Congratulations, you aced your real estate exam! You now know how to calculate an amortization schedule, regulations regarding signage on your broker’s brokerage’s door, and the difference between a sales associate and a REALTOR®. Seems to me like you’re ready to go out there and navigate the calm waters of the real estate world, friend!
ATTENTION: The above sentence is a grand example of absolute and utter sarcasm.
Make no mistake people, the pre-license course issued by your state taught you ONLY how to pass the real estate exam required by your state; nothing more, nothing less. From this point on, you begin learning what a real estate agent actually does day in, and day out.
This article by no means is going to be an exercise in hand holding for the new agents who decided to get a real estate license because they figured it’s “fast, easy money”. As a matter of fact, if that’s you, I urge you to relinquish these thoughts right here and now because neither one of those two adjectives apply to the money you might be making in your future. Thus, without further ado, here are the main steps to follow if you plan to not only survive your first year in real estate, but also thrive in the process!
1. Become and Remain 100% Focused on Your Career, and your Goals. (Mindset)
Go ahead and do me a quick favor, think back for a second and tell me how many times have you have asked advice from someone with a particular skill that you desired regarding how to attain said skill only to be met with a response similar to “just get up and do it.”. Naturally, your response is a subconscious eyeroll followed by my favorite fragmented rhetorical question in existence – “Really?…”.
See the issue with most of us these days, my early entrepreneurial self included, is that we are willing to work night and day searching for a magic pill to feed into our business plan that will provide maximum return with minimal work put in. However, asked to put that same effort level into good old fashioned, boots to the pavement hard work, and we tap out like Rhonda Rousey has us in an armbar. In other words, “Just get up and do it”! So here it is:
You need to fully understand that you CAN AND WILL BE SUCCESSFUL, but you have to dedicate yourself to your career every single moment of every day. If you become discouraged when you aren’t closing deals in the first few months, talk to other agents you meet. They’ll tell you that not only did they go through the same thing, but they maybe even had it worse. (Insert the old this is a marathon not a sprint cliche.)
To keep your mindset on track with your goals, make sure to surround yourself with as many positive things and people as possible, as well as making sure you spend a lot of time at your brokerage and around other successful agents-especially at first. It’s been said by wiser men than I that “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”, so find the 5 best agents in your office and start buying coffee for them, and shadowing them until the the restraining order goes into effect (kidding not kidding).
I recommend all new agents to read the book “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent” by Gary Keller, whose company Keller Williams Realty is a great example of real estate mastery. Click Here to sign up for a free trial at Amazon’s Audible and download the audiobook for free.
2. STICK OUT IN THE CROWD! (Branding)
Once you’ve thoroughly convinced yourself that not only is this what you want to do with your life, but that you could possibly kick
ass butt at it, start working on the one thing that will make prospective clients believe that as well; your brand.
There’s a who, what, when, where, why situation in every agents career, and the sooner you acknowledge and nurture those W’s, the more W’s you’ll rack up in the win column. Right now, we’ll go ahead and address the “who” in the room.
Branding yourself is what builds authority and recognition around your name and ultimately your abilities. So first, find out who you are, and what kind of agent you want to be. Are you going to be the cutthroat business shark, or the relatable cat lady who poses with her collection of kittens in every marketing piece? There literally is a segment of the population for any type of person/realtor you want to portray-just find one and milk it for all it’s worth.
Chew on this: Geico doesn’t make money by putting up billboards, If anything, that “costs” them millions of dollars a year. What it does is it solidifies their brand by ways of improving their brand recognition. Brand recognition leads to trust from consumers, and as a consequence, more sales. The lesson here is that the easier it is for someone to remember you, the more likely they are to trust you and what you claim you can do for them. For example, compare my regular photo below against my branded promo photo I use for social media.
Despite both painting me in a devastatingly handsome light, I know that users on social media are more likely to offer a glance at a photo than to read my bio. Which do you think will lead to better recognition of myself, The Cerra Team, and what it is that we do? Exactly.
My contact information is readily available which eliminates the risk of having the client second guess themselves while having to instead go to my facebook, find a link to my site, then hopefully find the contact us section and scan the page for my info.
3. INVEST IN MARKETING!!
Now that hopefully you listened to my advice and have worked diligently to build a bulletproof brand, it’s time to let that puppy run free all over the internet! #NoLeash
Notice, this section is on marketing but I only mentioned the internet. Clearly, there is a whole world of print and business to business (B2B) marketing out there, however, my domain is the internet, thus there too lives my expertise. Besides, it’s pretty common knowledge that the ROI (Return on investment) of online marketing is a lot higher than traditional marketing methods. It’s also a lot cheaper sooo….yeah, you first years, you’re welcome for keeping your budget low.
Before we get into how to bring clients your way through various effective methods, we need to make sure you have somewhere to bring these people to. Otherwise, it’s like somehow managing to get the hottest girl at the bar to come home with you, then realizing you sleep in your car-good luck. Which leads us to the first thing you need once you’ve ironed out your brand; a website.
A real estate Agents website needs to have three things to be successful. Those three things are as follows in order of importance. An IDX integration that allows users to log on and search MLS properties directly on your site, it needs to be heavily but tastefully branded throughout, and lastly, it needs to have plenty of calls to action (ex. “Click here to schedule a listing appointment”, “How much is your house worth? Click here to find out!”). After all, it’s not about getting people to the site, it’s about getting appointments and actually creating clients.
If you need help getting your website set up, go ahead and contact our friends over at Breeya Marketing Group. We have firsthand experience working with them and would definitely recommend them for any and all digital marketing needs.
Here are some options for you to consider. Go ahead and try them out and see what works best for you style and marketing plan:
- SOCIAL MEDIA (My Livelihood)
- Google Adwords
- Blogging (DUH)
- Comment Marketing
- Plug yourself into comments of
relevant topics and conversations.
- Plug yourself into comments of
4. Find your Niche! (Specialization)
Most people believe being a real estate agent is simply selling house-that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m gonna introduce you to a few different options, some of which you may be familiar with, others which may be brand new. Check it out:
Focuses primarily on the sale and rental of residential homes. Single Family homes, townhomes, and condominiums are purchased usually with loans from a bank.
Benefits: The sector isn’t particularly cutthroat and the process can be pretty straightforward for the most part. It is easier to find leads for this sector since it includes family and friends who may be looking to purchase or sell their homes.
Cons: Most of the deals involve financing which can be a terrible experience if your buyer is not working with a quality mortgage company and competent Loan Originator. Common issues are files falling through over insufficient appraisals, inability to be approved for a loan deep into the process.
Focuses primarily on the sale and rental of commercial properties. Multi-unit apartment complexes, warehouses, retail spaces, etc. are common property types.
Benefits: Being that it’s dealing with high-priced commercial buildings and subsequent high lease rates, a commercial agent can make a very nice living selling multi-million dollar properties, and leasing specialty spaces that can sometimes go for high 5 figure amounts.
Cons: It is a proverbial shark tank filled with savvy businessmen and women who look at any opportunity to take any money on the table (whether theirs or not) as a good business decision and react with their wallet rather than emotions.
Focuses primarily on the acquisition and disposition of investment properties. Requires a very particular set of skills to calculate things such as NOI, cap rates, rehab requirements, rehab costs, rehab returns, etc.
Benefits: These deals are usually all cash which means the deal can progress from contract to closing within 1-2 weeks rather than the months it can take to close residential deals. Also, taking into account the process of wholesaling which we cover in our investment section, there is the possibility to make A LOT of money in a short time with minimal risk.
Cons: Your investor puts a lot of trust in you when you tell them a certain property is a winner and you’re right, you’re a hero. When you’re wrong, you will lose a client almost every single time. In other words, it takes an insane amount of knowledge on very particular information, and a huge network of bird dogs (property finders) to be a good investor’s agent.
5. Your Network is your Net Worth! (Gale Porter)
The last step we’ll address is the fact that this business, more than probably any other industry, is more about who you know rather than what. Make sure you take every opportunity to expand your network because every single one of your colleagues, neighbors, friends, family, pets, are a potential lead source. Find your strength quickly (step 4) and pitch yourself as an expert in that field.
Talking to new agents is a great and usually ignored way to find leads. Even the newest of agents is likely to stumble upon leads at first just from friends, family, and co-workers. However, sometimes they still feel they do not have the knowledge or experience to actually handle the process of selling a house to a client (refer to the opening paragraph of this article). This is a great way to say, “hey, Let’s split that lead 50/50 and I’ll help walk you through the process”. Of course, the way you did this was you never let anyone know that you don’t know what you’re doing. See, there’s a little bitch of a catch 22 going on in sales and this is it; you can’t get clients without experience, but you can’t get experience without clients. The answer to this, however, is surprisingly simple; FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT!!!
Now, here are a few ways that I used to build my network that I think will be helpful to you:
- Go to any and all industry seminars
- This is a great way to not only learn about your industry, but team up with other agents or mortgage brokers that maybe only work a specific part of the industry (see step 4) and might want to send you leads. For example, I rarely handle rental leads and usually give them out to my closer friends and colleagues.
- Go to parties/get togethers from any company who invites you.
- Real Estate companies will throw quarterly, or holiday parties and usually allow anyone to come as a way to bring exposure to their brand. This is a great way to mingle with investors and other resourceful people that particular company has amassed. Sounds a little shady, but those people have no idea if you work for that company and will usually spill some info that is really beneficial to you.
- Add pretty much everyone on social media.
- Can’t go wrong, facebook limits your requests so be careful, but otherwise, go nuts.
- Attend classes at your local board of Realtors.
- These are young hungry agents usually still caught up in the initial excitement of getting their license. If you have a plan for getting leads that involved a lot of grunt work, these are great people to partner with since they are just glad to be doing anything real estate with any sort of positive outlook. Again, sounds shady, but it’s the world we live in. Dog eat dog, you get it.