Secrets of Successful Real Estate Agents (Ep 1)

Drew Coleman is the Founder of the Drew Coleman Team and is one of Oregon’s most decorated real estate brokers, read more about his view on successful agents.

Rikard Jonsson
Rikard Jonsson
March 8, 2022
5 min read
Secrets of Successful Real Estate Agents (Ep 1)

Table of content

This is an ongoing series of articles that cover the topics and insights shared during the three-day Real Conf 2021 hosted by Adfenix. The following article summarizes the keynote discussion with Drew Coleman on Day 1 Session 5 of the conference. 

Drew Coleman is Founder of the Drew Coleman Team and is one of Oregon’s most decorated real estate brokers with over 20 years experience in the field. In this session he shares deep insight on the Secrets of Successful Real Estate Agents (Ep 1). 

  • Firstly, overnight success happens only in fairy tales and bad movies 

Drew asserts that being a consumer of information is valuable, but it’s also important to keep in mind that having the idea that success can happen overnight can be crippling to a financial future. Working hard and smart is crucial, evidenced by the common thread that Drew has discovered among other top agents: they vary in personality, background and business style, but they all have a tenacity and an overwhelming desire to succeed

  • Success through the Shift to Digital 

In recent years, an undeniable shift to digital has occurred, and Drew confesses that this has, in fact, played a huge part in the success story of his business. The key ingredient is flexibility - the ability to flex and shapeshift as the market invariably does. 

Drew shares his experience of working in real estate in the early 2000s, when customers would be more than happy to get a callback on Monday mornings when agents rolled into work. Today, that is no longer the case. Customers ring in a query at 11pm on a Saturday night and expect to be responded to within five minutes. That is the ‘writing on the wall’, i.e. the digital shift that has made a pronounced impact in the last few years, and that includes various angles of transformation, such as the ‘Instagramification’ of society that started happening from 2013 onwards and shifted the way Drew’s business worked. His company adapted to these changes by hiring full-time marketing teams, photographers, videographers and they were one of the first teams to implement Matterport 3D tours on every property - all because they were able to predict the value that digital had in terms of serving modern customers. 

Embracing and Reacting to Changing Consumer Behavior 

Consumers and clients are the driving force of the market, so it makes sense to not only embrace those changes when they inevitably come, but try and get to the front leading edge of it. Consider the real estate catchphrase, ‘my listing, my lead’ - but 87% of realtors don’t actually return a phone call within 2 hours. The difference maker is the agent who is truly ready to serve the digital consumer at the speed they want, which is already very fast because of the instant gratification they are accustomed to from the Amazon and Netflix giants and others like them. Unfortunately, some agents simply have had trouble adapting to the speed of today’s consumer. 

  • ‘This is the way we’ve always done it’ - are dangerous words to live by

Drew says that with the onslaught of the digital transformation, forgetting that you serve the client or refusing to adapt to their wants and requirements can be detrimental to business. ‘This is the way we’ve always done it’ were most likely said at Blockbuster Videos and K-Mart before the tide turned, and highlights the importance of teams being able to grow in terms of adaptability and responsiveness. 

  • Advice for Agents 

Tracking is the most important action an agent can take. It sounds over simplistic, (many agents still fail to heed this move), and yet every real estate coach and trainer will say the same - put everyone you know into a database, because later down the road that relationship can blossom into a real, actionable prospect, especially if an agent has been at it for 3, 4, 7 years -a successful feat in a field that’s otherwise notorious for seeing 83% of its brokers leave the business within 2 years. 

Fan out for data and personalize with digital tools
- For example, the United States is facing inventory storage at the moment, and one thing agents can do if a client wants to buy a home in a specific neighborhood, is reach out to the title company and get a list of homeowners for the entire area. Using tools like Remine can help indicate who in the neighborhood is most likely to move and provide a sales score for clients. The agent can then filter the list through that sales score and use a handwriting software to send out mail that seems handwritten (and personal), and ultimately, they’ll be very likely to find a property that a) will probably work for their client and b) serve as a great new listing opportunity. 

‘Prospecting is key’ - Having clients to work with is job number 1; it doesn’t matter how good a job is done, it matters that there are more clients coming down the pipeline. Agents should always treat all their clients well, but emphasis needs to be placed on prospecting lead generation and working with their social spheres to increase referrals.  


Buying real estate young - Drew shares a lifehack for younger people in the business, and that is to take advantage of financing options where possible and buying a duplex, triplex or fourplex with the same type of financing they might get for a single-family home. This can be more financially advantageous in the future than any other financial move, because renting out three out of four doors will yield incredible benefits 20 years down the line and serve as a great head start towards retirement. 

  • What is the most common mistake agents make?  

‘Don’t shortcut the journey’ - Circling back to his earlier point, Drew reiterates that the most common mistake agents make is really thinking that success comes overnight. This can be perpetuated through social media and society at large, but is nothing more than seeing the finished product without witnessing the journey.  

To sum up: 

  1. Overnight success happens only in fairy tales - the most successful agents have tenacity and an overwhelming desire to succeed as common traits. 
  2. With the advent of digital transformation, an important factor for agents is flexibility, being able to move and shift alongside changing markets.
  3. Successful agents embrace changing consumer behavior and do what it takes to cater to their specific needs. 
  4. ‘This is the way we’ve always done it’ are dangerous words to live by 
  5. Tracking and prospecting are the most important business moves for agents, while personalization with digital tools is an effective way to let customers know they are a priority. 
  6. It is important to remember there is no shortcut to a successful, long lasting career, and there are many valuable lessons that can only come through the journey. 


About Real Conf.
Real Conf 2021 is a three-day virtual event exploring ways that agencies and brokerages can leverage the power of digital to increase business opportunities, elevate the brand, and empower agents to deliver success. The conference features hundreds of invaluable insight from keynote speakers, panel discussions and case studies from experts in the field. 

All 15 sessions with 25 speakers are now available to stream on-demand.

Gain full access to the stream and watch the sessions in their entirety by signing up here: https://www.adfenix.com/real-conf 

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