How to be a Successful Real Estate Agent
“The size of our answers is always determined by the size of our questions”, Victor Hensen.
I often inquire real estate agents for whether they have ever put themselves this question, “How do I take my real estate business to the highest point possible?”, and interestingly, most of them reply in affirmative. I just giggle and ask them that I cannot see any millions coming into their accounts, to which they reply that they do ask themselves this question but do not know how to get there.
The purpose of this article is to explore and discuss all major qualities that shape a successful real estate agent. The given qualities have been sorted and compiled in light of detailed discussion with major real estate stakeholders.
Top 6 Successful Real Estate Agent Tips
1- Time Management
A trusted real estate agent can never professionally grow unless he/she practices time management. It shows the agent’s commitment to the task and leads to new leads.
To go one step further, I am convinced that it’s surely not the management of time that is required from an agent; it is rather management of attitude. I, therefore, call time management, self-management.
Time Management Techniques
i. A daily to-do list
Schedule your duty hours and just focus on what you do. An entire day must not be devoted to a single activity i.e. prospecting, selling, and negotiating, etc., unless critically required.
Every day should start with a nicely planned schedule that includes all relevant activities (maybe you can spend only 10 minutes on it).
I often observe that part-time agents (let’s say 6 pm – 9 pm) occasionally earn more than regular ones, Reason? They are motivated by a belief that the few hours might prove less for a task unless they put their best efforts.
ii. Set your goals and commit to achieving them
If you are unable to set goals, you should give up the profession. However, if goals are set but their achievement seems difficult, you should revisit the strategy and commitment. If the goals are unachievable, you should change your goals and set something else.
iii. Work more on building your listings than on working with buyers
If you have developed a handsome listing inventory, you won’t probably need to work all the time with buyers or sellers. Your listed properties could get interested clients through other agents and earn you an attractive commission even if you are busy enjoying vacations with your family.
So, spent 75% of your time on building inventory and the rest on closing deals with buyers and sellers.
iv. Work on the listed property and not on buyers
Generally, agents show dozens of properties to a single buyer to satisfy his/her needs, but they do not avail. The client’s taste/desire either varies frequently or is so complicated that existing property options do not impress him, while the poor agent sighs coldly and searches for more options.
What if we change the strategy and start showing a single property to dozens of buyers and close the deal with less fatigue?
The sale probability of any property increases with every visitor, which I will prove with an example.
Any property that is listed on a property website with premium plus (very hot) or premium (hot) tag/flag, it attracts maximum visitors and potential clients, compared to the general property listing.
v. Stay in touch with your past clients
It will save you time to generate leads from your past clients. If you have done business with any client with a positive attitude, he’ll surely refer your services to others.
However, you don’t have to await such referrals, be proactive. I firmly recommend making at least four contacts a year with your past clients, and a phone call should be one of the ways to contact.
vi. Learn to say “NO” politely
Some non-duty factors will try to disrupt your schedule. Don’t let it happen. You must extend your expertise and skills to others, but remember never let others take your time for granted.
vii. Don’t get distracted
i) By disappointed colleagues who think, speak and do negative and work aimlessly. Develop proactive policies to share your affairs with those who think of change;
ii) By confused clients who consume your time indecisively. Ask them to text you when they are ready, and by unrealistic promises which drain your time but you eventually fail to keep them. Keep three things in mind when you promise anything: your capability, resources and time.
viii. Car essentials
Unpreparedness for unexpected trips indicates un-professionalism. Avoid unprofessionalism by keeping these items in your car every moment
- Measuring tape
- Maps/CDA plans
- Writing pad
Successful real estate agents can live without food and drink but not without prospecting. It is safe to say that prospecting is the core of the profession, I still might not have evaluated it excellently.
Unfortunately, the more it is significant, the more it is ignored in Pakistan. Perhaps, it is the reason very rarely we see any agent making progress by leaps and bounds.
Wonderful Prospecting Skills
i. Operate in the high-turnover or ignored area
Do a little research to analyze selling and buying trends. Generally, agents rush towards high-turnover areas where business trends are already high.
You just have to get into the competition by employing various strategies that I have detailed in the following lines. I also recommend that you should consider working in the low-turnover areas to look for those prospects who contact agents from the high-turnover regions.
ii. Explaining market analysis over the phone
You might have noticed numerous prospects that show reluctance to the meeting. Don’t worry! Ask their preference and cater them with a detailed market analysis or the phone. Still bad luck! No worries! Communicate the salient features of the market analysis and your project (if any) without even being asked and try to allure him/her.
If they have the slightest interest in investing in real estate, they are going to call you.
iii. Attract prospects through an event
Sponsor debate/Qirat and Naat/dramatics competition in any school or college so that your name resonates in the social circles; send birthday presents to your past clients and their kids; or gift a local hawker something to encourage him for distributing your pamphlets within the pages of newspapers.
iv. Casting spells on your prospects
Before you conduct your prospect for the very first meeting, make sure you arrive early, you know the market, you have enough time, and finally, you have done a preliminary comparative market analysis.
v. Market yourself
‘Out of sight, out of mind’. To be noticed and considered, an agent must remain visible through different channels.
Define limit: what is your goal? Objectives? Vision? How many clients a month, a year, etc.? How many leads to be generated in a month? etc.
Convincing message: develop persuasive text for your personal brochures, email, website and multimedia messages that must describe how you would ensure the financial security, win-win transactions, spectacular housing, etc. to your prospects or clients.
Communication channels: go for a variety of channels to mediate yourself and agenda. It may include print and electronic advertising, website, brochures, social media presence, community engagement or involvement (youth, elderly, women, charity, etc.), personal marketing, etc.
Seminar and workshops: it’s also better to organize seminar for the benefit of property buyers and sellers of your region. The topics of the seminar may include buying and selling tips and tricks, real estate advisory and consultancy, and advertising of properties. Workshops can also prove effective where your past clients can share their experiences and suggestions.
vi. Let the people know you are so different
Do a little research (probably a telephonic survey) to inquire about the gravest social problems in the area and send the results to your past clients or potential prospects via email. Or, you can probably conduct a survey on the rising or declining standards of real estate brokerage in your area and let the clients know about it.
These are efforts to realize your prospects that you are a well informed and strategic agent who can be trusted. Remember! Prospects think hundred times before they invest their trust.
vii. “Show respect, have a deal”
To have excellent communication skills, you don’t need to be highly qualified or well-versed with everything. It’s simply your attitude that matters. Yes, I repeat it’s your attitude that matters! Plain and professional language with adequate pauses, hedges, and turn-takings will work a lot.
I remember one of my company’s clients, who is a notable doctor of the capital city, shared with me that he was extremely fascinated by the communication skills of the real agent that pitched him property offers. I told him that his agent is barely a graduate from a government institution but he knows that a positive attitude can do marvels.
viii. Pitch what suits the prospect
I consider it a wrong approach to bombard your prospect with a bundle of options. Do needs analysis (a process through which we identify the real estate interests of our prospects) and find out what particular option could interest your prospect. Details about other options should be given upon request or in case he/she seems indecisive about one option.
ix. Impactful pre-listing move
Well, I’m sure everyone will agree that an agent needs to leave an everlasting first impression upon the prospects.
To develop your credibility, send the pre-offer package to prospect.
The package should include:
Cover letter: describing the meeting timings, place and purpose, your contact details.
Resume: detailing your skills and experience.
Your personal brochure: defining your professional approach, achievements, resourcefulness and what makes you different than others (use info-graphics).
Testimonials of your existing or previous clients: it may include how they feel/felt while doing business with you (maybe a couple of sentences). Remember! Clients’ permission is necessary.
Nothing works great like images: include few clippings from any event(s) that indicate your purposeful participation (from property festival, training sessions, business meetings, etc.).
x. How to generate leads?
Don’t expect any prospects unless you offer something extra and attractive. The market is exhausted with hundreds of agents but very few know why and how to adopt a tactical approach.
Offer free services: free value analysis of the client’s property, free legal advisory or consultation, etc.
Three-step approach: call twice to any lead, then send an email or letter and finally pay a personal visit. All the steps must take place in three weeks’ time. If still no positive response from the lead, give up upon him and move to others.
Provide one-stop services: a resourceful agent develops a team that provides the lead or potential client all relevant services upon one request and one-stop. The team includes masons, electricians, painters, carpenters, designers, engineers, architects, members from utility services, etc. It will not only help you strengthen your referral business but also ensures your client or lead that he is in safe hands.
Meet all FSBOs (For Sale By Owners) and offer free services: Convince the FSBOs for hiring services of an agent. You must try to persuade him/her by arguing that an agent can surely bring more value to the property and trustworthy buyers or tenants.
An FSBO can never search for fairly or highly-priced offers which an agent can do professionally. If still he denies availing your paid (commission based) services, offer him free services. Your commission can come from the other sources but he’ll surely recommend you to others.
Remember! Your attitude matters!
Online prospecting: I often encourage novice as well as experienced agents to improve upon online prospecting by adopting diverse strategies. For example, developing a mailing database of all the leads, prospects and clients and sending them quarterly emails help a lot.
Sources of leads: you can generate leads from various sources: published and unpublished employees list, chambers of commerce, universities and colleges (for alumni), membership organizations, etc.
3- Establishing Referral Business
You must have heard a golden saying, achieve as big as possible by investing as less time and money as possible.
Believe me, it’s quite possible if you have established a strong referral business. You can start your work with three categories of people as potential sources of referral contacts:
- Your past clients,
- Your acquaintances who know you as a person (family and friends),
- Those who you meet once in a blue moon or maybe accidentally.
Powerful Techniques to Establish Referral Business
i. Train yourself as much as possible
How to build and maintain a robust referral business?
Well, I strongly believe through self-coaching, which can be done through sharing of ideas with notable real estate agents or inquiring them about the most powerful tools they use; through studying relevant literature from different contexts of the world; and through putting yourself to consistent practice.
ii. Work on past clientele first
There must be clients who you have entertained a number of times or have developed spectacular trust level with. You need to work on this group quite ambitiously and engage them frequently via various techniques (discussed in the section of Prospecting). It is indeed a tested strategy that if you have served your clients with ultimate level service, they will refer your services to their references as well.
You must be mindful that more than 50% of your referral business will come from this group.
iii. Make your acquaintances your devotees
We routinely interact with a variety of people to get their services e.g. tailor, milkman, grocer, sweeper, car washer, electricians, doctors, siblings or children’s teachers, etc. We even sometimes refer their services to our relatives or friends.
Why not ask them to refer your services as well?
Introduce your expertise in a convincing way and leave your business card there. I guarantee they will refer your services if any opportunity comes up.
iv. Hold an impressive first meeting with the referral
When you get a positive nod from any referral contact for a meeting, make it work for you anyway. You must bear in mind that he/she is coming to see you with high expectations, as the one who recommended you for him/her would have termed you as a solution to all miseries.
Remember! Never make any high claims and promises in the excitement that you might not deliver them, or maintain them afterward.
Make your prospect understand how you can help him and in what possible ways. Your ultimate struggle should be to end the first meeting with either a deal or with a promise of second imminent meeting. During the meeting, ask your prospect as many questions as possible so that you could understand what he wants or what suits him.
I strongly recommend arranging the second meeting at a reasonable place, maybe for dinner or lunch. Even if the prospect turns down the offer, do send him a thank you letter or an email acknowledging his willingness for the meeting.
v. Keep your prospect updated and prompted
An informed agent can exploit every bit of information for his benefit that is relevant to real estate or his prospect’s interests.
A good agent will always cash upon the government and private sector’s notifications regarding land administration or real estate regulations, taxes, new development schemes, etc.
Pass on any such information to your past, existing and referral contacts immediately and explain to them the opportunity quite in detail. You can give them information in any form, though I highly recommend give them a call and ask for a meeting.
However, you must be well prepared with all your options and offers. Moreover, you can also inbox them some useful non-business content that could interest them i.e. related to children’s education, retirement plans, etc.
vi. Your marketing strategies must market your referral sources as well
When you are preparing your brochure, you must mention professional elegance of your referral sources (maybe in few words). Or, if you own your website, do cite the professional contributions of your contacts and refer them to a general audience.
Likewise, you may also choose to write individual blogs on your sources, describing and recommending their services. Share all these initiatives with the contacts which will eventually reflect your positive persona and urge them to build robust relationships.
vii. Give gifts to those who provide referral contacts
Particularly in Pakistan, I’ve observed agents who hardly acknowledge their referral sources. Although it does not offend most of the people; it definitely discourages them to recommend your services anymore, which means a straightaway 50% reduction in your potential clientele.
Express gratitude formally after receiving a referral from any source. It could be a thank you email or card, telephone call, an invitation to a dinner or a lunch, etc., or maybe a pre-decided share in the commission.
viii. Make your transactions known to everyone
Make it a habit to let your transactions are known to your past and existing clients and prospects. With every successful deal, inform your clientele about the transaction details (without seller and buyer’s particulars) through email, Facebook post, website update, etc.
The sole purpose is to publicize your professional expertise and accomplishments that will bolster clients’ trust in you and attract referral links.
ix. Host an annual gathering
As discussed earlier, engaging previous clients always happens to be a fruitful activity for referral business. As an effective strategy, successful agents benefit from hosting an annual dinner or lunch in the honor of those clients who are their stable and reliable referral resources.
On the first event, you might not receive most of them, but surely an increasing number on the next ones. This party will serve as a networking club that will eventually generate for you valuable leads.
4- Professional Growth
Gone are the days when uneducated community used to operate as real estate agents in the industry.
With the advent of the internet and the emergence of real estate as the second largest employer in Pakistan, the sales field now critically demands educated and highly competitive human resource. Real estate brokerage and agent-ship have become professions that promise even a seven-figure income, but of course to those who consistently improve upon their professional growth.
Powerful Techniques for Professional Growth
i. How to carry yourself
I personally gauge real estate advisors from their attire and conversational behavior. Unfortunately, these qualities are rarely focused during professional development, and unknowingly, agents generally fail to impress upper-middle and elite class prospects. Consider the few points:
- Always set goals for every meeting, even if it’s a brief formal meeting.
- Face/receive/deal your prospects with extreme confidence but positive attitude. Remember! You are offering your services in the best possible professional manner and not asking for his/her favors.
- Occasionally, repeat or refer to your prospect’s opinions (maybe quoting the exact phrases or words) during your argument so that he/she realizes that you are paying attention.
- At the end of the conversation, give a clear clue that you are interested in the follow-up.
- If you have attended any event and desired to leave, you must take permission from the host but meet all potential prospects necessarily.
ii. Stagnant water stinks
I am sure the same goes to your professional approach if it remains marred by stereotypical strategies and traditional tactics.
- Promise yourself that you will incorporate a brand new strategy in your professional course of action after every year. The source for these ideas could be seasoned mentors, extensive study and diligent brainstorming. Give every idea at least a year to assess its productivity. You must do exhaustive research on every idea before you bring it to the field.
- Review your strategy and also get it reviewed occasionally for consistent improvement. Study every pitfall that didn’t let you succeed; for example, you failed to hold a meeting with your prospect; you couldn’t convert your meeting into a deal; you couldn’t attract referral business for long; your time management doesn’t work; your self-promotion doesn’t expand, etc. Focus on the weak areas and come up with better results.
- Avoid false promises but do adopt assertiveness as your behavior. Make your clients realize that you can do marvels if he is ready to make business with you.
iii. Presentation skills
Yes, it matters a lot! You are often required to present your ideas to prospects or your performance to your bosses. Make sure you do it with a variety of effective techniques. Although agents are avid to present their reports verbally, I recommend avoiding it.
- Complement your verbal communication with visual aids. For prospects/clients, it might include PowerPoint slides, Word charts or Excel sheets for presenting property valuations, tax rates, market analysis, and your past transactions. It will help you build your credibility within a short time and quite stylistically. For the management, you must be well-prepared to present your progress in any format (multimedia, paper charts, and MS Office, etc.).
- Every presentation must be backed by excellent spells of practice.
- Your brochures, website (if any), leaflets, or personal literature that you intend to send to any specific client or prospector to general clientele (for staying in touch, as discussed in Referral Business) should abound with info-graphics…
iv. When everything is available online, what to expect from an agent?
Million dollars question!
An agent’s major responsibility is to sift, review and interpret the entire information for the clients and bring challenges and opportunities into their notice. It means you have to be extremely good at financial analysis, real estate advisory and consultation, legal updates and existing land administration system.
v. A new set of skills
Apart from superior knowledge,
- Start your work with a professional real estate company that has an appropriate system of professional development. Or, pursue any ideal professional and strive to obtain his/her internship.
- Read, read, read and practice what you read. Remember! People will discourage you by stating that ‘don’t go by bookish things’. I recommend turn your blind eye and deaf ear to such comments and be innovative.
- Develop robust social media following and establish wider relationships by sharing information about real estate and other household safeties. When you have created an inspiring persona over the media pages, pitch your friends online. Come up with the best selling and buying options for your social media friends. I am sure a good percentage of personal or referral business could originate from this source.
- Agents could pursue any skill enhancement program for developing negotiation skills, written and verbal communication, high-quality customer care techniques, email and texting protocols, and pitching tactics. These programs are available online or could also be studied at a regionally established institution, or at any real estate agency that has an availability of appropriate skill development program.
5- How to Sell Properties?
I strongly believe in making clients for life. It is only possible when you align your goal with the goal of a seller or buyer. What they just want is to simply get their properties sold or bought, and of course, so do you.
Remember! Never take anyone for granted.
Extraordinary skills for dominating the market
i. Know your property very well
Do you know your property very well? It’s a question every agent should ask himself/herself before he/she presents it to the potential buyers.
Gather all necessary information about your listed options so that buyers or potential tenants could easily frame their minds. You must have knowledge of all real estate terms. The presentation of any option should include its social, economic, infrastructural, financial and legal details and competitive forecast of its market value. Clients would love to do business with such a thorough and informed professional.
Important of all, make sure there is neither any lien on the property and nor any foreclosure looms around. Similarly, it should be free of any conflicts or claims.
ii. Can you justify sale and purchase fluctuations around the property?
Comparative market analysis and previous sale and purchase trend of the concerned area must be in your knowledge for every listed option. You must be in a position to justify any sale or purchase fluctuations. For it, do a little research and meet prominent realtors of the area.
iii. Your client needs your input critically
Clients happen to be often confused, not knowing what suits them and whatnot. You must be an honest guide and adviser to show them what a particular property has to offer to them. A seller in this regard requires your due attention who wants to know how to bag a competitive price for his property.
Similarly, ask buyers about their concerns and satisfy them to a greater extent. Don’t let their silence or your over-talk endanger the deal. Push them for a handsome offer when you feel it’s the right time.
iv. Discuss all marketing strategies with the client
Although getting his property sold is what a seller wants, it is a recommended practice to inform your client how you are going to do it. Take him/her into confidence that what possible measures could be taken to grab maximum price for the property. It will show how concerned you are and how dynamic is your professional approach.
v. At least five best features of the property
No matter you are marketing the property via online strategies, newspaper publishing or verbal communication, you must keep at least five best features at the forefront of your listing, prospecting, pitching and negotiating. These features should act like pullers for every potential buyer, compelling him/her to take serious initial interest in the property. These features should be extremely logical and appealing and could be either from the exterior and interior of the property or its geographic profile.
vi. What to do necessarily after doing business with anyone?
You know your first deal can lead to multiple transactions. So, do a few things and engage the client forever.
- Congratulate both the clients on the successful transaction, followed by a thank you email.
- Share with them your experience and intention for further business.
- Before you ask or urge the client for providing any referral contacts, never forget to offer him referrals for a number of services he/she might need immediately; e.g. electricians, cable providers, milkmen, maids, etc.
- Although agents are not generally accustomed to these strategies, I highly recommend reminding your past clients your services on every anniversary of the transaction you had made.
6- How to Stay Abreast with the Market Trends?
I know it’s a cliched piece of advice when you urge any agent for staying aware of the real estate market. Believe me, more than half of them won’t know how to do it. Or, maybe they would take an entire city for a single real estate market, which eventually blows them off. Unless you know your profession and field intelligently, you would languish here.
Best ways of keeping the market on your fingertips
i. Know your locality as much as possible
Drive through different areas of your locality and understand the architecture, infrastructure, common issues and amenities, and socio-economic demographics. Next time, when you are bound to visit these corners with your clients; you will be at a better end to describe him/her thoroughly.
Moreover, you might come across various houses advertised for renting or selling and can include them into your listing. Meet the owners and extract as much information as possible about all the posed challenges and available opportunities.
ii. Meet public and private management to know about future development
While doing sightseeing of your locality, if any infrastructural construction comes to your knowledge, inquire about the management and try to get maximum information about the project(s). It will give you an utmost leverage that you can exercise while sharing information about CMA and future market value of the concerned area.
iii. Stay updated through media
I re-emphasize upon the importance of being aware of every minor detail about the real estate market. You can get all such information from concerned organizations (CDA, FBR, etc.) and other sources like property portals, social media, print and electronic media, and property festivals. It’ll take just a few minutes of yours to skim through the information and get to know about various developments.
iv. What to do if a property doesn’t get sold?
Urge your client to improve curb appeal (surroundings and exterior context) of the property, which really works; though we often fail to give attention to such details. Or, in worst cases, convince your client through comparative market analysis and data of recent transactions that the price of the property should be reviewed, as slow market or unreasonably priced property will seldom attract any good offers.
v. What do you do that others don’t?
Write down all the activities/practices that generally take place during any real estate transaction (deal); e.g. prospecting, pitching, buying and selling, finding referrals, etc. Then take a moment and compare your approach against every activity. If you find similarities, you are in trouble.
You must modernize your professional approach with at least one brand new technique for every process/activity so that you stand alone among all.
A successful real estate agent competes with himself. In fact, he tries to run a step ahead of himself. In this blog, very basic qualities of a millionaire real estate agent were discussed which will be extended in other articles.
Do let us know what needs to be included or taken out.
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