A 2020 study by the NAR found that 88% of buyers bought their home through a real estate agent or broker, and 73% interviewed only one agent during their search. This highlights the importance for agents to get in front of audiences as quickly as they can, while making the best first impression possible. Here are some of the most effective tactics that the most successful agents use to get ahead in business.
1. Strong website presence
It’s one of the greatest assets of an agent’s toolset, but great agents know that their website is the gift that keeps on giving if they set it up right. It’s the place where passing visitors can be converted to future clients, all depending on what they discover there. Great agents don’t stop at just posting listings on their site, but add all kinds of features that give people a reason to stay and revisit. From free mortgage calculators and tools to help them start their home buying journey, to free webinar or e-book offers in exchange for an email address, successful agents know how to leverage their website to keep audiences engaged, informed and directed towards clear CTAs.
2. Automating to improve lead generation
Most agents have been advised at one point in their careers to ‘find leads wherever you can’, be it a cafe, a friend’s friend or a reference from past clients. These are all good suggestions, but the modern accomplished agent has found ways to employ automation in their business processes to help with lead generation and tracking so that traditional manual labor can be bypassed almost entirely. In 2021, 96.2% of brokerages and almost 95% of agents said that using CRM systems increased their productivity. CRMs and other management softwares help bridge the gap between visitors filling in their details on an agent’s website and being sorted into a manageable, trackable digital ‘filing system’ that makes agents’ lives so much easier and business so much more efficient.
3. Local Expert
The most successful agents agree that having specialized and expert knowledge in local markets and community plays a significant part in becoming an authoritative voice in the business. People moving into a new area not only want to know about listings, they want to know what the neighborhood and local atmosphere is like before calling it home, and they will turn to their agent first for guidance and advice, from the best schools in the area, to most popular bars and cafes. These small details might seem trivial, but great agents know that having an instant answer to these questions can be a positive nudge in the right direction for their clients.
4. Over Communicate
The homebuying journey is a long, emotional and arduous road for many people, not to mention a confusing one. The logistics can be cumbersome, the paperwork endless, and some clients may take some time before they feel comfortable voicing out all their concerns. This is where great agents stand out, by over communicating. They know that their clients want to know the reasoning behind every action and suggestion, and they have a right to. Being able to proactively answer frequently asked questions and be transparent will enhance customer satisfaction and leave clients feeling involved and in control of the process. Great agents do the homework but more importantly, they are happy to show-and-tell.
5. Social Media Masters
Great agents today are digital agents, and they are adept at sharing parts of their life throughout different social media platforms. People are interested in the stories and individuals behind a brand, and the same is true for their agents. Sharing a few personal details, what a day-in-the-life looks like, their successes and even trials of the job…these make the agent approachable and personable, making it easier and more compelling for audiences to click to follow and even reach out once they’re looking on the market. Another way that great agents can make the most of their social media is by investing in paid promotions. For example, running a paid Instagram promotion can propel business forward and grow the brand because paid IG ads allow agents to pick their target audience, budget, type of post and length of promotion, ensuring more visibility.
6. Blog/Vlog Life
The number of digital savvy agents sharing their lives via a Youtube channel is growing, and for good reason. It’s a great opportunity to showcase their industry knowledge of their niche areas, share real estate tips with audiences that keep them engaged, and give a glimpse into what it takes to be an agent always on the go. Great agents also maintain a prolific blog, (optimized for SEO so that it’s sure to show up in prospect search results). They keep a steady schedule of blog posts going (pre-written and often scheduled ahead of time with software like Hootsuite), in line with keyword and search terms that target audiences are looking for.
7. Local Partnerships
Successful agents know they have to have a presence in the community, and are quick to partner up with local businesses. It’s a great way to set up local connections that will be valuable in the long run, help promote listings and even participate in local events. Because real estate is such a connection-heavy industry, building community involvement is an important step in building social capital for any agent and apart from it being a great way to generate leads, it’s a vital way of showing people you care and want to invest in community.
A 2021 survey revealed that 83% of agents found new clients through real estate referrals, indicating how important it is for agents not to shy away from actively asking for referrals organically. Top 1% agents have recommended a number of ways to do that: set up intimate events for past clients and families like a dinner or movie night so that they know their agent goes above and beyond just the final transaction step; follow up past and recent clients with special lifestyle newsletters and holiday cards so that the agent’s name is always top of mind; and simply asking them to fill out a referral form during their happiest milestones (the closing table, moving day, etc).
In 2022, video is still one of the most engaging and undersaturated platforms for real estate agents to gain a competitive edge. Video is quick, simple, and engaging, and agents today are utilizing it in more and more creative ways that don’t have to break the budget. Some invest in powerful but reasonably priced video apps to give them an edge, like professional drone footage, and some simply use their smartphone to film quick reels or home tours, or share client testimonial videos on their website.
10. Leverage third-party tools
Agents have only so many hours in a day, and the job requires them to wear so many different hats. The most successful agents leverage the power of automated tools and softwares to help them create calm out of chaos. In fact, 89% of brokers felt that real estate’s tech evolution is the key to streamlining processes and that it has proven to have a day-to-day impact. These third-party softwares are often flexible and personalized to whatever the size of the business, and being able to automate so many tedious processes and multiple systems helps keep agencies stay ahead of the competition. Not only that, agents are able to have actionable data at their fingertips, allowing them to make better informed decisions for their business in unprecedented ways.