Being a top-tier real estate agent is a simple business. Why? Because there’s just one thing you need to do to succeed. But, we easily lose sight of this.
It happens all the time; agents tossing the foundations to the side when the newer, shinier toy comes along. More telemarketing, relentless paid Instagram promotions, contact service centres employed, experiential marketing – all can be effective, powerful tools but when they come at the expense of maintaining relationships and solid, sustainable growth, it’s not long before clients – and your dollars – are slipping through the cracks.
Nothing will ever replace human interaction. The cognitive steps of listening, contemplating and replying is a tremendous tool and not something a premium LinkedIn subscription can ever replace when it comes to building a successful real estate career. People deliver the human element and a value that cannot be underestimated. They are the formidable expert exuding capability in person. The calm voice over the phone. The trusted agent that clients will long remember and emotionally bond with.
Having worked with some of the industry’s best and seen the path Australia’s most brilliant agents have travelled, it’s clear that it’s not just the way the cards fall. It’s these 14 crucial foundations that build the step to the winner’s podium.
Tip 1. Prioritise the most important commodity
The most crucial foundation to consistent communication is building the number one commodity – trust. Our highest priority needs to be building trust over a period of time, long before your client needs to sell their property. At its core is a simple belief. Instead of striving for instant gratification, if you ring 10 people today and you consistently do that over a period of time, at some stage in their journey they are going to want to sell that property. And when that happens, you’ve done the work to build the relationship and the trust. As they say, build it and they will come (to you).
Tip 2. Don’t tap out at the final bell
It’s a costly mistake to abandon follow-up actions. Not replying to inquiries, failing to provide fast updates, or ignoring a client’s worries is a fast track to squandered opportunities and negative reviews – and we all know that footprint never fades. Following up every transaction – fast – demonstrates professionalism, diligence, and dedication to your client or prospect’s needs. And playing the long game is just as important as following up with current clients. That price enquiry may not lead anywhere now but the person on the other end of the email will not forget two things. One, that you replied. Two, the way your reply made them feel.
Tip 3. Comfort is overrated
Building client relationships is an important first step. Maintaining them is where most fall over. When you start to get a little too comfortable, a little too complacent, before you know it six months will have gone past and you’ve lost contact with the people you’ve built relationships with. And that’s all it takes. Another agent will pick up that relationship, that trust and the chain of your connection will be broken. Their agent, trusted advisor and their go-to? That’s no longer you. ‘Out of sight out of mind’ is far more applicable here than ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. It doesn’t. It just leaves you forgotten.
Tip 4. Be visible in real life
The real estate industry is jam packed with opportunities. So much so that agents get swept up in it all and neglect the primary goal – ‘belly to belly selling’.“Belly-to-belly” refers to the power of a real estate agent being face-to-face before their prospects, clients and committed sellers. We’re spoilt for choice in technology but it doesn’t replace true personal contact. But how do you get there? Through focusing your attention on activities that will give you the most bang for your buck. Networking, connecting and picking up the phone even when you think you can’t make one more phone call – all these will increase your chances of landing face-to-face with clients and prospects. Put in the hard yards and over time it will also cement you as an agent of choice, bypassing the competition completely.
Tip 5. Don’t put all your eggs in the social media basket
If you want to find a second-hand score for less than $100, social media is your first port of call. But if you’re solely relying on social media to market new listings and prompt sales, you’re making a mistake. Social media is a fantastic way for your clients and future prospects to connect, check in and see who you are and what you’re doing. It’s a glimpse into your world and career. It is not a direct, surefire way to a contract.
Tip 6. Track marketing results carefully
So, you’ve launched headfirst into a new telemarketing tactic or promotion. Exciting times but if you aren’t closely monitoring the amount of money and time that goes into generating marketing in comparison to what you’re getting in return, you miss opportunities when it comes to scaling your marketing or reassessing what works and what doesn’t. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just make sure you’re tracking what expenses are involved, the time invested and what tangible results you can link to that process.
Tip 7. Take charge of the one entity you’re never getting more of
Managing your time well is critical for real estate agents. With many properties, clients and tasks on the to-do list, it’s the foundation to ensuring deadlines are met and performance is great. But prioritising what you spend your time on is just as important. That virtual home tour on TikTok looks sharp but if you’re spending hours on it at the expense of providing incomparable service to your clients, you need to consider what task is most valuable to your career and future.
Tip 8. Stay inspired for the basics
It can be tough to keep the motivation flame blazing at times but some simple strategies can relight vigor. It may seem a little dull but start with structure. You know those dollar-spinning tasks? Lock them into your calendar, every day. Maybe you carve out the same time each day to make prospecting calls? Or it could be that you respond to social media enquiries or emails at the same time each day? Whatever it is, this is a hard and fast rule. And don’t set and forget goals. Check in with them daily and keep your goal posts in sight when the day-to-day or latest trend starts to lure you off course.
Tip 9. Pick up the phone with purpose
The significance of valuable conversation cannot be overstated. Go in with a clear goal to get the most out of your call. Are you wearing your prospecting cap? Are you giving an update on a current listing or negotiating price? Or are you out to close a sale? There’s very few methods that will deliver results like a clear, purposeful phone call can.
Tip 10. Step into the ring everyday
It may not be feasible to be at your absolute best in every single moment, but real estate is a career where every day counts. Those days where you lose time procrastinating or sinking time into the latest trend? They show up later in the form of missed chances and financial gains.
Tip 11. It definitely won’t happen overnight
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said that when Amazon is congratulated on a good quarter, internally he thinks, “those quarterly results were pretty much fully baked about three years ago.” The same concept carries to the real estate industry. The top five per cent of agents didn’t get there overnight. They got there through a long game of resilience and endurance. One that weathered inevitable tough times and placed relationships and building connections at the core of the journey. The quickest way to get rich? Make peace with the wait.
Tip 12. Reach out to those who blazed the trail
There’s certain qualities in a successful real estate agent that cannot be learned through a clear-cut course or training manual – how to have relationships, conduct sensitive conversations and be empathetic in your approach – are among them. You either inherently embody these qualities or you have to learn them. If you’re in the latter camp, working alongside someone who is client-service oriented but also skilled at creating and holding strong relationships can be invaluable. A mentor will help you navigate the industry and impart their knowledge to boost yours. Be prepared and get the most out of a mentor relationship by carefully considering what personal skillset you need to refine. Do you struggle with time management? Ask your mentor how they schedule their day. Do you find it hard to turn leads into clients? Prompt your mentor to share their strategy or successful tactics. In the real estate world, everyone’s details are online so the hardest part is just taking the first step to reach out to someone you resonate with. You’re not guaranteed a response but you may be surprised just who will. Successful people are very familiar with how challenging the journey can be and in many cases will be able to pinpoint an influential person who helped transform their career.
Tip 12. Better late than never? That doesn’t apply here
Powerful communication is a critical skill for real estate agents. Without it, unsatisfied clients, lost shots, and misunderstandings will be par for course. Agents need to consider improving their communication skills; asking applicable questions, actively listening, and providing accurate and clear information is a great starting point. And if there’s one thing that will see a client jump ship in no time? Tardy communication. Whether it’s via text, email or phone, timely responsiveness is crucial for maintaining solid client relationships.
Tip 13. Blueprint for success
Technology and industry jargon are valuable. But the real gold mine? Human connection. Approach each day with some simple steps to make it happen. Check in with your team, mentors or those in the industry that can have power over your path. Pick up the phone and call contacts that may have fallen to the wayside, call to monitor where past appraisals are currently at, and call previous vendors and clients. Without fail, at least one of these phone calls will yield a result, today or down the track. It’s not complicated or all-consuming. It’s about clearly understanding what you need to do each day to guarantee tomorrow is even better.
Tip 14. Walk the talk
If you’re promising your clients the world and only delivering on a very small portion of it, you’re (understandably) going to have some very unhappy and disappointed clients on your hands. Being honest and straightforward is crucial not only in ensuring your clients have realistic expectations, but so that agents can come through on their promises, nurture trust and build a stellar reputation.
In short, the secret to enduring success is to talk to more people, more often with more purpose than anyone else.