102 Steps | How to Be a Successful Real Estate Agent [Comprehensive Guide]
Congratulations. You either are a real estate agent looking to grow your business, or you are wanting to become a real estate agent who is successful. You are already ahead of many others because you are clearly interested in becoming the best or you wouldn’t have clicked through to this article.
Table of Contents
This guide is intended to give you some simple steps as well as comprehensive information on what it truly takes to become a successful real estate agent. ALL of the steps are important although the weight of importance may vary. You are cautioned not to skip the hard stuff. That is what the agents do that fail out in 2 or 3 years. That’s not you, clearly.
This list of top strategies of a successful real estate agent will propel you forward, give you a foundation to build on, and can be your guide as you grow. You’ll notice the list begins with mindset and discipline before action steps. This is on purpose. The action steps mean nothing if you don’t understand what the goal is, and what achieving it will do for you.
That comes first. Be on purpose with your business.
1. Define success
The definition for Success online includes some of the following: – the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. – the attainment of popularity or profit. – the outcome of an undertaking, specified as achieving or failing to achieve its aims.
While these are great definitions, I’m not sure a dictionary can truly define success in a blanket description. For some it’s money. For others, it’s freedom. For many, it’s passive income. While there can be a combination, it’s your definition that matters.
For me: Success is doing what I love, in an environment, I love, that funds a life I love and supports the people I love.
Your definition here is key. It’s your scoreboard. How do you know if you win? If you allow the industry, or social media, or motivational speakers to define success as they see it, you may never find that win for you personally. Determine what it is for you, put it in a statement, on your coffee mug, and hang it on your wall.
Put it on your computer, and anywhere else you need to see it visually to keep you motivated.
2. Choose a School
This shouldn’t be too complicated. Find out first what your state requires. How much training needs to be live and how much online is permitted. Choose the location (physical and digital) that works for you and enroll. Where you go to school should have no bearing on the brokerage you choose to hang your license with although many brokerages do have them.
3. Choose a Brokerage
One of the most important decisions you will make in your career is which real estate company you want to join. The brokerage you hang your license with is more than just a brand. It will determine how much money you keep, add a culture of success, or be a drain on the positive energy required to be successful.
Don’t just pick a company because that’s where you went to school, or it’s close to your house, or because a friend is there. Do your research and make sure that brand and culture, as well as their economic model, is right for you.
4. Get Licensed
You’ll need to go through the proper steps for your location to get a license. You’ll complete class requirements, fingerprints and background checks (where required), and testing. There will be costs involved, so be sure to check with your local division and be prepared for these costs along the way.
In Nevada, It’s probably going to cost around $1,500 – $2,000 altogether although it won’t be payable all at once. Joining the local real estate division, license processing, schooling, fingerprinting, and background checks are part of the fees.
5. Join the National Association of Realtors®
Joining NAR is not a requirement. You do not have to become a designated REALTOR®. That being said, many brokerages require it. You also may be required to be a member to access your MLS login and digital keys to access properties.
The Millionaire Real Estate Agent (MREA) is a comprehensive guide on growing a real estate business that earns you a million dollars and more. The concept is learning the mindset, models, activities, and leverage required to build a top-performing real estate team that eventually allows you to eventually move out of the day-to-day operations earning a passive income.
7. Identify your Big Why (Purpose)
A big Why, simply put, is your purpose for building your business. It’s not about something that inspires you. It’s about something that will get you through the painful and tough times and you won’t quit. While it doesn’t have to be “grandiose”, it must be something that fires you up, brings you to tears, or simply “completes you”. It’s that thing that you can reach down into your core and pull out every time things get hard.
My Big why is to have all of my family in one place. We want to be together by choice. And we want to move to a place of choice that we all agree upon. My why is to be a matriarch for our family, the leader. I want to provide opportunities for adults that can then improve the lives of their children. I want the siblings and I to all sit out on decks together and laugh and tell stories of our childhood. I want to be each other’s rock.
I want to be the “little bit crazy” but wonderful Aunt and Grandmother that the babies and kids race to for comfort, and stories, and treasures. They know AuntGrandma will always be there for them, judgment-free. Their lives, Their Choices.
I want to build passive income not just for me, but for my family. Bringing my family into the fold of our empire is the beginning. Next, we build wealth, together.
We will have a place by the ocean and a Christmas House in the mountains where we all gather for special times. And we will live with the spirit of the Christmas House in us year-round as we DRIVE HARD to achieve the opportunity to celebrate in it again on the next holiday.
The ‘Family Fund” is compiled year-round and funds vacations, and special occasions like weddings, new babies, and whatever else appears. This fund is built from designated profits from the empire.
8. Choose a Phone Number, URL (.com), and email you will use for your Business
Most people don’t think about this in the beginning when starting a real estate business. Do you really want your personal cell phone on your yard signs and business cards?
Do you want to be able to be reached everywhere, every minute of the day without the ability to screen your calls or provide some other sort of customer assistance that isn’t you? What about when your business grows to the point of having buyer specialists?
How will your cell phone number work then? With today’s technology, you can register a phone number to use for marketing and have it forwarded wherever you like and to whomever you like.
When considering your URL (website address), you’ll want to choose something memorable, short, and that looks great on an email. You know that annoying moment when someone at the check stand asks “What’s your best email?” and you rattle it off having to spell out every letter?
That’s annoying and you will be doing this a lot. Keep it short and simple. A professional .com and email vs. an @gmail or @yahoo address will appear more professional although you may have better reasons for using them.
Also, don’t put a ceiling on the growth potential of your URL? Does it grow with you if you build a team? If you expand to another area can you build around this domain or onto this domain? (Refer to the branding portion in this guide for more)
9. Create your MVVBP
Knowing your Mission, Vision, Values, and Beliefs now will help you attract talent later, when you grow beyond the beginnings, and begin to elevate your success through the levels of business, at which point you will be growing exponentially.
For example, in real estate, someday you will probably hit a ceiling of achievement. You are human after all, and can only do so much. If you are lead generating, and working with buyers and sellers, and doing all of the administrative work, you will max out at a certain number of deals per year. So, your next step will be to grow and to hire.
And that’s where the solid foundation of your Mission, Vision, Values, Beliefs, and Brand will fully come to focus and help you build your brand without effort or trouble.
Cast your vision early and often with people who care and with people you care about (team, family, peers). It’s good for you to say it, feel it, and put the energy in the universe. It’s good for them to hear it. When people care about the goal, support you, and also understand how it directly benefits them, they will be more likely to get behind your work efforts.
In addition, when you share your goals with others, in a way that helps them achieve your goals, they will hold you accountable. For example, tell your child “If Mommy takes a listing this month, we will go to the waterpark” (or bigger 5 listings = Disneyland!”. That child will be asking you every day if you got a listing! (Now, don’t go disappointing them! If you say you are going to do it, be a good example and DO IT!)
11. Determine your brand, business name, and how it will grow
Your brands should have a distinct “feel”, “flavor”, and “energy”. Have you ever seen a website and immediately thought that business was “low end”, or the opposite? Did you find a website that was clearly a luxury brand? This is all done in the colors, styling, logos, and in the name. You’ll be investing in a lot of products that require this branding and won’t want to change it often down the road. Take the time now to decide who you want to be as a brand.
12. Be sure you have all appropriate licenses. Certain states my require various business licenses on top of a real estate license.
In Nevada, your real estate license is not enough. You also are required to have a City and/or County business license depending on your office location and where you do business. Check with your local division on the requirements in your state. If you need guidance and have not yet chosen a brokerage, message me and I can make the appropriate connections to have a KW office in your area contact you to help you on your way.
13. Be Willing
Be willing to go the extra mile, do more than you think it will take, and be willing to do more than what others will do because that is exactly what it’s going to take to succeed in real estate.
14. Make a list of your standards
Standards are “policy”. They are your non-negotiable way of doing business. From day one, it’s a good idea to have a written standard on how you will do business. This can be extended as you grow. The truth is, your standards are formed by what you regularly tolerate from yourself and others. Hold those standards high.
When responding to Thank You, we will always say “My Pleasure”
After a conversation with a client, we will email a recap and follow up steps
At the closing, it is standard to request a review
We always present a “Welcome Home Guide” at the first meeting
Everyone shows up ready to perform at 9am
At the end of every conversation, I will thank them for trusting me.
15. Pick a Calendar to “live by”
This may sound like a simple task, but it’s not. Many of us use multiple calendars from paper to digital. Some don’t use a real calendar at all. Let me help you here. A post-it note is not a calendared event. The best way to start your business is to remember a couple of things.
If it doesn’t exist on your calendar, it’s not a commitment.
and If you erase, you must replace.
Your calendar can be your icalendar (which is great when sharing with other users or devices), a Google Calendar, a planner, or anything else you will use all day for scheduling important events.
16. Learn How a Real Estate Agent Gets Paid
Most of the time, Real Estate Agents get paid on commission. When representing a buyer or a seller, the agent will have an agreement that both parties sign agreeing to a certain amount of commission.
In most cases, the seller of a property will agree to a co-broker agreement which offers the buyers side of the transaction a certain percentage of the sales price. The buyer’s representative may then decide to not ask for any additional compensation since he or she is then paid by the listing broker.
The math would look something like this:
A seller hires a listing agent to sell his property. In the listing agreement, the listing broker/agent is getting paid a total of 6% when the property closes. It is agreed between the seller and the listing agent that 3% will be offered to the buyer’s agent.
The House sells for $600,000. The total Commission the Seller agreed to pay is 6%.
$600,000 X .06 = $24,000 of which $12,000 will go to the listing agent and $12,000 would go to the buyer’s broker/agent.
Depending on your brokerage model, you may pay a percentage of your sale to your broker. Typically, brokerages will charge a per-transaction fee or a percentage of the transaction. Some real estate companies have a “cap” which means once you pay in a certain amount, you keep the rest until a certain date at which time your fees will begin again. Most work from a 12-month cycle.
If your real estate company is a national franchise, you may also pay a franchise fee.
There are some companies or teams that offer a salary or a draw, yet this is not the norm. Commissions are those of high risk, high reward. The risk comes in the form of no guaranteed income. As a real estate agent, it’s up to you to earn your income. As with any business, your income will be in direct proportion to how you lead generate and work your business.
It’s important to note that sums of money are exchanged from broker to broker. Each office will send distribution checks after the closing process. Your office will then distribute your monies after they take any fees owed to them. You will be responsible for your own taxes.
If you are building a real estate business, do yourself a favor and read MREA, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. The more you learn about a real estate agent’s business model, expenses, profit and loss sheets, and growth, the more empowered you will be to succeed in your real estate career.
17. Write out your goals for the current year
Goals should include Financial, Physical, Spiritual, Mental, and Emotional. It’s important to set and achieve goals around all of the important areas of your life. If one area is being neglected, it will pull down the other areas. There’s no such thing as balance. At no time will all of these areas be equal at the same time. You will always give more energy to one at a particular time. The key is the counterbalance. You must come back to each area and then counterbalance by giving it more attention possibly than the others.
The goal is to create your Annual Goals, Monthly Goals, and Weekly Goals. Your Annual goals should be the “Big Rock” for each section. The 411 is not a “to-do list”, it’s a “ta-da” list. Focus on the actions specifically that achieve the goals. (Production: appointments, buyers, escrows, listings, closings).
Breaking down a goal is key to achieving it. If you don’t know how to get there, you won’t. Would you drive anywhere without directions?
Let’s say you’d like to close 24 transactions in a year. We know that you have already defined your Big Why, which is the purpose that will propel you through the activities when they get painful. And you’ve already set your financial goals based on around how an agent gets paid. (If not, scroll back up to the table of contents and re-visit these.)
Let’s say you have a fallout rate of 10%. You know that of all your listings and escrows that go to contract, 90% close. Then to get to 24 closings, you would need 26.4 contracts. Let’s round up to 27.
Let’s say that 90% of your buyer and seller meetings become a contract. We know from the math above, you’d need 27 contracts to get to 24 closings. So in order to get to 27 contracts, if 90% of appointments become a contract, you’d need 30 appointments.
Annual Goal: 24 Closings Monthly Goal: 2.25 contracts per month (Best to round up on the prime season and round down during holidays) Weekly Goal: 1 Appointment every OTHER week. (Sounds pretty easy right?)
You can’t really control Closings, or even Contracts other than with your diligence and scripts. What you can control is creating appointments. Yet the domino here, the one thing that such by doing makes everything else less important is: LEADS.
You’ll now need to look at your lead generation model to determine how many leads and from what sources will you bring in in order to get those 30 appointments?
Example: You are a prospector who dials expired listings every day. Out of every 100 dials, let’s say 2 become a contact. Out of 20 contacts, maybe you prove that one becomes a listing. (5%) Then if 10 of your 24 closings are going to be listings, you’d need 200 contacts that year to get 10 listings. 200/52 =3.85 contacts a week which would take about 200 dials based on this math.
So the domino, the ONE thing that matters most to get to those closed listings, is DIALS. It’s the one thing you can control and measure. Now, if you are better at scripts and handling objects, and your conversion numbers are higher, then you would achieve more contacts and appointments from those dials.
Whatever the goal, as long as you track the activities and results, you can achieve and GROW your goals.
Note: Very few agents take the time to set the goals, create the actions, and then MEASURE the activities (such as how many dials). If you don’t know your conversion rates, you will be guessing. You can’t scale your business on guesses.
Organizational Model (How you grow through Leverage
Tip: Get a 3 ring binder. Make copies of the PDF sheets. Have pencils and a lot of erasers. Tab each model with a divider. Create your models, check them often. Adjust until you really learn how to work them. Once you have them down, you won’t probably want to adjust during a year.
(There are electronic versions on the web as well as paid software to work the models)
19. Calendar your Work Out Schedule. Commit.
Whether it’s an hour a day, or 30 minutes 3 days a week, you want to commit to your health and fitness in order to keep up your energies for your work schedule. Burnout happens gradually and then suddenly. All too often does a busy real estate agent throw out their back, or find themselves with a kinked up neck, or 20 extra pounds from the office lunch and learns which leave them feeling sluggish. The sooner you implement a fitness plan, and calendar it, the better. Make sure this is part of your 411.
20. Calendar out your Vacation Days. Commit.
Time off is incredibly important for your energy. You must recharge your battery. Working is for nothing if you aren’t enjoying life. Calendar out your vacation time and holiday schedule in advance. Don’t trade it in. Remember to add in a few days in the 4th quarter for a “retreat” or business planning time for the next year. Many top agents like to make this “time away” as well.
21. Calendar your lead generation hours. Commit.
You must determine and commit to your lead generation hours. These should be no less than 3 hours a day. If you are going to lead generate from 8-11 every day, calendar it. Hold the time accountable for lead generation only. Avoid the office coffee machine. Prepare 15 minutes prior and be ready to do actual lead gen for those 3 hours. Know your goals for those 3 hours and at the end of that time, check in to see if you achieved it.
These would be things like dials, contacts, appointments, leads, etc.
22. Select a Podcast or Video Channel of success you want to follow. Calendar your time to watch/listen. Commit.
Mindset is key to a positive day. Plugging into success is an activity you can do that is low stress, free, not physical, and yet can have the biggest impact on your day. Choose another real estate agent, or a channel that interviews top agents, and mix it up with speakers such as Tony Robbins or Gary Vaynerchuck.
By my own definition, I consider myself a success. I’m also a person that comes from a long line of clinical depression and suicide. While I’m an incredibly self-motivated person (I never need motivating), I also sometimes wake up in a “dark” mood. For me, turning on this kind of video on my phone before I step foot onto the carpet, can be just the mood elevator I need.
I also reserve “hair and makeup” time for instructional videos or training I can listen to while I get ready for the day. Imagine the scripts you can learn if you played one each day while you get ready for your day, or in your car on the way to and from work.
23. Choose a Specialty and begin mastery
Let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to get a real estate license. And it doesn’t take much to keep one either. Most agents settle into “jack of all trades” status and never zero in on something they can specialize in.
When you become a specialist, you can still handle all real estate, yet that specialty can open a world bigger than you can imagine. Most agents could do more business in one specialty than they are doing across the board being an agent of all things. There are designations and training on all kinds of specialties.
First Time Home Buyers
Senior Real Estate Specialist
Internet Marketing Specialist
Geographic Location Specialists
Historic Home Specialist
24. Avoid Loans, Credit Cards and E-Commissions
Other than an emergency situation, e-commissions are deadly. If you are using loans, credit cards, or advances to operate your business based on lack of enough business, you are headed down a slippery slope hard to recover from. The best businesses are operated from revenue. Earn First, Spend later.
Many agents work to “buy their business” rather than “earn their business” buying web leads from portals, or spending marketing dollars on direct mail (without realizing it could take months or years or never to return on the investment). Agents buy Facebook Ads because they hear a great story about how they work, yet they haven’t yet invested any time into their own social strategies that don’t have a hard cost.
25. Determine and Set Reserves
Most suggest having 3-6 months of operating expenses in a reserve account. Determine what it costs you to do business each month and this money in the bank at all times in order to create a proper foundation. This money should be emergency, or on hand in a market shift, or when a personal crisis occurs that changes your ability to earn income in your business.
26. Determine 3 lead sources you will focus on generating leads from
Most top producers have 2 or 3 main sources of leads. While every business has a handful or two, most have 2 or 3 that rise to the top.
This can be a mentor, coach, husband or wife, business partner, friend, colleague. I think a colleague, mentor, or coach, or in-office leader is best. Someone that cares about your success and will be interested is ideal. The key is really that they are asking you a few questions:
What were you trying to do this week?
How did you do?
How do feel about that?
What needs to happen next?
What resources do you need?
The 411 is more about self-discovery. It’s for you to realize how you did with your goals, how you feel about it, and how you need to adjust (or celebrate ).
28. Hire a coach as soon as your business will allow
I’m not a supporter of putting investments on credit cards unless you can pay them off at the end of the month. Others might disagree. I say, as soon as you can legitimately add a coach to your budget, is when you add one. Some would say, “Yes, but a coach is there to bring you to the next level which you haven’t earned yet”.
OK, then you’d have to be willing to sacrifice something else on your budget if you didn’t see results for a while with your coach. In general, a coach should help bring you up to the activities that will, in fact, directly relate to sales which will increase your budget that affords the coach.
29. Attend Bold*
Before I was even licensed, I was “dragged” (willingly) into an aggressive 10-week training program for real estate agents. We were divided into teams and told “3 strikes, and you are out”. My competitive nature drove me to outperform and our team took the trophy. What I walked away with though was confidence, skills, accountability partners, scripts, the right mindset, and more. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Mine wasn’t Bold as I wasn’t part of Keller Williams just yet, but Bold offers a very successful, motivational seasonal program that comes to your area called BOLD.
30. Choose a Mentor
A mentor is someone you look up to that has something you want. Maybe they specialize in what you specialize in, or are a great listing agent, a top producer, a leader. Look around and find someone in your office that you can learn from. Whenever they will let you, ask them if you can shadow them (quietly), sit at an open house, or an agent team meeting. Take them to lunch. Get friendly.
When a mentor invests in you, return the time investment with more than appreciation. Do what they suggest. Learn and Succeed. They want to see that more than anything. If you choose someone not local, be prepared for special time blocking. Maybe you are just going to follow them (stalker style) and learn from them. That’ OK too. Find people you look up to. Be a good follower.
31. Choose an Accountant
Oh, mercy! The stories I could tell you about taxes. Find a CPA that knows the real estate industry. Get set up correctly out of the gate (sole proprietor, LLC, Corp) or whatever fits your business. Speak with your accountant about how you will keep your books. Simple spreadsheet? App? Quickbooks? Your accountant is not a bookkeeper. That will have to be done by someone you hire, or by yourself.
32. Look into needed systems
As you grow, you’ll grow into more systems. In the beginning, think of having systems for some of the following:
A CRM is your customer relationship manager. It’s exactly that. It’s a system that manages your client communication. From birthday reminders to email campaigns, your database is the most valuable thing you own. Do some good research, because moving databases later can be a pain.
Ballen Brands, my marketing company builds real estate platforms and funnels through Infusionsoft. If you are looking for a robust solution, that has “if this, then that” thinking, integrates with dialers and text, has multi-user options, lead tracking and pipeline reporting, and more, this might be a solution for you.
A Scoring System
As you get busier in your new real estate career, you will find it more challenging to do things like this. Having the discipline to communicate with your database will be the difference between you launching a high-profit business out of the gate, rather than staying the struggling rookie. Have a basic system for rating your contacts and clients. We like to see who our top referring contacts and top clients for income are at a glance.
Our system is simple. Each time someone does a real estate transaction with us, our earned commission gets added to their score. Let’s say we close a $200,000 home with them earning a $6000 commission.
They would now have a score of 6000. The next year they send us a referral and we earn another $6000, their score now becomes 12,000 (the new buyer or seller they referred gets the same score of 6000). This continues as long as they refer or do business. Then, we group our contacts by a score range so we always know which of our contacts are Platinum and VIP. We believe that Platinum and VIP contacts should be rewarded extra throughout the year.
34. Begin a basic spreadsheet to Serve as a Profit and Loss Statement and one for your budget
Bookmark this post as I’m going to come back and add a couple of tools for you. In the meantime, scroll back up to models, and access the MREA business plan and review the budget model as it explains standard costs in real estate.
35. Enroll in MLS classes with your local board
You’ll want to be a master of the MLS software you’ll use to send customers’ property alerts, create CMA’s, find stats for your real estate reports, and more. The more you know how to use the tools, the better serve you’ll be able to provide to your clients.
36. Learn your contracts inside and out
I can’t speak for all brokerages, but I can tell you that our office, here in Las Vegas at Keller Williams, holds contract classes all month in addition to other classes. The more you know, the better you protect your client AND yourself. It’s worth the time to learn every line.
37. Learn how your office requires documentation and processes payments.
The last thing you want is for your commission check to be held up because you didn’t learn how to process paperwork the way your office wants it. Every brokerage is different. With technology today, there’s a lot to learn about this process. Plug in quickly and learn how your office wants it done. Some offices offer a contract to close transaction coordinator that can do some of the work for you for a nominal fee. Be careful! $500 doesn’t sound like so much, but if your commission is $5,000 that’s 10% of your earnings. Did you budget for that? That being said, the sooner you can walk away from all things administrative, the better. Just make sure you budget for it.
38. Attend in office training’s as often as possible
If your office provides training, be there. Especially during the first year or two. Every transaction you do will be different and you are going to need the right mindset and training to handle each obstacle as it appears. Some companies will bring in trainers from other areas of the nation (or the world even) to bring their expertise. I’m often invited into other offices to present blogging, or website lead generation class. If they don’t offer it, be sure to jump on Youtube and get on planes when it makes sense. Top producers never stop learning.
39. Study your Fair Housing Regulations
Protect your ASSets. 😚 Know what you can say, and can’t say! “Family Home, Walking Distance, No Children” are all words that can get you in trouble.
40. Choose a Website
If you want a website that serves purely as a “calling card” to showcase your brand, reviews, and services, a brokerage provided or “leased” website might be fine. If you are going to want something you own, that can change brokerages with you, that has unlimited growth potential, IDX listings and home value offers, A search engine ranking foundation, and so forth, you might want to look deeper into some of the Best Real Estate Agent Websites provided today.
41. Set up Your Social Channels
Keep your business name, address, and phone consistent across your channels. Include a business bio, photos, and video on each where applicable. These social icons will be added to your website, emails, and so forth.
Business accounts should be set up on the following channels and then some
42. Join every agent to agent referral group you can online
Get active on social media. Referrals from channels like Facebook are huge. In fact, more than half of our Las Vegas real estate business comes from this exact source.
43. Create a YouTube Channel
Even if you don’t know what to do with it just yet, set up a YouTube Channel and Name it like you did your other social channels.
When you create a FB live video, download it and upload it to Youtube.
44. Set up your local Google My Business Page
A great place to “house” your reviews is on Google Plus. You’ll need to set up your Google My Business page to do so. This can also help you rank on the search engines.
45. Get your Business Cards
Name, Address, Phone, Email, Website are all “must-haves”. Images are optional, although a logo or image is advised. Broker licensing requirements must be added (check with your broker). Social Icons are kind of silly since they can’t be clicked, but social icons with short URL’s so someone can find you on FB or LinkedIn or Twitter or Snapchat, or where you are. Keep in mind that if you create a business card larger than a pocket, it’s likely to wind up in a trash can.
46. Get a Name Tag, Hat, Shirts etc. showcasing your Brand
When you are first getting going with your real estate business, meeting new leads will be your top focus. A great free way to generate conversation around real estate is through wearing your name tag to the grocery store, or ball cap with your company name on it to your kid’s softball game, or a monogrammed t-shirt, polo, or blouse to the salon. Car magnets might also be something you want to consider. Be careful when you design. Too much text gets small really quickly. Be sure your brokerage requirements are always met and your name, phone, and .com address are obvious!
47. Select your Listing Presentation: Prepare, Produce, Present
Know your Market (Data), Know how to Price a Property to sell (Data, Product, Presentation, Scripts), Know how to handle objections (Scripts), Know how to close (Scripts).
48. Build a Buyer Presentation
So many agents skip the buyer presentation. Why would you not present to a buyer the way you would to a seller? You might even have to work harder to secure a relationship with a buyer, since they can use anyone they want at probably no additional charge. They can have a dozen agents running them around and only pay one. This isn’t the case with a seller, yet so many only focus on the seller presentation.
Adopt a buyer presentation and decide how and when you will use it. You could decide to have every buyer meet you in the office first. (Be prepared for a lot of pushback and be ready to present value). You might decide to present after meeting and showing one property, or at the end of the first showing day. It’s yours to decide. It’s best to create a standard for your buyer presentation with the when, where, and how being consistent.
Here’s one I had the pleasure of learning by.
49. Order Open House Signs and Listing Yard Signs
A simple Google search will lead you to many sign vendors. In the beginning, you may go basic and work your way up into larger, sturdier, and better quality overall. You might even have special designs created over time. It’s OK, signs get beat up. You won’t have them forever.
They will get stolen probably at some point as it is a fun hobby for people to pick up the open house signs along the road. Watch out for the homeowner’s associations’ regulations. Not following their rules is a quick way to “get your sign stolen”.
Many don’t even realize it was the HOA. Make sure to follow all licensing regulations on your sign (check with your broker). Name, Phone, and .com should be obvious. Don’t forget to alternate directional arrows when you create your open house signs. You don’t want a 2 sided sign pointing in the wrong directions! (One sends them left, the other sends them right 🔁!)
50. Avoid Negative People
One of my friends, Ben Kinney, calls these types of people “Time Sucks”. The ones that will rope you into their conversations of needs, wants, and complaints. You don’t need that kind of energy in your life and in your business. Walk away.
51. Choose role play partners and begin script practice
With technology now, your role play partners don’t have to be in the same room, building, state, or even country! You can simply log in to a social or meeting platform and practice your scripts. Look for other agents or agent groups (such as ISA (Inside Sales Agent) hang outs) to learn more about prospecting, listing objections, asking for referrals and so forth. The more you practice, the better you get. The better you get, the more you’ll get!
52. Send out an Introductory Letter to your Database
Let people know you are in real estate, who you are associated with, why you chose that brokerage and how that benefits THEM when they do business with you. Include your Logo, Slogan, MVVBP (or at least mission or vision statement), your services, and how they can find you. Be prepared to follow up. This is just the beginning
53. Learn your market by previewing home listings
The best agents know their market. They have learned the neighborhoods by name, know the builders and floorplans, what is for sale and what has sold, and why This house sold for more than That house even though they were the same size. In a limited inventory market, it’s very important to get out there fast, preview a listing, and alert your buyers. If you are in a market with new construction, creating relationships with the home builders is key. Know the models, prices, incentives, and quick move in’s.
54. Study the local market numbers
Although these will change from one neighborhood to other, A great agent should know simple things for their general market like:
Median sales price (the weighted average removing the higest and lowest sale prices).
Average days on market
Total months of inventory (dictating buyer or seller market)
Original list price to Close Price Ratio
55. Decide where and How you will Collect Agent Reviews
Look. We all like a pat on the back, don’t we? A high five. A “Job well done!”. But in business, these kudos can go a lot further than a feel-good warm fuzzy – especially when it comes to real estate agent reviews.
In fact, in today’s business, the ratings, reviews, testimonials, and referrals we receive from our clients are as good as gold. The best advertising is word of mouth, right? Now, the Internet has also caught on to the power of reviews, spawning a slew of review websites, social network review functionality for business pages, and even a boost of authority in search engine rankings!
56. Build a List of Preferred Vendors
Time to start interviewing. Pull those business cards and flyers down from the office shelves, grab the digital details, and start forming relationships with vendors. I’ll caution you to not ever just suggest one or you could be liable for damages resulting in that vendor’s actions. A top 3 in each category might be a good start.
Real Estate Attorney’s
Handymen (and women)
Pool Service and Repair
It’s also a good idea to have a home buyers guide with a utility list on hand. This should include the steps to buying a house, what they need to know about preapproval and mortgage, to home tour and selection, to offers and negotiation, to escrow, to inspections, to Home Owner’s Associations (HOA’s) to closing costs.
57. Learn How to Hold an Open House
There’s not a wrong way to do an open house. There is always, however, a better way.
In real estate every opportunity you can find for a business opportunity is a good opportunity. When it comes to holding an open house, there are quite a few ways to make the coming and going of potential customers business opportunities.
For starters, as a Real Estate Agent you should be aiming to hold open houses every weekend. This keeps your name active and gives you a chance to build a great list. When holding the open houses one of the biggest complaints Realtors® often have is that they have a hard time getting the visitors to sign their welcome log. There are a couple of cute ideas you can try to get names on your list.
One idea is to make up treat bags, kind of like a kids birthday party treat bag. Instead of putting candy and toys in the bags, fill the bag with a small notepad with your name and number on it, a pencil with your company engraved on it, and a little magnetic calendar with your picture and info printed on it.
Close the bags up with a little ribbon tied together with your business card and as you are handing it to them have them sign your list. Make sure to follow up with a thank-you note. Those who have tried this business method report that they are getting six out of seven fresh names each weekend. Out of those six to seven names, a decent amount of them ends up being buyers. That makes this method worth trying.
Open Houses Signs at every corner!
58. Hold an Open House Accountable
Once you’ve learned how to hold an open house, you’ll want to hold it accountable. Again, it’s back to math.
Out of X visitors, I expect Y to become a contact and Z to become an appointment.
Interview as many agents as you can that you know hold open houses. Get their numbers to the best they can account for. They may not have exact numbers, but you can create an average out of all the estimates.
If their kind of marketing, which you are repeating generates 50 people through the house on a good Saturday, and 25 sign in (contacts), and 2 become an appointment, you will now know how to set goals on your open house and hold it accountable. If you get 50 people through, and only 10 sign in, you may have a problem with your open house sign-in process.
If you get 25 sign in’s and no appointments, you probably need more script practice on setting appointments.
If you don’t get 50 people in, you probably missed something in your marketing.
Remember, goals are created by simple math and the activities to achieve them. There’s a model everywhere you look for one. Find someone doing it at a high level, model it, hold your actions accountable for results.
59. Learn How to Handle Appraisals and INSPECTION Negotiations at the highest level.
The more you know about these topics, the more closings you will have. I have found that the best real estate agents are problem solvers. They can predict a problem quite often and hit it on the head before it becomes a monster. Many experts have mastered the appraisal process, not doing appraisals themselves, but knowing how to handle the appraisal situation from start to finish.
Inspections can often be a sore spot as well. You want to protect your buyer and seller yet be proactive at creating solutions along the way. 2 agents who come together with a common goal (to close the deal) can often come up with a win-win comprise that will move everyone forward.
60. Choose a Geographic Farm
An old tried and true lead generation strategy for the real estate industry is known as geographic farming. It’s the practice of consistent direct mail, pop-by visits, sponsorships, and events.
It’s important to know that geographic farming can take years. Most real estate agents burn out or go broke trying to work a farm, so know what you are getting into before you commit.
Best Farming Practices
Once a month newsletter about the community (non real estate) and home price/sales
Just Listed/Just Sold Postcards every time you do business in the farm
Seasonal Pop By visits. Could be once a quarter and include gifts such as pumpkins, batteries for the smoke detectors, spring flower seeds, a new calendar, etc.
Sponsor a local sports team like a little league team
Hold a VIP holiday party or spring fling. Renting out a movie theater is a very popular farming activity.
61. Learn how to price a Listing Properly
The seller does not set the price, the Realtor® does not set the price. The market sets the price.
63. Determine your marketing plan and create a budget accordingly
Put in simple math, 10-15% of your Commission should be spent on marketing.
Let’s say, you are going to sell 24 houses. The median price range in your market is $300,000. Although no commissions in any market are “standard”, you expect to make around $200,000. If you used the 10% model, you should be spending $20,000 on marketing for that year. Break that down monthly, and it’s about $1,650 a month. It’s another Chicken and Egg thing where you need to spend money to make money, but the money isn’t there yet to spend. Tricky, I know.
If you are spending less than $20,000, you either have a cheap lead source or aren’t spending enough to get the leads you need to reach the 24 closings. If you are spending more than $20,000 and don’t have more closings, you might have a lead source that is costing you more than it’s worth. Time to drill down.
A Marketing Plan should include a budgeted mix of lead generation strategies [Read More].
64. Provide Exemplary Service
Want to get clients singing your praises and sending you referrals? Don’t just open doors and negotiate. Go beyond. Think about what you can do that would make the process smoother. Have water in your car in an ice chest on a hot day home tour. Bring along electronic games and things to do for the kids. (hint, those silly little sticky hands can keep them amused for hours and don’t make a mess).
Remember their names and use their names. Take pictures or videos of homes they can’t get into fast enough and send them the tour.
Want to know the #1 way to turn a customer into a raving fan? Communicate. Call them before they call you. Always educate and inform. Put them at ease and keep them “in the know”. Follow up after the closing. Communicate early and often. It’s a winner.
65. Create your Monthly Newsletter.
This can be something you buy that is created and distributed by a vendor each month. It can be a blog digest. It can be your monthly real estate market report. The tricky part is, it must be valuable and something everyone wants to read. Whatever you decide, it should include reviews, current listings, and market data.
66. Attend an Agent Financials Class*
This course, taught by top real estate agents and instructors teaches you how to have better control of your cash flow, how to understand the difference between business expenses and personal expenses and why that matters, How to set your business up to protect your finances, how to measure the true costs of doing business including where you profit, and where you lose money, and how to leverage bank accounts and credit cards to manage your money. This class moves around area to area. If one comes to you, take it.
67. Create a Real Estate Market Report and Publish
What can you do for FREE that will establish you as an expert in your industry, in your area, nurture business relationships, and give your blog a major boost in search engine rankings?
A real estate market report is a monthly record of what’s trending in the real estate industry. The reports can be established on a national or local level. Information reported in a monthly real estate market report includes statistics for single-family homes, townhouses, and condos. The market data covers trends in home buying and selling, median home values, median price per square foot, number of transactions, and other pertinent information about the area’s real estate. Real estate market reports are used by real estate professionals as well as individuals interested in buying or selling real estate in the near future.
68. Begin a “Q & A” Masterpiece Series
The best blogs, articles, and videos answer questions and solve problems. It’s as simple as setting your iphone up on a tripod and talking over a Facebook Live Video.
Save the questions your customers and clients ask you. Then answer them in a blog format, podcast, or video. If you have a blog, which is great for SEO (Search Engine Rankings) when done well, your video can be transcribed to the written word as well from companies like Rev.com
69. Interview Local Experts on Real Estate as well as local businesses
As a real estate agent, you want to become a local expert. The more you talk about your locality, the more likely you are to rank on the search engines as well. Of course by “talk about it”, I mean blog about it, make videos about it, report on it.
A simple action step you can add to your marketing plan is monthly or quarterly small business interviews. Pick a business, send them a set of questions (keep it simple and short) so they can prepare, make sure sound and lighting is sufficient and go. You can even go live from your smartphone if lighting and sound suffices.
Make them look amazing, draw interest for their business, including links and reviews in the blog post or video description and share the links so they will share.
70. Check in with your goals
Often. Don’t let emotion cloud the evidence. Sometimes you get busy and it “feels good”. It’s important to check in with our numbers and make sure your evidence matches the emotion. If not, adjust. Remember, your 411 is weekly, monthly and annual. This tool helps you create a discipline for checking in with your goals.
71. Check in with your budget and P & L
At least once a month, it’s time to review your Profit and Loss Statement. If you have a bookkeeper, they should be delivering this for you. If not, you need to be creating one. List expenses in one column, and income in the other. Subtract expenses from Income and hopefully you are in the GREEN with profit and not in the RED which is loss. How profitable you are is as simple as how much you spend compared to how much you make. Your Budget should be your guide and model for expenses. Your economic model is what you built previously to project your income. If your budget is too high, or income is too low, you’ll quickly find yourself with low profitability or losing money altogether. Adjust quickly and visit your money often.
72. Know your Numbers
Many brokerages track this for you. You may have to ask where to find the reports. Some of the numbers you should know for public information and/or for your own knowledge year to date and year prior are:
Average or Median Closed Price of homes you sell: Example $297,000.
Original List price to Close price Ratio. This will indicate how well your price, and market a home. Ex. 98%
Total closed sales volume (price of all of the properties you sold added up: Example: $10,000,000)
Total earned Commissions (total commissions earned before office or team deductions. Example: $200,000)
Your average commission. (This will help you create budgets based on GCI X Units)
Total Units Closed (If you represent the buyer AND seller, it would be 2 units). Example: 24
Average or Median days on market for your listings
Total Profitability Percentage: Example, you keep 40% of your earnings after expenses.
73. Track your Dollar Per Hour
This is fun. Track on your calendar or a spreadsheet how many hours you work each day. Log it each day. Total that up at the end of the month. Log how much money you made that month. Choose to count by total earnings or earnings – profit, but be consistent with that.
Total Earnings that month $20,000 After Expenses, you kept $8,000 Total Hours Worked: 200 $8,000 / 200 = $40.00 per hour.
This will very quickly do a couple of things for you. First, it will show you when you are increasing your value. And second, it will teach you to leverage out anything worth less than that $40 per hour! You’ll quickly stop doing $10 an hour work.
74. Attend a Conference (or conferences).
Conventions and conferences are good for the spirit, the soul, and the mind. It’s a a great opportunity to create great beneficial relationships, referral partners, and friendships. It provides opportunity for learning a lot about the industry and particular topics within the industry. It’s also often a place for you to have a voice. When creating your budget, plan for how many of these you will attend a year, when you will spend the money for them, and how much.
Example: Keller Williams Family Reunion, Travel, 5 Days, 2 Team members: $5,000 Example: Realtor® convention: 3 people, 2 days, in town: $1,500 Example: Inman Connect: 4 people, 3 days, road trip travel: $2,800
75. Consider a Local Business Networking Group.
Networking is rarely regretted. It’s an opportunity for you to have permission to introduce yourself and your services to other professionals. Many of these groups only allow 1 or a couple professionals per industry into the group creating stronger relationship opportunities.
76. Choose a Closing Gift Vendor or Two
You may want to consider a closing gift for your buyers when you complete a transaction. These range rom housecleaning supplies to knives and cutting boards to gift certificates. Remember that budget I keep talking about? These need to go into that budget. If you have planned for 24 closings, and 14 will be buyers, that’s 14 gifts. If you spend $100 per gift, you’ll spend $1,400 in closing gifts. This needs to go into your marketing budget or cost of sale.
You might also like: Real Estate Gifts, Promotion and Swag
77. Ask for Referrals
It’s not always easy to ask for business. The best time to ask for a referral is when you have a happy buyer or seller at the closing table (or after, with their keys or cash). A simple “Who else do you know that might be interested in buying or selling a property” could add a few contacts to your database. If you wait too long after the closing, you won’t get the names.
78. Hire a bookkeeper
Not as expensive as you think, many bookkeeper’s charge by the work at hand. Some charge by the month, and others by the hour. Some will even come to your location, while many work virtually accessing your shared doc files and bank statements for reconciliation. A great bookkeeper can take your budget and include a comparision each month to show you your projected and actual budget differences allowing for red flags in over spending (or under spending in a case such a lead generation/marketing).
79. Don’t Compare yourself to Others
Social media has brought self promotion to an entirely new level. We share stories of success, yet generally not the pain that got us there. We share our Facebook Ads that generated 1000 leads for $20 😂 , yet not the ones that we spent $500 on that failed miserably. We share our new hires and explosive growth, but avoid telling the tales of the guy that left in the middle of the night with the computer, or the buyers agent that left us for another team. Yeah, yeah, it happens!
Be careful about comparing yourself to others. No two businesses will be alike and there’s always a lot more to the story. Be inspired by success. Follow great leaders. Model great agents. Just don’t compare.
80. Close 24 to 48 transactions in a year
At 24 closed transactions, you’ve entered the production area, are achieving “cap” status in your office if there is one (meaning you keep more commissions) and have tripled the average real estate agent who sells 8.5 houses a year (and that’s the working one’s). You are working diligently, but still should have a good quality of life. You have hit that level of thinking about an assistant with the next growth spurt probably.
At 48 transactions, and no leverage, you are working day and night, are probably feeling stretched, and know that something has to “give” soon for you to do any more. You have to begin thinking of leverage (team).
81. Check your Ego
It gets dangerous when your ego takes the front and center stage. The ego knows your productive and therefore “better” than others in the game. And as we said previously, you are better than the average agent as far as production goes. This the time when many get started teaching what they do, or sharing what works on social media, or taking to panels and such. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you don’t let it interfere with your lead generation time a commitment to healthy, profitable growth. This is not the time to double up on your expenses, hoping to leap into the next level to pass up Joe Real Estate Agent in production. Hold it in check. Stay the course. You are doing so much right. Keep going.
82. Take a quick Look at at your 5 Closest Friends
Where are you now? Who are your friends? Which colleagues have you suggested in the industry to buddy up with. Now, assuming you know their income or production, add that up and divide it by 5. Are you happy with that number? Because that’s the income you are at or headed for. We grow into the rooms we are in. Meaning, if you want to go further, who you associate with needs to be the next level of where you want to go. You should never be the smartest one in the room so to speak. It may take some stretching on your part and may be uncomfortable, yet the money is on the other side of uncomfortable.
83. Take a position on a leadership council
Best way to grow your leadership skills is to serve as a leader. Consider serving on a men or women’s leadership council, on a special committee where your leadership will be called upon, on a Realtor® board, an agent leadership council and so forth.
84. Check in with your Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, and Physical Health
Break back out that 411. How are you doing with your goals besides production? Did you set a savings or investment goal? Did you meet it? Did you set a fitness goal and spiritual goal? How about mental? What new skills have you learned, classes have you taken outside of real estate, or books have you read? Are you sleeping? Sleep seems to be one of the first things people give up to make enough time in their day. I certainly wouldn’t want the sleepy, on the edge real estate agent representing me in a transaction. Check in with it and see how you are doing and where you might need some counterbalance for a while.
84. Be prepared to fail
You will. Fail, that is. In some areas, you won’t be as strong as others. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll probably make a few messes. There will be client’s that leave unhappy. You’ll have team members that don’t work out. You’ll make bad hires for your professional subcontractors (accounting, inspectors etc.). You’ll probably lose money at some point. You’ll piss somebody off. You’ll forget to write in the fridge in an offer and then have to buy a fridge for you buyer. You’ll make a mistake on an addendum or miss getting signatures. You’ll forget a client was a referral and miss paying the referral. (No, don’t do that 😇). Shoot, you might even be fired by your brokerage (I know a lot of great agents this has happened to).
You’ll fail. And it’s OK. You’ll fail forward to success.
Just fail.. faster.
85. Begin learning leverage as you grow your business
There are classes, and workshops and books. There are behavioral assessments and personality tests. There are models and guides and spreadsheets. What’s important, is that you realize your world has now become about people. As you grow, your future will become more and more about lead generation for talent instead of lead generation for leads (because now you have leverage and systems doing more of that). It will become about interviews, and relationships, and training, and coaching, and leading.
This, right here, is where a lot of great real estate agents fall. Their failure to grow their leadership lid keeps them at a ceiling of achievement. If you can’t grow through others, at a certain point, you can’t grow.
86. Make your first administrative hire
Your first admin should take over everything you do each day that isn’t lead gen or appointments or licensed agent activities (negotiations, inspections). He should manage your books (possibly), manage the database, create the systems and operations, answer the phones, screen and respond to emails, run errands, order supplies, deal with subcontractors, handle marketing and anything else that would not be in your top 20% of activities. They take 80% of your 100% allowing you to focus only on what’s most important.
87. Create your Training System
Your operations manual, or system should be more than just a document filed in your cloud drive because someone said to create one. It should be a training system that would allow someone to plug in, watch videos, and screenshots, and read tutorials on how things are done. Have your administrative hire follow you around and document it all. We created a WordPress website with special user permissions for ours. You could use a private Youtube channel and use playlists (admin, buyers agents, listing agents, scripts, transactions, lead gen) and so forth.
It’s much nicer to say “watch this video and meet me at 10am with your questions, I’ll have some for you as well”, than it is to repeat trainings over and over again.
88. Make your first showing assistant/buyer agent hire
Typically, a buyer or showing assistant makes 50% of what you make for a single transaction. The buyer specialist would do everything, where a showing assistant may just do the showing work. You may decide on a different split with a showing specialist. It has to make sense in your organizational and economic models.
There are some teams that have a 50/50 split with their buyer specialists, but pay less when they generate an appointment through their inside sales team or through telemarketers.
89. Build your Team
In this blog post, you won’t find all of the answers. What you will find is a first-hand experience of someone who has built more than one team during their life and who currently has a real estate team. You’ll hear tips and mistakes. You’ll find links to additional resources, videos on certain topics, and directions to find the best training. I’m afraid I don’t have all the answers. What I have is experience, and I’m happy to share that with you. I’ll also share some of the “standard” models.
Pop by visits are generally seasonal and include some sort of gift such as:
Pumpkins at Halloween
Flags at 4th of July
Batteries to change the Smoke Detectors
Pies at Thanksgiving
Plant Seeds in the spring
93. Add in a survey system
Incorporate a system to collect data on how your team is doing. A rating system per category is advised. One website that does this for you is RealSatisfied.com. Discuss frequently with team members and work to improve ratings if they are low in any areas. Follow up for reviews. [su_divider link_color=”#f5ae9d”] [/su_spoiler][/su_divider]
94. Know your Numbers
Now, you not only need to know the market numbers, and your personal numbers, but your team member’s numbers. It’s key to know their conversion rates, and average commissions so you can help them improve or create models around their success.
95. Attend leadership training
Trainings, Books, Videos, Workshops all provide opportunity to increase your leadership skills. Once you enter the world of team building, this will be ongoing.
While it’s a great idea to build a charity of your own, support one locally or nationally, or support individuals as needed, the key is that you give back often. You can give back financially, and you can give time. Winners are Givers. Leaders are Givers.
97. Live an Abundance Mindset
When you adopt an abundance mindset, your world opens up in ways you never thought possible. When you truly believe that you have everything you need, and you know there is always money on it’s way to you, and that you are great at making money, and deserve money, and live in a world of abundant love, happiness, friendships, worship, and anything else you believe to be good and abundant, you attract more abundance.
98. Hire a Listing Agent
One of the last steps in a team build that allows the team owner to step out of day to day operations is the listing agent. This is a tricky one because a team is so dependent on it’s listings and more of the profits generally come from the listing side. A listing agent typically earns a smaller split than a buyer agent because they can do so many more listings and most of the marketing and prep work is done by the administrative team. A listing agent will typically take the listing, and negotiate offers and inspections. If you leverage this position too early, you could take a hit on profitability. Some teams ask the listing agent to lead generate thereby increasing listings.
This could be salary plus small bonus or a 20-40% split. It’s important to review your cost of sale section in your budget. if your cost of sale (paying agents), goes too high, you will lose profits.
99. Be OK with things not being Perfect
Because they won’t be.
100. Hire a CEO
This is the person that runs your company. You move out of day to day operations, and they lead the team. A salary plus profit bonus or purely pay on profits is possible. This is often a person that moves up in the team successfully year over year.
Expansion provides the opportunity to enter more markets using your proven models of lead generation and through administrative leverage.
102. Begin another business
This is your opportunity to draw income from your real estate business while building another stream of income.
I'm a full-time blogger. I teach entrepreneurs how to get more website traffic, generate leads, and make more money online. This website contains affiliate links that benefit me.
Take a CourseGet a WebsiteTry my Tools