a number of real estate conferences. He believed attending real estate conferences would benefit him through the information he would learn. Although this was true, the relationships he built with agents at these events proved to be even more valuable.
He built these relationships by freely sharing what he was doing to grow his business. This led to several referrals last year, and those referrals served as a foundation he hopes to build on in the coming years.
Here’s an example of the investment he made by attending just one of the conferences he attended and how it paid off for him in a relatively short period of time.
Including travel, lodging, event ticket, and meals, his complete expense for this one event was just over $1,600. Through referrals he received from agents he met at that conference alone, he netted over $17,000 after paying the referring agents a referral fee and his company split.
Building relationships through attending real estate conferences is a strategy he plans to expand on in 2023.
What he regrets not doing
When asked about any regrets, he quickly said, “I wish I would have stayed more consistent in my prospecting. Early on, I tended to find a few opportunities and stop prospecting until I sold the prospect’s listing or found them a property. The inconsistency in my prospecting led to times when I had to start from scratch searching for new leads after having a closing.”
Adding a consistent time to prospect daily is a way he sees to continue his business growth in the coming year.
What he’s doing in Year 2 for continued growth
As mentioned above, he plans to continue circle prospecting out-of-town vacant land owners, build relationships with agents in other areas through attending conferences, and time-block his schedule daily for prospecting. In addition, he hired a local videographer to shoot three videos per month with him in addition to the three videos he is shooting and editing for himself. These videos are designed to help him increase his exposure and to build his personal brand as the local expert.
He’s begun adding a mix of neighborhood highlight videos, infrastructure updates on new developments, highlighting local charity videos, and listing tour videos. He’s tested running pre-roll ads to gain exposure for a few of the videos as well.
“Video content is a focus I have for this year. The videos work even when I sleep. A few weeks ago, I launched a video, and I realized that video had over 800 minutes of watch time in the first 48 hours after I released it. That equates to nearly 14 hours of people watching a video branding me as the local real estate expert. This was an eye-opener for me, and I can only imagine how the value of these videos will compound in the future if I will just stay consistent in posting at least two videos a month.” — Noah Escobar
If you’d like to check out some of the videos he’s begun producing and possibly find some inspiration for videos you can produce, you can see them on his YouTube channel.
What can you take away from his story
The bottom line is that opportunity not only still exists in real estate, but it’s also abundantly available. But if you want different results, you must do different things.
What is it that you’re doing differently this year? Are you time-blocking your schedule for prospecting? Are you learning a new skill or expanding your knowledge? Are you trying new business growth strategies? Whatever you’re doing, do it with passion (and share with us in the comments section below). Someone is going to have their best year ever this year. Why not you?
Jimmy Burgess is the CEO for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Instagram and LinkedIn.