Whether you’re looking to sell your first piece of real estate or your 50th, getting new clients is always a daunting task. Sometimes it seems like everyone in your sphere of influence are happily housed and nobody’s looking to relocate, upgrade, or buy a second home. That’s when you need to reach outside of your comfort zone and start generating leads.
One of the most common ways to network is to find a local business networking group. You can look on sites like meetup.com or by searching your city/town name plus “business networking” or you can look on the calendar of your local newspaper. These groups generally meet for breakfast or lunch and each person has about a minute to introduce themselves to the group and what their business is. You don’t have to be too comfortable with public speaking, most newcomers are nervous and they’re used to that! Bring tons of business cards and be prepared to tell people you’re looking for real estate leads. Many times your first meeting is free (except for the cost of your meal). Try it out!
Mention your real estate business to everyone you talk to – this includes the cashier at the supermarket! Everyone that you run into each day is a potential lead. Don’t let opportunities to sell yourself pass you by. Practice a one-minute commercial that highlights your best business accomplishments and why someone would choose you as his real estate agent. Hand out your business card at every opportunity. Business cards sitting in a box do you no good – pass them out! If you have children, take them to the local park and chat with other parents, then hand them your business card and tell them you’d love to schedule a play date for your kids. If you’re a retiree, join a local 50+ group and give your business card out instead of just letting people put your phone number into their phones. Don’t be afraid to tell people what you do and how good you are at it! Give a stack of your business cards to your hair stylist, your manicurist, your dog groomer, your children’s teachers, your mechanic, your favorite restaurant, your aerobics instructor, and your babysitter. You are your best advertisement!
Where are potential buyers looking first these days? Internet. You need a professional, up-to-date website that highlights your area of expertise. Your website sells you. Once potential clients buy into the idea that you’re the agent for the job, then you sell real estate. Check out the websites of top sellers in your area and you’ll see that their websites advertise them, not real estate.
Don’t be afraid to let family and friends know that you’re looking for more clients. People, especially women, love to feel like they’re helping. Offer them gift certificates to their favorite restaurants for each lead they bring you. Arm them with a stack of business cards and tell them they’re doing you a big favor. They’d be happy to help. If ten of your friends each pass on your business card twice, that’s twenty potential clients! You cannot pass up the opportunity to have an army of promoters!
A great way to meet many potential clients is to hold open houses at your current clients’ homes. People who are just on the cusp of making a real estate decision will meander into open houses “just to look.” Before you know it, you’re talking it up with them and they become your new clients! If you don’t have any current listings, you can offer to do open houses for other agents in your office. Many agents would happily take you up on your offer!
There are an incredible amount of houses listed on FSBO websites. Pick up the phone and chat with the owners! Let them know that you’ve already sold property in their neighborhood and you’re confident that you are able to get the best price for their home. You’ll find that, oftentimes, they are becoming frustrated with selling their own property and you may just be the agent who strikes them at the right time. You could also send a mailing out to FSBO homeowners; make sure the mailing highlights reasons why they should list with an agent, specifically YOU! Offer them a special incentive if they list with you within a month or an “easy out” if you don’t sell their property within a certain time frame. Remember, you’re offering them the opportunity to work with you because you will provide them with the best return on their investment.
Word of mouth is a powerful force! Keep in contact with your former clients so that you stay in their minds. Call them or email them just to say hi every few months. Keep notes on each client listing their children’s names and ages and random information that they’ve told you during your conversations with them, that way you’ll always have something to talk about when you call. Ask about how Johnny’s doing in Math class or how their mother recovered from her recent surgery. Become more of a friend that just a one hit wonder in their lives. And always, regardless of your religious preferences, send holiday cards! Make sure they’re handwritten and hand addressed – people notice! If you stay an active part of their lives, they will be more likely to strongly recommend you to their friends and family. And don’t be afraid to ask for referrals!
Once you’ve passed the real estate exam and you have been issued a real estate license, you will face the difficult decision of which brokerage to join. This is an extremely important decision. When you are first beginning your career in real estate, you will need to choose a broker who is there to answer questions, provide training, and guide you to success.
Selecting a brokerage is unlike any job interview you’ve been in before. The brokerage makes money by having agents on board. Therefore, they want you before you’ve walked through the door and as a result, you are interviewing them! Here are a few questions to consider.
The first brokerage you join must be able to provide you with support. When you’ve just earned your real estate license, you do not have the experience and the numbers to help you secure listings. Instead, you rely on the reputation of the brokerage. Ask yourself these questions:
You will have a number of questions when you are just starting out. The state real estate exam does not teach you how to sell real estate. It teaches you the laws and procedures that you must follow. Marketing, filling out listing agreements, sales contracts and other paperwork is not covered in real estate school! Your broker will help you in that regard. You will want to consider the questions below and make an informed decision on who will set you on the path to success.
Although you are the one interviewing the broker, some brokers will not accept newly licensed agents. By asking this question first, you will save yourself the hassle of setting up an interview when you aren’t eligible anyhow.
Brokerages have many different commission splits and various fees for services. For example, you will often see the term 100% commission thrown around. This means that you earn every bit of the commission that you bring in for the sale. So how does the brokerage make money? In these situations, the brokerage charges you a fee to work there! You pay a fee every month whether you have a sale or not. In exchange, you get to keep all of your commission. Other brokerages keep a percentage of you commisison but you don’t have to pay a monthly fee. That way, if you don’t make money, you don’t pay. However, you will forfeit a (sometimes sizable) portion of your commission when you do have a sale.
In many markets, the strength of a brokerage’s name is paramount. Your clients need to feel that a strong brokerage is representing them. You will see plenty of new brokerages in your area that are competing for agents. Ask yourself, “when I say the name of this brokerage to a client, will they recognize it?” Drive around and look at signs on current listings. Many times, one brokerage will dominate a given neighborhood. If you want to focus on a specific location in your town, which brokerage is prominent there?
If you’re showing property in the evening after your client has gotten off of work and a question arises, can you get ahold of your broker? Many brokers will provide agents with their personal cell phone numbers for this exact reason. Many questions simply cannot until the morning. If you are just starting out, having this lifeline available will prove to be a phenomenal resource.
Your local board will offer some training but many offices have training sessions as well. Training in your office may cover topics such as how to hold a successful open house, how to properly fill out a sales contract or listing agreement and how to secure more leads. The range of topics covered at these trainings is endless. Some brokerages offer training and some do not. When you are just beginning your real estate career, select a brokerage that will help you learn the ropes.
This is one of the biggest decisions you will make once you have earned your real estate license. Your choice of brokerage can impact whether you’re able to make money as a real estate agent or you’ll have to close up shop before you’ve given yourself an opportunity to succeed. If you have any questions, please ask below and we’ll offer any guidance possible.
Having a real estate license can lead to a very rewarding and lucrative career but there are a number of great advantages to having a license other than the income! Many people are attracted to the profession because of the flexibility it offers – caregivers can create their own schedules, retirees can earn a full-time salary with part-time hours, and night-owls can work into the wee hours of the morning. There are also perks like putting money in your pocket just by making an agent referral!
One of the many benefits of being a real estate agent is being able to buy and sell property without giving up a cut of your profit. As a matter of fact, real estate agents can take the commission that they earn from their own sale and put it towards their own downpayment. If you plan on buying and selling real estate at a rapid pace, being your own agent will significantly boost your piggy bank. This perk increases exponentially when listings offer bonuses to the selling agent!
Being able to credit close friends & family money back when they buy is an added advantage. Not only is it a kind favor, but it boosts the agent’s sales data and increases their publicity just by having a lawn sign. Friends and family are more likely to refer an agent once they’ve used them and can speak on their experience.
Home office, car, computer, cell phone, car mileage – things used for business can commonly be written off to save you money on your taxes.
Brokerages want as many agents working under them as possible since they make money on every transaction. Therefore, they want you. It turns the tables so you are interviewing them and you select where you want to work and who you want to work with instead of hoping to land a job. You also determine how much of your income you’re willing to part with; some brokerages offer more advantages, but take a bigger chunk of your commission. Other brokerages offer bare-minimum offices and you pay a monthly fee almost like a club membership. There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a real estate brokerage.
One of the greatest advantages to becoming a real estate professional is that you get to decide when and how much to work. If you only want to work a few hours a day, great. If you work best in the evening hours and sleep until 9 am on the weekdays, that’s fine too. You have the flexibility to schedule appointments during the work day without worrying about eating into your vacation days. Single parents can work around their children’s school schedules. And traveling isn’t such a hassle since you can work from virtually anywhere. Real estate agents work their jobs around their lives, they don’t work their lives around their job.
You decide how much effort to put in to earn your income. Perhaps your family only needs a supplemental income in order to afford the extras or perhaps you’re the sole earner in the house – either way, real estate is for you. If you hit your goal early, perhaps you work less for the rest of the year. If you need a raise, you don’t have to worry about that awkward conversation with your boss. You are your boss! Work really hard and the sky’s the limit.
Want to make money just by picking up the phone? If your long-distance relative is looking into purchasing a new home, refer her to an agent in her own state and earn a referral fee. It’s that simple. You earn a percentage of the sale’s commission just for a quick phone call. In fact, many agents make a big portion of their income just through referral fees alone. Let another agent do the work and you reap the reward.
With real estate, you’re not stuck in a cubicle or office all day every day. Agents spend a lot of time out and about meeting clients at potential properties or introducing themselves to future clients. Most real estate agents complete a large portion of their work from home! Sure, agents use the real estate office for formal meetings or closings, but you will never be confined within those walls.
Before earning your real estate license, you are likely focused on enrolling in a real estate school and studying for your state exam. While those are certainly important, there are a few things you should be doing to ensure you’re ready to succeed as soon as you are a licensed agent. Being well-prepared is key and there’s no reason why you cannot being your preparation today, even before you’re licensed.
The most important factor to your success as a real estate agent is getting your name in front of as many people as possible. Real estate is a game of numbers. The more people that know you are an agent, the more opportunities you will have to secure listings and get sales. Start making a list today of everyone that you know, even if they’re merely an acquaintance. Use this guide to help you begin brainstorming for people you know:
When you’re just beginning your list, set a goal to have 100 people on your sphere of influence list. That will build you a good foundation to begin. At this point, be sure to add every new person you meet to your sphere of influence list.
It’s important to know that the real estate exam does not teach you to sell real estate! For the marketing side of things, you’re going to have to educate yourself. These two books tell you exactly what steps to take to get listings and sell real estate.
The Honest Real Estate Agent is a must-read for any agent-to-be. This book fills in the details that real estate schools do not teach. You will learn methods of attracting new clients and securing listings and sales. The book is modern and focuses on strategies such as social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) instead of old techniques like cold calling.
The Millionaire Real Estate Agent is phenomenal for new agents as it teaches you to “maximize one’s personal resources.” We all know people, have unique abilities and skills and this book will teach you how to put those traits to use to sell real estate.
Take our advice–stop thinking about a real estate license and start working towards getting a real estate license! Read our guide to getting a real estate license in your state. You will need to decide if you’d like to take a course in person or online. Either way, it is time to register and begin the fantastic journey towards being a licensed real estate agent!