- Successful agents treat their job as a business
Successful agents, even when under the guidance of a larger agency or brokerage, always know to begin and maintain a business plan, and this can start even before landing a first client. This means fleshing out what short and long-term business goals may look like for that agent, researching and mapping out what the current local markets look like, what the target audience looks like, and what tools can be easily adopted to help reach that audience. This pre-visualization is a common but effective step that all successful entrepreneurs take and it can make the difference between agents who last one year and those who last 10+ years. The fact is that obtaining a real estate practicing license is relatively simple compared to other industries, but 87% of all new agents drop out within five years, indicating a lack of strategy or unmet expectations going into the job, particularly when agents are glamourized and often misrepresented on TV.
- Successful agents learn how to financially manage their job
Stemming on from the last point, one of the most common reasons why so many new agents drop out so quickly is simply that they run out of money. Many of them have migrated from other salaried careers to an industry where agents are mostly paid on commission, and the shift can be quite jarring, especially if they haven’t learnt how to financially plan ahead. Experts in the field strongly advise new entrants to create a budget early on and stick to that budget while their real estate career starts stabilizing. Successful agents also advise saving for taxes early on, avoiding the temptation to splurge early on in their career, as enticing as that can be, and even choosing investment options (like putting aside 10% in a retirement fund or buying real estate) as soon as they’re able to.
- Successful agents don’t only focus on selling
While closing deals can be the holy grail for many agents, successful agents know that they can’t spend all their time focusing on selling. They realize the value and importance of building and maintaining relationships, because any one of those contacts can become a lead or a reference later on, even years down the line. Successful agents take time to improve interpersonal skills that are crucial to helping people through an otherwise emotional journey as they search for a home. Whether it’s through face to face time or developing an online presence, being able to have a genuine connection with audiences will be worth it in the long run.
- Successful agents specialize in a niche
While there are successful agents who are capable of taking on a wide range of niches, most eventually decide on a specialty niche that sits right with them.
This gives them better positioning to serve a targeted audience who is looking for their specific experience and knowledge in the field, while also allowing the agent to stand apart from the pack. Being an expert in one or two niches also gives agents the opportunity to send a clear message about who they are, charge higher fees, replicate results and to scale business. Many agents go on to earn professional designations in their specific real estate niche as well, giving them an extra shot of professionalism and expertise; for example, C.T.S (Certified Tech Specialist for expertise in leveraging technology in real estate brokerage), or C.S.S. (Certified Seniors Specialist for expertise in serving the 55+ age group.
- Successful agents share their wins with their audience
Whether on their website, brochures or shared through their social media accounts, successful agents know that part of winning over audiences includes sharing their wins with them. This can be anything from sharing the news that they’ve won an industry award or closed a particularly anticipated sale. This lets people see their credentials and professional successes, but also gives them a chance to engage with the agent, because online audiences love to like and comment on good stories. It’s a great way for agents to stay connected with audiences and engage in meaningful dialogue that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with making a sale.
- Successful agents invest in a coach or mentor
Many successful agents credit their long careers to having a good mentor or coach to guide them in their career and consider it one of the best investments they ever made. Having a mentor or coach experienced in the field can yield many benefits: a source of motivation in what can feel like a draining career, someone to offer advice on tapping into new leads or share the latest updates and trends on the market. Coaching can help agents avoid costly mistakes and navigate their job with better financial decisions and planning, as well as how to scale their business in trackable and manageable ways.
- Successful agents always continue to learn
Veterans in the field actually credit a part of their success to taking the time to develop other skills for their career than just being in sell mode, such as learning how to write better copy or learning basic code to develop their website. Embracing an ‘always learning’ lifestyle helps agents adapt to what is now undeniably a digital world, making the most successful agents become digital agents on the job. They seek out the best third-party softwares to help them automate huge parts of their day to day processes, becoming more efficient in the process and freed up to spend more time relationship building or learning other skills to promote their brand, like photography or writing - all the while still keeping in touch with the human aspect of the job and meeting clients where they are.