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They’ve been through market ups and downs, they’re experts in the field and they know how to earn social media followers like it’s nobody’s business: There’s a reason Inman’s inaugural class of real estate social media masters were named “Inman Influencers.”

During an Inman Connect roundtable moderated by Katie Kossev of Side, some of those Inman Influencers — Glennda Baker, Tarek El Moussa, Mauricio Umansky and Egypt Sherrod — shared what agents can do now and in upcoming months to succeed in 2024. Leveraging different forms of video was a big one, as well as doubling down on the basics and not being afraid of rejection.

Get on video

As influencers both within and outside of the real estate industry, the panelists know the ins and outs of what works and what doesn’t with video. But one thing is for sure: Video is critical for an agent’s business success in the new year.

“Your buyer and seller are concerned about the real estate market right now,” Baker, who leads Glennda Baker & Associates, Inc., said. “You are their narrative. You don’t need to let them look at national news to tell them about interest rates. What you really want to do is be able to give them the clarity and certainty to make a decision about real estate.”

Baker said that her team’s focus for 2024 will be to create masterclass-style videos that help clients understand the market better and spur them into action, like an “infomercial for the buyer and seller.”

Meanwhile, Sherrod, who recently left Keller Williams to launch the brokerage Indigo Road Realty, stressed that not only is video a valuable tool, but it’s also a free tool that agents can take advantage of. And there are plenty of resources for them to learn how to use it best, depending on the platform and what the agent is trying to convey.

“Because we have training programs now,” Sherrod said, “to tell us how to master the cadence of social media, so you can break through the algorithm.

“I know it starts to feel like a full-time job — it kind of is. But it requires us to be intentional.”

El Moussa and Umansky added that while capitalizing on video is important, it’s also important to keep in mind ways to stand out from the millions of other real estate agents out there who are also creating video content.

“I think video is extremely important,” El Moussa said. “Obviously, I have multiple TV shows, I’m all over social media, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, but a lot of times I like to go against the grain. So obviously yes, do video, but don’t forget about a big opportunity. The big opportunity is this: While everyone is doing video, ’cause that’s the new hot thing, why not go back to the old school method of going to the door of an expired listing?”

Umansky added, “I’ll try to dig a little deeper into that. Yes, video. But what about video? Differentiate yourself, be different, be creative. And that’s not the all-in — that’s a part of your all-in that has to happen. The next part is what Tarek is saying — yes, door knocking and all that stuff … I always like to say, go back to the basics. For me, the basics are old-fashioned lead generation, and to me, the best old-fashioned lead generation source is open houses.”

The Agency’s CEO explained that most agents don’t take the time to capitalize on open houses in a way that can showcase their value by engaging with attendees, showing them what you know about the property, the market and every other house in the neighborhood.

“That is an active community of people that you can tap into,” he said. “What you do during those three hours is everything.”

Defy the market

“The market sucks,” Umansky declared. “Let’s not pretend it doesn’t suck, and anybody who’s talking about it not sucking is lying.”

When Sherrod protested that the market was actually performing well in her area of Atlanta, Umansky conceded that although select markets across the country were doing well, on the whole, the national market is currently down by about 40 percent.

To combat the downturn, Umansky said agents should strive to differentiate themselves and set themselves apart from the many newer agents leaving the market by showing off their skills, expertise and industry experience.

El Moussa built on the theme of opportunity by adding, “During the Great Recession, I thought it was the worst thing in my life. If it wasn’t for the Great Recession, I wouldn’t be who I [am] today — I wouldn’t have started flipping houses, I wouldn’t have gotten on TV, I wouldn’t be an Inman Influencer. So you can really come ahead during recessions.”

If he were a newer agent strategizing for 2024, El Moussa said he would expand his market size and look for new business from clients in the “need to sell” category, like those with expired listings or default notices. As Baker later said, follow the five D’s of real estate — diapers, diamonds, death, debt and divorce — and then you can “praise the Lord and pass the money.”

Double down and get a coach

As new agents have come and gone in the industry through the surge of business during the pandemic and the subsequent downturn, now is the time for agents to return to the basics and find a coach to level up their business, Sherrod suggested.

“No. 1, have a business plan,” she said. “Have actionable items and work your plan, and you’re going to get through all the seasons in real estate.”

Baker also suggested that agents choose three core activities to focus on and master in their business during this time, as well as provide content to clients that is “real, relatable, relevant and reliable.”

El Moussa reminisced that when he was a young agent, having a real estate coach is what helped him transform from a kid scraping by into a young adult generating an income.

“I got into real estate when I was 19, 20 years old,” the Flip or Flop star said. “My first couple months in the business, I was just wandering around the office trying to figure out how to use the printer. I had no idea what I was doing, I made no money, I was a kid, and one day I got a coach and the coach changed my life. I went from being a 20-year-old kid who was delivering pizza one month before to making $40,000 a month almost overnight because I got a coach who put together a plan and told me what to do.”

Be fearless

Kossev, who has admittedly had a bit less on-camera experience than the panelists, wondered how the influencers ever mustered up the courage to create video content and do so in a genuine manner.

“How did you get over giving a shit about what anybody thinks about you?” she asked.

For his part, El Moussa said, “I had no choice! I had so many bills, I was in my 20s. I had no option — it was ‘burn the boats.’ I’m not kidding.”

Baker said it’s important to jump in and not worry about having fancy or expensive equipment.

“It’s learn it ’til you earn it,” she said. “And people think, ‘I need a professional videographer, I need lighting, I need a microphone.’ I mean, it’s ‘News from the Nissan,’ ‘Real estate from the Rover,’ ‘Tips from the Tesla.’ Sitting in your car, you’ve got great lighting. Talk to people about what’s happening right this very second. You don’t need any money to be social. You don’t need any money to do an open house.”

Baker went on to say that agents who display their knowledge — by offering a potential buyer an immediate appointment to go see another house two blocks away if the house they’re looking at right now isn’t the right fit, for instance — show potential clients that they know how to deliver, today.

“I love that! You have appointments set up for people you don’t even know yet. That is the coolest, smartest thing I ever heard,” El Moussa declared.

That ability to know a neighborhood like the back of your hand is one of the things that can give agents confidence and help quell the ever-present fear of rejection, Umansky said.

“Getting over the fear of rejection is everything,” Umansky said. “And that’s what we have to wake up to every single morning and figure out how to get over that fear.

“The way to get over the fear is to be as knowledgeable as you can, and then trick yourself at the end of the day. I’m tricking myself and telling everyone I’m a really good dancer right now, and I can tell you I’m not,” he added, in reference to his competing in Dancing With the Stars Season 32.

Another way to get over that fear of rejection is simply to focus on your goals, and make it a numbers game, El Moussa and Sherrod suggested. When El Moussa was a young agent, for instance, he didn’t leave the office at the end of the day unless he hit his goal of talking to 50 homeowners on the phone that day. And when he did that, even if most of those homeowners hung up on him, he still felt a sense of accomplishment.

“It’s really perception,” he said.

Sherrod was an incredibly shy person before she got into real estate. But once she started focusing on her goals of making a certain number of calls per day, that fear of speaking to people impacted her less and less, she said.

“Eventually that starts to fade away, when you can step into your power, look fear in the eye and say it’s false evidence appearing real, there’s nothing here to fear, and everyday you do that a little bit anyway, you become fearless,” Sherrod said in conclusion.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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