There is this misconception that selling real estate is easy — that being a rockstar real estate agent means you get your license, print up some business cards, and poof! You’re making the big bucks instantly. All you have to do is list houses for sale, then sit back and rake in the cash.
Except real life gets in the way of this fantasy. Getting your license isn’t all that hard, which means that just about anyone can do it. But getting a license doesn’t automatically make you a rockstar real estate agent — or make any money.
So how do you get rockstar status? Here are 9 tips (plus some suggestions from your client) to boost your real estate career into the stratosphere.
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1. Answer the Phone
I’m licensed in Colorado. I’m an investor, and I’ve been buying houses since before dirt was invested. I’ve made my share of phone calls to real estate agents for a variety of reasons.
With the advent of Caller ID, there is now no need to let your phone go to voicemail in order to collect a name and phone number. Yet every single time I have ever called another agent, it goes directly to voicemail.
Yes, there are times when you cannot answer your phone. I get that and have no issue with leaving a message if you’re actually busy.
But almost without fail, I get an immediate call back. About 99 percent of the time, they haven’t listened to the voicemail I left, either.
If you want to be a rockstar real estate agent, if you REALLY want to stand out from the crowd, answer your phone.
2. Return Emails
The not-answering-the-phone thing is so prevalent, I have turned to email. I don’t want to wake anyone up, and I get up super-early. So I sit down and email while I’m drinking my coffee in the morning. I hit send, then crickets. Nothing. No response, ever.
Not never, but just as often as not, my email goes ignored. This prompts a phone call, voicemail, and immediate callback, where the email recipient professes that they never received the note. Sigh.
Go through your email every day. Respond to everything every day.
3. Create a Killer Marketing Plan
“To be a rock star agent, you need a strong business and marketing plan. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and proactively promote yourself through networking, social media and target marketing,” says Chris Dickson, Real Estate Manager with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, The Preferred Realty.
Great advice, Chris. I’ll add onto it and say that while every property is different, there are a lot of similarities, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time you have a new listing. Come up with a killer marketing plan, including social media, and technology, as well as more traditional methods like newspaper and direct mail. Not everyone is online, and you want to contact as many people as possible — especially if your competition is only targeting the online market.
4. Become a Social Media Expert
Hand in hand with your killer marketing plan is being a social media expert. Says John R. Lyons from John Lyons Real Estate, “Master social media and leverage your videos on all social platforms. The more exposure and good content you produce will elevate the market’s perception on your business.”
Ryan Fitzgerald of Raleigh Realty credits his “…commitment to technology and online marketing strategies” to his success. “While other companies are wasting time with paper ads and TV commercials, I’m on every Facebook newsfeed between the hours of 6:00-9:00 p.m. when people are most likely to search homes for sale. We use Facebook ads to 1. capture traffic and 2. retarget that captured traffic with branding through retargeting pixels so they are constantly seeing my brand.
“Today we are doing nearly 5 new leads a day from our website, with 20% growth in traffic nearly every month!
“If you want to become a superstar real estate agent, you’ll need to have an incredible work ethic and master a lead generation strategy that works for you! For me, that was online marketing.”
5. Listen to Your Clients’ Needs
“My most important advice would be to listen to your clients’ needs and work towards helping them achieve those goals. Too many agents are more concerned about their own financial gain or success. They don’t take the time to listen to their clients with the understanding that helping them meet their goals with compassion, honesty, and ethics and coming from a place of educating them will result in the success you’re searching for,” recommends Peter Boscas, Broker and Principal Owner of Red Cedar Real Estate.
6. Build Your Client Relationships
Christopher Leavitt of Douglas Elliman Real Estate says the number one reason he is a superstar real estate broker is because of his focus on client relationships. Even with his packed schedule, he always takes the time needed to talk to his clients. One of the ways he does this is by never rushing his clients when he’s with them. He also takes every opportunity to learn from every one of his clients. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $5 million or $50 million dollar home — Chris never shortcuts the time his prospects need with him. Chris checks in with his clients on a regular basis and believes in the philosophy of once a client, always a client.
7. Know Your Market
Ben Bacal of Rodeo Realty states, “You need to be knowledgeable about the areas you work in. You need to know everything about the areas you focus on, and when you talk about prices and deals and investment opportunities, be articulate and confident in your answers. Don’t focus on dozens of neighborhoods. Conquer one, two, then move on to the next. It takes years, not months to build an empire. Have patience and stamina.”
Collin Bray of Century 21 Cityside completely agrees. He suggests, “Preview property. Knowledge is power. Know your specific marketplace, who are the other top agents, developers and buildings with amenities. What new restaurants are coming to the area, public transportation, and school systems.”
Knowing your market isn’t just knowing the housing market, but also all the things that affect the housing market.
8. Establish an Amazing Work Ethic
“If you want to become a superstar agent, you have to work harder than any other agent. If you’re not dreaming about the deals and clients you work for, whether it’s a nightmare or fantasy dream come true, you’re not working hard enough,” says Bacal.
Bray agrees, adding, “A superstar is defined as a high-profile and extremely successful performer or athlete. PERFECT! How does an athlete become a professional? It takes years of practice and discipline. That is why so few agents are successful; it’s why becoming a professional athlete is so difficult.”
9. Treat Your Business Like a Business
“You’re a real business, which means you have to promote yourself and your brand, your name, your expertise, and success and accolades everyday, and when you stop doing that, business will stop. You have to spend money to make money like any other business. If you want to be an agent by referrals ONLY, then you don’t have a real thriving day-to-day business full of escrows and deals in motion,” recommends Bacal.
This one is actually the most important — and the least followed. Being a real estate agent is like having your own business. No, it isn’t like having your own business, it IS having your own business.
Yes, you hang your license under your employing broker. Perhaps you even have quotas you need to meet in order to stay at that agency. They might even provide you with leads. But it is your business, and you are 100 percent responsible for your success.
Work on it part-time, and you’ll get part-time results. Work on it full-time, and treat it as the business it is, to realize the best and most profitable results.
Bonus: 10 Quick Tips From Your Client
It’s one thing to read this article and take tips from rockstar agents. That will take you far, for sure. But what are your clients looking for?
Jordan Wirsz, CEO of Savant Investment Partners, shares what he’s looking for in an agent. His main points of advice:
- Don’t pre-judge your clients or potential clients.
- Spend time with them in person.
- Even if you are a kick-butt agent with lots going on, never get the “entitled” and “arrogant” attitude that you have all the good deals, and that if an investor wants good deals, they need to kiss up to YOU.
- Don’t “sell” them on deals. You might think that your job is sales, but it isn’t. Your job is to be trustworthy, smart, and transparent.
- Always, always, always communicate promptly and extremely well.
- Do more than “your job.” Go the extra mile. Help find and coordinate contractors, do your best to find ones that do good work at fair prices, and show the investor that even though your commission is earned, you are their “partner” and looking after them just as you would yourself. This is called integrity.
- Until you become an investor (if you aren’t one already), you’ll never really understand how difficult it is to make a good return on your money. There is an old adage, “Look after the pennies, and the dollars will look out for themselves.”
- Don’t show preferential treatment to yourself or any other investor.
- Show gratitude for the business and the relationship.
- Know that not every “big investor” relationship is a match made in heaven. Over time, you will get to know that investor, develop a relationship with him or her, and sometimes, unfortunately, you will find out that their expectations and treatment of you is not the right fit for you.
Any agent can list a property on the MLS. Any agent can write up an offer. But being just “any” agent isn’t going to get you the referrals and repeat business that is the difference between just being licensed and being a rockstar real estate agent.
Are you a rockstar real estate agent? What do you do that sets you apart from your competition?
Let me know with a comment!