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In the competitive world of real estate, unlocking success requires a deliberate approach, and these seven keys to success in real estate are your roadmap to prosperity. Whether you’re a new agent or an experienced broker, these strategies will propel your business forward and help you thrive in our ever-evolving real estate landscape.
7 Keys to Success in Real Estate
How many of these 7 keys to success in real estate do you already have?
1. Have a Plan
No one stumbles into success in real estate. It takes a conscious effort to determine the most effective ways to run your business.
When you’re new to the industry, you need to establish a real estate agent business plan. This plan outlines:
- finances, and
Having a plan keeps you focused in a business where there’s always something new to experiment with. But that doesn’t mean you have to be inflexible. By reviewing your business plan annually and adjusting for changing market conditions and tech innovations, you can continuously improve your business and keep up with always-changing market conditions.
2. Find a Mentor
Having a mentor is a worthy shortcut to success as a real estate agent. You can leverage your mentor’s experience to inform your business decisions and help you avoid industry pitfalls.
Your mentor could also jumpstart your career by giving you an opportunity to “co-list.” If you read our article on becoming a luxury real estate agent, you know that co-listing is your access point to new markets. You agree to do most of the work on a listing in exchange for a small percentage of the commission, and (more importantly) your name on the listing. Not only does this give you real-world experience in your desired market, but it also gives you a closed deal to list in your marketing materials, which can lead to more listings similar to the property you co-listed!
How to Find a Real Estate Mentor
Your brokerage might already have a mentorship program in place. But you can always reach out to experienced agents directly to see if they would be interested in mentoring you. Here’s how to find a mentor in three easy steps:
- Observe the agents in your market. Make a short list of agents you want to emulate. Those are your potential mentors.
- Provide value to your potential mentors. Ask if you can help with an open house, for example. This will be a learning experience for you, and it will allow you to get to know your mentor candidates better.
- Treat your top candidates to coffee or lunch. This is where you can ask if they have considered mentoring a new agent. Don’t be offended if some of your candidates decline. Mentorship requires time and energy, and some agents just won’t have the bandwidth. Simply move on to your next candidate.
3. Master Marketing and Prospecting
Marketing and prospecting are both methods of generating new leads. While marketing is passive (putting your message out there and inviting people to contact you), prospecting is active (contacting specific people to ask for business).
Mastering both lead-gen models is one of the most important keys to success in real estate. The best way to master them is to practice them every single workday.
Want more ideas? Check out our giant list of 75 brilliant real estate lead generation ideas.
4. Niche Down
At first, it might sound like a good idea to cast a wide net for leads. After all, the more people you reach, the more likely you are to get a new client, right?
Well, it doesn’t actually work that way.
You’re far more likely to find success by reaching a smaller group with a message that resonates with them.
Consider these two marketing messages:
- If you’re buying or selling a home in San Diego, contact me today.
- If you’re looking for an investment property with high return potential in Mission Beach (or you know someone who is!), contact me today.
There is nothing special about the first message. Nothing to set you apart from the other hundreds of agents who use the same message. This means that you’re effectively competing with every other agent in this massive market. But the second message…if I’m an investor considering MB, this message speaks directly to me and offers an opportunity to find a high-return investment property. And as the agent with this message, you’d be competing with…what…two other agents specializing in MB investment properties? Your odds of winning a lead increase substantially.
Check out these profitable real estate niches for agents and select one that suits you.
5. Focus on Referrals and Repeat Business
Do you know how buyers and sellers find real estate agents?
According to a 2023 NAR study, 38% of homebuyers find their real estate agents from the referral of a friend, neighbor, or relative. And 12% use an agent they used previously. This means that referrals and repeat clients could account for a full 50% of your buyers. Even more impressively, 36% of sellers come from referrals and 27% of sellers use their previous agent, totaling 63% of sellers that could come from just these two categories!
This is why it’s so crucial to nurture your existing contacts. You never know when someone may be looking to relocate, invest, or refer a friend.
3 Things You Can Do TODAY to Increase Referrals and Repeat Business
- Change your marketing materials to include referrals. Wherever you have a call to action in your marketing materials, update that CTA to include referral opportunities. For example, if your seller-focused social post says something like “If you’re ready to get top-dollar for your Playa Vista home, contact me today,” you could change this to “If you, or someone you know, is ready to get top dollar as a Playa Vista home seller, contact me today.”
- Thank your referrals publicly. When you get a referral, make a show of it; send a thank-you gift to your referrer’s office. A bouquet of balloons, cookies, fruit, or classic flowers will garner attention from everyone in the workplace and give your referrer a chance to talk you up!
- Give more value in your ongoing follow-up. There are lots of ways to provide ongoing value to your entire sphere, increasing your chances of referrals and repeat business. You could, for example, provide regular market reports to show people what they could potentially list their homes for. Or you could provide monthly lists of local events to help people feel more connected to the community. You could also potentially provide financial value to local homeowners through complimentary property tax reviews. You’d be shocked at how often tax assessors overvalue properties, leading to unfairly high property tax bills. A quick look at the assessed value per square foot compared to local market values PSF can tell you if someone is being over-taxed. You can notify these homeowners to appeal their assessments for a property tax reduction. Even better: you can provide property tax appeal services to add a revenue stream to your business!
Want more tips? Check out How to Build a Referral Business.
6. Establish a Strong Online Presence
Having a strong online presence is one of the modern keys to success in real estate for several reasons. Consider everything an online presence gives you:
- Instant credibility. Having a website confirms that you are a real estate professional (even if you’re brand new!). Before you spend a fortune on a web designer or rent a cookie-cutter website from a site provider, check out this step-by-step guide to building your own professional real estate website.
- Ways to provide value before ever meeting your prospects. If you post informative content on your social channels or blog, you’re demonstrating your expertise and building trust with prospective leads.
- Ways to provide ongoing value to your sphere. As we just discussed, providing ongoing value is key to generating referrals and repeat business. And your website and social platforms give you places to disseminate this information to everyone in your sphere.
- A means of reaching new prospects. By posting engaging, shareable content, you increase your reach to new potential leads.
- Passive, organic online leads. By optimizing your website for search engines like Google, you can funnel potential buyers and sellers directly to your website where they can find out about you and your services. If you’re new to search engine optimization (SEO), check out our Intro to SEO for REALTORS.
7. Diversify Your Income
In general, real estate agents seem to be split on whether income diversification is worth the effort…until they try to take a long vacation, take time away for health or family, or retire. Then they realize the value of having recurring income that is unrelated to their commission checks.
I’m a big fan of income diversification because it gives you:
- Recurring income despite seasonal slumps and periods of recession,
- Passive income that can flow even while you’re sleeping (when you choose the right types of income streams), and
- Long-term income potential that can support you during retirement or even build generational wealth.
There are dozens of ways to diversify your real estate income. My recommendation is to choose one income stream that works well during slower periods, including recessions (the property tax appeals service mentioned earlier is ideal for this!), and one income stream that provides passive cash flows (like investing in rental property).
For more ideas about ways to diversify your income, check out 55 Ways to Make Money in Real Estate.
Did We Miss Anything?
Did our list of the keys to success in real estate cover the most important points? Is there something you would add? Let us know in the comments.
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