Whether you are a seasoned real estate agent struggling with your current book of business or you’re just a beginner, sometimes stepping back and taking a common sense approach will help you revitalize, reprioritize, and ultimately succeed. Here are 6 simple steps to help you become a more successful real estate agent.
Step 1: Book smarts.
Foundationally, having a good education is essential no matter what career field you choose. Whether it be CE (Continuing Education), GED, an Associate’s Degree, or even your Bachelors or Masters Degrees, first and foremost, make it your primary objective to get grounded or stay cutting edge with a good education that supports your real estate career. Nothing can prepare you more for operating your own business, and forging new business relationships than the effort you put into learning your craft, understanding it inside and out, and becoming an expert in your field. Like every business today, real estate is a dynamically changing field in how you market, how you exist, and how you grow. For a seasoned agent, maybe it is time to attain a new level in the field like Broker/Associate Broker, or expand your knowledge in the field of Appraising. From book keeping and tax write offs, to how you leverage social media and the web, learning is the key to staying “fresh”.
Step 2: The essentials.
Ask yourself… Introvert or Extrovert? Effective Real estate agents are usually very social and approachable people. This career involves a lot of open interactions, meeting and being able to work with all kinds of people face-to-face and over your device [texting/emailing/calling], convincing them that you are a professional who can help them realize their dreams. It’s the kind of business where you can’t be afraid of putting yourself out there. You are a direct sales person, so if you are an introvert who doesn’t like to be in the spotlight, or over the years in real estate you have evolved into more of a lead grabber instead of a lead generator, you may want to start thinking about a different line of work or at minimum playing a different role in the real estate industry.
Step 3: The credentials.
Now that you have passed the DNA test of being a real estate agent, you will need to get your license. The basics. Georgia has very specific real estate license requirements. You must have a high school diploma or GED, pass a criminal background check and be at least 18 years old in order to become licensed. If you meet those criteria, you must then successfully complete a required 75-hour Salesperson Pre-license Course at a school approved by the Georgia Real Estate Commission or successfully complete a minimum of 10 quarter hours or 6 semester hours of course work eligible for a Major in Real Estate from an accredited college or university. But you’re not done yet, you still have to pass a state exam administered in a very controlled environment at one of the state accredited testing centers. Study hard, and good luck! You are almost there.
Step 4: Know your place.
Whether it is your first or fiftieth year in real estate, make sure you have surrounded yourself with professionals that know and understand the business. You should feel like a member and not a number. No matter what your knowledge level, it is critical that you are with a firm that supports you as an asset to the team and is there quickly when you need assistance with mentoring and guidance. And for the new agents, BEWARE. You will be barraged with offers from all of the local agencies once you get your new license. Don’t be quick to make a decision based on what you think you know. Check around. Ask for advice from seasoned professionals, and don’t be afraid to interview your future broker. He or she should be open to the idea of a face-to-face sit down meet and greet. If they aren’t, you may want to ask yourself how accessible will they be when the “honeymoon” is over and you need them in a pinch.
Step 5: Networking
Network, network, network and once you have exhausted that … get out there and increase your network. If you think you will get rich in real estate off of your family and friends as your referrals, think again. The fastest way to failure is to expect the business to come to you. My motto … push away your chair and get out there. Both with social media and in person, meet new people and MOST IMPORTANTLY forge new friendships with them. Leverage every engagement with a stranger as a way to develop a lead. At the tire store, the grocery, on a chat room, and even at the gas pump, there is not a better way to drum up new business than by socializing with folks. And you know those dynamic marketing tools called business cards? Don’t leave home without them. Hand them out like candy. Sure a lot of them will get tossed, but every once in a while one comes back to you in the form of a client. It’s a little investment that can pay big dividends. And for the seasoned agent, don’t be afraid to go back to tried and true methods of networking while also being open to the trends of the future. When is the last time you held an open house that you actually attended? Just the same, when is the last time you explored the internet for ideas on how to exponentially grow your business through e-marketing and new web based opportunities. Don’t be afraid to switch it up in order to grow. The possibilities are endless as long as you keep an open mind.
Step 6: No lead is a bad lead
You know the old fable about the tortoise and the hare? Do you remember who won the race? The tortoise. The moral of the story, sometimes slow and steady has its’ benefits. I have found over some hard life lessons that “get rich quick” and “bigger is better” doesn’t always spell success. This applies to sales in general and especially to real estate. If you are just starting out or you have been at it a while, if it doesn’t feel like your business is growing at a rate that can sustain your personal goals for a successful career, before you throw in the towel a good approach may be that “no deal is too small, no commission to puny” if you are serious about building/rebuilding your client base. Business tends to lead to more business, period. Now that is not to say that many in real estate have not found their fortune in the high rent district, but what it does mean is that life is about putting the odds in your favor. By having a diverse book of business, you can increase your chances for success. Maybe your territory is too small for the amount of clients you need to maintain steady growth, maybe your leads have become stale or saturated, just remember that differentiation may breathe new life in both your career and your bank account.
Well, that’s it. And that wasn’t too hard, was it? Nothing earth shattering, nothing insurmountable, just a chance to step back and ask yourself… am I doing all I can to stay one step ahead of the rest. I wish you all the best! Happy selling.
Jeff Howard –