The New Agent’s Guide to Becoming a Kickass Realtor
So you just got your real estate license. Congrats!
And now you’re wondering what the heck to do next.
I’ve got some good news for you: real estate is actually pretty simple. However, it can also be really overwhelming when you’re new. Real estate is all about building and nurturing relationships.
At the core, it’s a high contact and high touch career. The best Realtors are out there hustling, constantly. Just like running long distance, you have to keep a consistent and steady pace. This business can lift you up and it can beat you down. You might close a couple of deals and feel like you’re on top of the world. But the catch is you have to keep closing deals.
Nobody is going to pass you up because you are too young or too new. Instead, clients are going to overlook you because you lack confidence. You have to have to be sure of yourself. When you get asked the dreaded new Realtor question, “Soooo… how long you been in the biz?” you want to surprise and impress them with your response.
There’s a lot of advice out there on the best way to grow your business. It’s important to figure out what works for you. If I were getting back into real estate today, here’s what I would do to hit the ground running.
Get A Mentor
This is your first lesson in relationship building. Find a top producer and pursue them. If you don’t know a top producer, start by asking your broker for a few recommendations and go from there.
Having a mentor gives you a firsthand look at what being a Realtor is all about (trust me, it’s not as glamorous as HGTV makes it out to be). This is the stuff they don’t teach you in school (or when studying for your license), and it’s important to soak up as much information as you can.
Here’s some sample questions you might want to ask your mentor:
- What obstacles should I expect?
- What’s your most successful marketing tactic?
- How do you turn your leads into clients?
- How do you schedule your day and manage your time?
- What’s your biggest waste of time?
- What’s your biggest struggle?
- What resources do you recommend to help me grow and succeed?
Don’t be afraid to ask a top producer to coffee or lunch and pick their brain. Most experienced agents will want to share their knowledge (and show off how good they are). There are no secrets in real estate; any agent worth their salt will tell you that. Just like there is no such thing as six-second abs. Real estate is hard work and top producers are successful because they hustle, not because they have a secret formula.
If you can’t convince an experienced agent to meet with you for coffee, then how are you going to convince a client that you are the best Realtor? Remember, real estate is all about relationship building and this is your first opportunity.
However, if an experienced agent is willing to help you, be considerate of their time. You have to have to provide value (just like with clients). Bring them coffee to say “thanks,” and send them a handwritten note after you meet. You want to get to the point where that Realtor is more than happy to be your go to person when you have a question.
Watch My Videos
I’ve made it my mission to help agents be successful. For the past several years I’ve been documenting my processes and fielding questions from agents just like you, who want to learn how to create successful real estate businesses.
And while I’m not a coach, I articulate values and tactics that have proven success. I offer a unique perspective to growing a referral-based business that’s focused on unmatched customer service.
The best part? My website and videos are available 24/7, free of charge. You can search just about any real estate topic and find tons of great information. You can also reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or email. I make it a priority to respond to anyone looking for advice.
Make A Business Plan
A business plan is a written version of your goals. If you want to have a successful business, then you need to have a business plan. Think of it like a map that details all the different steps you need to reach your goals.
If the task of creating a business plan seems overwhelming, then you’re not alone. Business plans are dreaded by many, but they don’t have to be these huge analytical and evaluative reports. My business plan is a one-page flowchart. Write down your goals and figure out what you need to do to make them happen.
Know The Contract
You are responsible for helping people make the biggest purchase of their life so you better know what you’re talking about. The way you handle the contract will set the tone for the rest of the transaction.
Now, I don’t expect you to know every nook and cranny. You don’t need to take a course in contract law. But you do need to be familiar with each part of the contract. You want to be able walk your client through what they are signing with confidence that you know what you’re talking about.
Contracts cover a ton of information. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the minutiae; there’s a lot of jargon and boilerplate terminology (definitions and explanations of language). So don’t try to tackle the whole thing at once. I suggest you break the contract up and go through it piece by piece.
The main sections of the contract include
- The offer
- The agencies involved in the transaction
- The financial terms and fiduciary responsibilities
- The timelines
- The inspections and disclosures
As you begin reading through it, you’ll definitely have questions–a great opportunity to reach out to your mentor or broker for clarification. But when you feel like you might have a good grasp on the contract, ask your mentor to test you with different scenarios. This way you can practice writing up various contracts and explaining each section.
The real understanding comes from actually doing it. You might not have 30 transactions under your belt. You might not even have one transaction under your belt, and that’s okay. But if you’re confident and you can explain the fine print, your clients will trust you.
Like I said, it’s okay if you don’t know everything. However, if your client asks a question and you are unsure of the answer, you never want to give the wrong answer. Or worse, tell them you don’t know. When you’ve done your homework and taken the time to be familiar with the contract, you will be able to better interpret the information. Let your client know that you’re going to double check and get back to them.
Bonus Tip: Grow Your Sphere Of Influence
The number one source of business for Realtors is referrals. Approximately 75 percent of an agent’s business comes from referrals and word of mouth, so it’s incredibly important to reach out to your sphere of influence and stay in contact. Your sphere includes everyone from your friends to your family to the barista at your favorite coffee shop. Start checking in and reestablishing existing relationships. These are the people who already know you, love you and and will tell their friends that they know an awesome real estate agent (you!).
Not sure where to start? I outlined and road-mapped everything I did in my real estate business, and in doing so I created the most comprehensive course, specifically designed for real estate agents. I give you everything you need to Create a Million Dollar Real Estate Business.
How to Succeed in Your First 90 Days in Real Estate
I found huge success by building a referral based business. I focused on outstanding customer service and consistency. That mindset took me from closing just a few homes a year to averaging 300+ transactions as an individual and 900+ transactions as a team.
In addition to the 4 tips I mentioned above, here’s a rundown of what I would be focusing on for the first 30, 60 and 90 days as a new agent.
First 30 Days
The first 30 days are all about laying the foundation. You have to start establishing your presence, building your sphere and implementing good business practices.
Just like when you interview for a job, you wan to make sure that your online presence is on point. Google your name, review your social media sites. Double check your privacy settings. But honestly, the best practice is to not post anything that you wouldn’t want a client or colleague to see.
WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS
The next step is knowing what you want out of your real estate business. You need to know your goals (AKA how much money you want to make) and you need to make a plan on what you have to do to reach your goals. This is your opportunity to dream, to think big and then execute. I call these goals but really, it’s a more digestible way to say “business plan.” The problem with business plans is that they seem cumbersome and time-consuming. But they don’t have to be.
I created a super simple, easy-to-use template that will walk you through your goals and the steps you need to take to reach your goals. Once you figure out your goals, print them out, post them in front of you and give copies to your mentor, your broker and a significant other. Goals are only as good as your accountability.
CHOOSE A BROKERAGE
Knowing what you want will help you decide on a brokerage to work with. There are a lot of choices, ranging from big franchises to small boutiques, and each one has a different set of pros and cons. Some offer a lot of training opportunities, others may have a better commission split. Create a list of questions and interview several different brokerages before making a decision.
MANAGE YOUR TIME
Your success lies in your ability to execute but also to use your time wisely. Spending too much time on busy work is unacceptable. You should be spending the majority of your time doing lead generating tasks… because if you don’t have any leads, you aren’t making any money. This time management method helped me plan the month, schedule the week and prioritize each day.
ACQUIRE QUALITY LEADS
When you’re new, you have to generate leads. You need to establish yourself as a Realtor and you need to make sure that everyone you interact with knows that you’re in real estate. The 30 Day Challenge is 30 days of lead generating activities to give your business a kick in the pants. Don’t resort to buying leads. They’re cold. Brrrrrr! Cold leads don’t know you from the next Realtor. The 30 Day Challenge will help you get your name out into your community and generate quality leads.
INVEST IN YOURSELF
If all this so far sounds obvious and you’ve got it covered, I recommend getting started with this course. It’s my step by step guide on how I built a million dollar real estate business. It walks you through defining who is in your sphere of influence and how to connect with them, plus you’ll learn systems and routines to strengthen these relationships and maintain them, which will turn you into a referral-generating machine!
Days 30 – 60
Once you have established the basics (and hopefully have some leads to work with), it’s time to create systems and put processes in place.
KNOW YOUR CLIENT
No promises but if you execute on the first 30 days, you might find yourself with your first buyer. Before you get too excited and start showing them homes, you want to make sure to pre-qualify your buyers. Why? You want to make sure they are ready, willing and able to purchase a home, so you don’t get in a situation where you are driving them around, showing them homes they have no intention of buying. Pre-qualification is not as scary as it sounds… it isn’t about investigating their financials (leave that to the lender!). Instead, it simply helps you figure out what they are looking for and how you can best serve them.
DELIVER SUPERIOR CLIENT SERVICE
Speaking of service, I’m really big on exceeding my client’s expectations and I did this by providing incredible service before, during, and after the transaction. Instead of purchasing a closing gift or home warranty, I put that money towards items like delivering pizza on moving day, giant thank you cards, and bottles of champagne when their loan was approved. I call it my Ty’s 35 and I implemented these items for every buyer and every seller. These little tasks weren’t hard or terribly expensive but they made a big impact on my clients… more than a set of steak knives anyway!
REALLY KNOW YOUR CLIENT
Part of the Ty’s 35 was my All About You form. It allowed me to get to know my clients on a personal level so I could better serve and engage with them. Even if you are working with a friend or family member, you should still implement the All About You form. You never know what you might learn!
HOW TO BE CONSISTENT
A word of advice as you start implementing fantastic client service. You can’t just do one thing one time, to one client, and expect results. It’s crucial that you do many things, over and over, to every single client. You have to create a system and consistently deliver. The ROI won’t be instantaneous but you will get positive feedback. Each time you create a positive experience for a client, it plants a seed. Those seeds, when cared for, eventually grow into referrals, which in turn means more seeds are planted and even more referrals grow. Use that that as your motivation to continue to provide value.
Days 60 – 90
By now you should have a routine down. You’re focusing on generating leads and being consistent. In the next couple of months, you should continue to hone your skills and focus on converting leads into clients.
KILLER OPEN HOUSES
Open houses are a killer way to get tons of leads. You have to maximize the potential of open houses and if you aren’t making the most of them, you’re simply wasting your time. The number one thing you can do to ensure that you are making the most of your time is to be prepared. You should be canvassing the neighborhood, leveraging social media and baking cookies. Trust me, fresh baked cookies work like a charm! This Open House Kit dives into the details of hosting a killer open houses–from what you need to pack to using Facebook to get even more people through the door.
ARTICULATE YOUR VALUE
When you’re a new agent, it’s likely that you won’t have impressive stats to convince sellers you can get the job done. Instead, you have to be able to articulate your value and let potential clients know that you can deliver and you’re the best for the job. Your unique value proposition is truly the best tool you can use to turn leads into clients.
CONNECT WITH VENDORS
I’ve said it many times already, but referrals are the most effective way to increase your business. I found that building relationships with vendors was another underutilized way to get referrals. It’s a win-win situation when you have a reputable loan officer, dry cleaner or pizza parlor to refer your clients to and those businesses have an awesome Realtor that they can recommend. Building relationships with vendors can feel a bit daunting so I put together The Vendor Fantasy League to help you tackle the task. The VFL is one of the most powerful trainings you can implement but it takes dedication and accountability. If you are driven and want to see your business grow exponentially, you have to prioritize vendors.
FAQs for New Agents
I know you probably have a ton of questions, or maybe you’re so overloaded with info at this point that you aren’t sure what else to ask. Lucky for you, I answer questions from real estate agents every day, and many of them are geared towards new agents just like you. Here are some of the questions I get asked the most:
If you have a question that isn’t included in this list, please reach out to me. I’ll continue to update this guide as I create more content to ensure new agents have every resource they need to be successful. I want you to crush it in this industry because it truly is the best career in the world.
Good luck out there!