So you’ve decided on a career in real estate—great! Hopefully you’ve done your due diligence and researched the industry, your chosen market, and what you can (and can’t) expect from a career as a real estate agent. Working in the real estate industry can result in a lasting and rewarding career, but it’s oftentimes difficult when you’re first getting started, and there aren’t many shortcuts around it.
This can feel especially daunting to a new realtor in their early stages who’s just poured a considerable financial investment into their certifications and trainings, along with other startup costs.
Paychecks aren’t guaranteed, and any income after your first sale will be sporadic and unpredictable. If you don’t have savings set aside, there’s an added pressure to sell houses quickly to stay afloat. But if you navigate the beginning of your career smartly, these investments can pay off exponentially in the long run.
In real estate, the harder you work, the more money you tend to make. Hit the ground running, starting with laying the groundwork for your success.
LET OTHERS KNOW WHAT YOU’RE UP TO
Compile a list of family members, friends, friends of friends, and people you interact with regularly—including your hair stylist, landscaper, or even your local barista. Tell them you’re now working as a real estate agent and to keep you in mind if they, or anyone they know, is looking to buy or sell.
This sounds simple, but it can help create traction when you’re launching your new career. Schedule an entire week or two to focus solely on spreading the word about you can help meet real estate needs. It’s an easy and effective way to begin prospecting and building a network of contacts—one of the most important tools for a realtor.
KNOW YOUR MARKET
A salesperson you must know their product, and realtors are no different. People look to real estate professionals as the expert in the market, so be sure to deliver.
Familiarize yourself with the schools, parks, and nearby businesses. Get entrenched in the community as a whole as well as the individuals you’re looking to serve. Consider shadowing other professionals that play a part in the home buying and selling process—such as builders or home inspectors—so you can know the ins and outs of what you’re selling and answer questions that may arise.
Sometimes knowledge trumps experience, and if you can learn the unique needs and pain points of your prospects, they will be more willing to take a chance on you. It will also allow you to do your job to the best of your ability and maintain happy clients (who in return can refer you to others who are in the market for a real estate agent).
NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
You probably already know you need to be networking, but it’s worth repeating. The more you put yourself in social situations and interact with others, the more likely you are to connect with a potential prospect.
Networking is not only good for building your client list, but also mingling with others in the industry. Regularly networking with other realtors is a great way to gain insight into others’ failures and successes.
FIND A MENTOR
Finding a mentor is important in many fields of work, and it’s especially important when you’re starting out in real estate. If you have the right mentor, they’ll help you grow professionally while also holding you accountable for improvement and meeting goals.
When searching for a mentor, seek someone who has achieved the level of success you hope to gain in the future. In today’s world, there isn’t enough time to make all the different mistakes you can eventually learn from, so find someone who can help you avoid rookie pitfalls when starting out.
As a new real estate agent, work can feel unstructured, especially if you’re not bringing in a regular paycheck. Real estate rarely sleeps, so there’s no clock to punch or “typical” schedule to follow. This is what attracts many people to the career. Others can quickly fall flat if they’re undisciplined or wasteful during their working hours.
When you get word of a lead, follow up by phone and email. Shyness has no place in your career as a realtor, so prepare scripts and talking points. The more you interact with clients, the more comfortable you become doing so.
Your best bet is to get a strong grip on time management and find out what works for you. For example, spend your mornings prospecting new business, keep afternoons open for showings or tending to paperwork, and stay abreast of industry news and market developments during the evenings. Realtors often work long hours, including weekends—it’s a reality for this career. Plan on being busy!
When you’re a new realtor, you need to get your name, brand, and business in front of people. And then you need to find a way to stay in front of people after your initial introduction.
Perhaps you stay top-of-mind through a regular newsletter and seasonal touchpoints. However you choose to do it, a good rule of thumb is to be in touch with each client, prospect, or resident in your targeted area a minimum of four times a year.
MAKE A NAME FOR YOURSELF
Your reputation can make or break you the industry. As a realtor, you are instinctively wired to be transactional in your thinking. It makes sense—if there’s no deal, you don’t get paid. However, repeat and loyal clients are striving to build a lasting connection with someone who will represent their interests, even if it means passing on a deal that means big things for your wallet and bragging rights.
Losing the confidence or respect of a client is news that spreads quickly throughout the market, and it can have a damaging effect on your reputation. Build your client base with care, and if you don’t think you can meet the expectations of someone, don’t take them on as a client.
Once you get a few client successes under your belt, be sure to grow the presence of your online reviews so you can get noticed by others and generate more leads. This is another way your reputation among clients helps qualify you to others.
HAVE A MARKETING PLAN
Your marketing strategy will be what helps your real estate career thrive, rather than fall flat. You’ll need a strong digital presence, and your marketing efforts need to be comprehensive in order to help you penetrate your market most effectively.
Many realtors use social media to market themselves because it’s both cost-effective and easy to use. Social Media provides you an opportunity to share updates and properties through sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, in addition to networking with potential home buyers and sellers.
Consider writing informative and relevant guides, blogs, and other content pieces that deliver value to clients while highlighting your skillset and expertise. Blogging is an excellent way to display your knowledge to prospects and keep them updated on news that affects them.
Direct mail and email marketing are other key components to your marketing strategy. Use both these marketing channels to communicate special offerings, as well as relevant events and customer successes.
Develop a marketing calendar and stick to it so you don’t miss out on key opportunities. Carve out time in your schedule that is strictly for planning, executing, and caring for your marketing strategies.
Hitting sales quotas are important, but be sure to set goals for your marketing efforts, too. Doing so will help improve your visibility, branding, and lead generation—all of which have a high potential to drive sales.
If you aren’t looking at analytics for your marketing, you won’t see where you’re hitting or missing the mark. Not sure where to start? Xpressdocs offers a complete suite of digital and automated marketing solutions that fit your busy schedule with easy-to-understand analytics and dashboards.
Traditionally the customer is always right. And while the choice to go or pass on a deal will ultimately fall in the hands of your clients, they are relying on your expertise to guide them to the best decision. Don’t avoid a disagreeing point of view out of fear. Trust your business instincts, learn from your mistakes, and be confident with your decisions.
Starting out, the future can feel equal parts scary and exciting. Even the most seasoned real estate professionals face obstacles and setbacks, so be a sponge and soak up as much experience as you can. When building a sustainable business as a realtor, remember to work hard, do right by your clients, and always be marketing!