Your First 12 Months: Essential Things You Need To Get Ahead5 min read
There are a number of studies out there about real estate retention, and they all vary based on different reasons, but one thing is clear, this job is difficult. Something between 70%-97% of real estate agents will fail in their first few years (depending on the study).
An experienced realtor I know related the industry to a wave. Real estate is an incredibly demanding profession, and it is not uncommon to drown in it. The only way to make it, is to stay just ahead of the wave and ride it. If not, you will be sucked under the water and fail.
If you focus on anything your first year, let it be getting ahead in the right areas so that you can prosper in the future. Below is a list of 9 essential things you need to get and stay ahead in the real estate world.
1- The Right Mindset
First of all, you must have the right mindset to work in this industry. It is simply, non-negotiable. Being a real estate agent is not a job, but an opportunity. Regardless if you are on a team or managing by yourself, you are in charge of your own business. You must be positively committed to the rigors of the industry.
2- A Plan
This jump in your life is a big one and there are many things to consider to keep everything in order and your life organized. It is important for you to plan out your days, your strategies and funnels, organize your clients and leads, as well as plan for the financial risk you will be taking. The idea is to be as detailed with these plans as possible and stick to them! Invest in a good planner and a simple CRM to get started.
Not everyone can magically make it on their own with no training. A very smart idea is to hire a business coach or connect with a real estate mentor to teach you all the tricks of selling yourself as well as encourage you to be better! Take this time to shadow an experienced professional and have them give you feedback on your process. It is a well known fact that humans start to imitate the people we spend the most time with, so do yourself a favor and make that your coach/mentor! The knowledge you gain from their experience is invaluable.
The vastness of the real estate market may leave you feeling overwhelmed. How do you compete against an agent with 20+ years experience for leads? What you need to do to solve this problem and stay ahead of the game is to find your niche. It is by no means required, but narrowing in on your expertise will elevate your status as a realtor for that market. Having trouble determining your niche? Think about your neighborhood/community, study the market, find where the need is, think about what you are passionate about and what unique things you can offer to your clients. Some examples are: Waterfront Homes, International Buyers, Farm/Ranch Houses, Luxury Homes, etc.
Getting to know your market can be complicated. There will probably be more studying and math/statistics skills involved than you originally anticipated. Having this deep knowledge and expertise can certainly put you ahead, though. Be the rookie realtor that talks as if you have been in the business for over 10 years. Confidently know your community and neighborhood, as well as more technical things like competitors, price points and the complete process of buying/selling a home. Your expertise in these subjects will always translate to retaining leads and getting referrals.
Another reason the fail rate in real estate is so high is because new agents do not set SMART goals. The acronym SMART is accredited to George T. Doran and is a system in place to help you set and reach your goals. It stands for, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Pro tip: physically write these goals out and place them somewhere you look every day. Example: If you want to close on 20 homes this year, reverse engineer that math to find out how many new people you must talk to each day, and include it in your goal and all other additional steps you must take to meet it.
7- Social Media Presence
This job is arguably more about marketing than it is anything else. Your marketing strategies must be effective before you can ever begin to sell. Social media plays a huge role in this, especially with the younger generations. This is relatively new ground for agents, and you must be involved to get ahead. You will soon realize your presence and social media strategy will play a huge role in the growth of your brand. Just some quick tips: engage with people, post original content, get creative and mix it up.
Something very new and fresh to real estate marketing are videos. Anything from creative content, Facebook Live interviews, to vlogs featuring your clients can really set you apart. Aside from selling and marketing your homes, you are also selling and marketing yourself! Because this is so new to the industry, it is a great opportunity to begin your journey and following before the industry is too saturated! Act now! Show everyone how fun and beneficial it is to be one of your clients!
A website might not be on your first few “to do,” lists, but I encourage you to make one sometime in your first 6 months. Relationship based real estate is phasing out and turning digital. The fact is, a huge amount of these relationships start on the internet and having a place with your listings, contact information, and other helpful tools will keep giving you business. Do not let this overwhelm you. There are plenty of free sites you can start out on and continue to invest in as you grow in real estate.
Succeeding in real estate takes a lot of work, but does not have to be so difficult or expensive with all the free resources out there. Take a moment to find inspiration, make goals, get organized, start your digital checklist and connect with your first leads. A little coffee and a lot of determination will take you a long way!