Many real estate agents search for some magic bullet, thinking they can buy a training program or a $30/month subscription to become successful. As with weight loss or success in any field, there rarely is a secret elixir that can be bought to produce – BAM – instant success. Achieving success rarely is easy or quick. It requires training, persistence, and practice. It also requires focus – on the right things – and not being led astray by all the distractions that are tossed in our path.
Focus on your numbers. Real estate is a numbers game. If you have five buyer appointments in a week, how many will lead to you writing a contract? If you write two contracts a week, what are the odds that one will be accepted by the seller? And if you get four offers a month signed and accepted, how many will make it to closing? You need to know these stats. Track every appointment, every week. Log every contract written, offer accepted, and closing. In a few months you’ll start to see a pattern, and you’ll know how many seller presentations you need to make to get a listing, or how many contracts you need to write to close two or four deals a month. Whatever your goal is, know your numbers and work backwards, so you’ll know how many buyer or seller appointments you need to book every week.
Focus on the trends. Pay attention to industry news and watch for trends in your own market. Agents who know what is going on nationwide and locally can prepare their business for the future. Nothing remains static, especially in real estate. Seller markets shift to buyer markets. Foreclosures swamp the market and then trickle off. Certain neighborhoods become “hot” and then a few years later cool off. Read industry news and watch the statistics in your own MLS. Many MLS providers provide market reports to their subscribers. The National Association of Realtors publishes economic reports and special reports for their members. Know where the market is right now, and where it may be going in the next year so you can shift in and out of different niches as necessary.
Focus on your best clients. Don’t go chasing after every single consumer. You’ll never please or be the perfect agent for every type of buyer or seller. Analyze your sales from the last two years and see what type of clients do you attract? Who do you work best with? Who do you enjoy the most? First time homebuyers? Businesspeople? Investors? Absentee landlords? Focus on retaining the clients you’ve served the best, the ones you enjoy the most. Cultivate those relationships and strive for more referral business from those sources. Stop blanket marketing to the universe and narrow your efforts to replicate your success with your best clients.
Focus on your differentiators. “Free Market Analysis.” Yeah, every agent on the planet advertises this. What makes you different from the herd of agents in your market? If the answer is nothing, you’d better go re-think that. If you are just the same as everyone else, why should I hire you? Perhaps you are bi- or trilingual. Maybe you have a specialty in understanding sports pros and helping them relocate between cities. I have my MRE – master’s degree in real estate – and I play that up in all my marketing. It tells people I am not just an average agent with 60 hours of education. I have a graduate level degree, and hopefully serious expertise in real estate.
Now that you know what to focus on, let’s talk about a few things you need to cut out of your life. Focus requires concentration, effort and serious time commitment to “get in the flow”. To make time for these things, you need to cut out things that distract you and sap your energy.
Ignore toxic people. We all have toxic people in our lives – friends, family and coworkers who suck us dry. Energy vampires are those people who want to monopolize your time as they complain about every little thing. If it’s not too hot, it’s too cold. They can stand at your desk and moan about the company and the boss for an hour before moving on. They frequently need to be the center of attention with their needs, dumping all their problems on you. Learn how to cut the conversation off before you find yourself down that rabbit hole, one more time, feeling emotionally drained. If you dread getting sucked into a conversation with someone, figure out a way to lessen contact with that person. Your energy levels and emotions will pick up considerably if you can do this.
Ignore the herd. If everyone zigs, it’s okay for you to zag. If all agents are doing X then why not try Y. Above we talked about differentiators. You need to find what sets you apart and march to your own beat, even if that means moving into uncomfortable territory. I started blogging in 2007, before it was common in real estate. At first it was difficult and I wondered if it was a waste of my time. Soon I had written hundreds and hundreds of blog posts on my real estate site, which gained me “Google juice” and excellent SEO rankings. It paid off. What is the next thing we should jump on? I’m playing with Instagram now and no other brokerage in my area is doing this. They’re still running print ads in the free journal as a main advertising medium. That’s okay. I’ll concentrate on other things that set me apart from the crowd.
Ignore (many) shiny objects. Don’t get too caught up in the new and shiny objects. Sure we all like to try new things – squirrel – but don’t let too many new gadgets or marketing solutions drain your budget and your attention. Concentrate on what you do now, and do it well. Search for solutions when something isn’t working right. Don’t be afraid to try a new tech tools. But don’t become so obsessed with the new new thing that you find yourself off course. Vendors love to sell us products that promise more listings, more buyer leads, more closings. But if you don’t have the basics down pat, if you don’t focus on your core business as above, no amount of money spent on shiny objects will make us profitable. Concentrate on the basics. Buying one more product won’t make you money if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort in the first place to make this business work.
Ignore jealousy. Finally, if you do the above, you will be likely to succeed in this business. With success comes jealousy. It can’t be helped. Others in your own town, and even in your own company, may not be happy to see your business take off. Expect it and get some thick skin. I’ve had other agents tell a consumer not to work with me because I’m too busy to take care of them (not true), and since they only have one or two listings they’ll get better service (not likely). That’s the green monster speaking. Ignore it. Know your value, and your expertise. Be confident in your ability and don’t let jealousy get you down. It’s a sign you’ve got the competition worried.