In the United States, there are tens of thousands of real estate agents. Not all are full-time agents. Many people “dabble” in real estate while others work hard to support their families. Some are quite good at what they do while others continue to struggle, even in good markets.
So, what’s the difference between a highly-successful agent and one that continues to flounder? Often, the answer comes in one word: commitment. And with that commitment comes a number of habits that, if employed regularly, can help an agent increase their success exponentially.
A top-notch agent communicates with clients often and effectively.
You need to be willing to spend some time on the old telephone! A successful agent responds to clients quickly and always with enthusiasm. He or she doesn’t let a serious client go more than 24 hours without some sort of communication to let them know he’s on top of whatever it is he’s doing for them – listing their home, finding them a new one, etc. And when the client calls YOU, don’t delay that return call. It could mean the difference between keeping that client and losing them.
And when you get a cold lead, don’t wait until “later” to follow-up. Chances are someone else has that lead too and might follow-up before you! Never let the phone scare you because, if it does, you can resign yourself to being one of those real estate “dabblers.”
Remember, talking to clients and potential clients is not only a way of gathering valuable information, but it’s also a way to let clients know that they are important to you. If you were buying or selling a house, wouldn’t you prefer to work with someone who values your business and your time?
An important note: In this age of technology, ask your clients how they prefer to communicate. If chatting on the phone doesn’t work for them, then send an email or text in place of a phone call. Remember, any way you choose to communicate is fine. Just get it done!
Constantly Look for Leads
An agent who makes a good living in real estate does not sit at her desk and wait for leads to come to her. She goes out and gets them!
Now, in the old days, the only ways to get leads were to send postcards to your “farm” area or perhaps advertise in the local paper. You could also call expired listings or ask family members for referrals. Today, however, there are many other ways to generate leads.
Social media has helped a lot with lead generation as has advertising through sites like Zillow, where you can quickly pick up new clients if you follow up quickly (see the previous section!).
You can also partner with other professionals in your area, such as wealth management companies, bankers, life insurance agents, and even divorce attorneys. There’s nothing “underhanded” about this. These individuals or companies often have clients who want or need to sell or buy a house, and you can help them. If you don’t get the business, someone else will, so having a network of other like-minded professionals is essential.
And don’t assume a lead is a bad one or is “dead” if they’re not ready to go now. Keep them in your files and schedule them for a follow-up call, text, or email once a month.
These two words could be in every blog about successful real estate sales. You can’t be an old-fashioned agent and make it in the world of real estate today. You must be plugged in and turned on! That includes putting up a great website, having a Facebook page, tweeting, Instagramming, and all the other stuff that will put you in touch with buyers and sellers, especially millennials who are now just entering the home-buying market.
Know Your Market
Chances are you’ve seen companies or agents advertise the fact that they are the “neighborhood expert”. But are they really? If you’re hoping to be the neighborhood expert for the area in which you sell, you need to do more than just set up your office there. You need to do what it takes to truly get to know that location.
This might mean taking some extra time to explore the streets of your area and see what kind of homes are available. You should continuously be on the lookout for new “for sale” signs, which will allow you to tell clients what’s new on the market as soon as those homes are listed. You should visit all new construction as well and get to know the sales professionals at those locations.
An agent who wants to become a neighborhood expert should also patronize local stores, restaurants, and other establishments in that neighborhood. Wherever you go, introduce yourself and talk to other customers! Not only will you get to know these businesses and what they offer, but they’ll get to know you, too. You might even find some creative way to partner with them like hosting “breakfast with a realtor” at the little mom-and-pop café down the street or putting your picture and contact info on shopping carts at the local market. The possibilities are endless.
Even if you’re the most diligent, communicative real estate agent in the world, you’re going to have scenarios that test your mettle. We’ve all had them: that perfect deal that goes south, the client that buys from someone else after spending countless weekends with you, the multi-million-dollar listing that slips through your fingers.
Not everything will go your way, but you just need to keep doing everything listed above to remain at the top of your game. Sure, there will be significant disappointments, but if you have enough irons in the fire, so to speak, one lost client or deal will not have a major impact on your business.