One topic that comes up over and over again with both of those groups is things that they wish they had known when they first started selling real estate.
How they would've done all of these things differently but I try to explain that it's kinda part of the journey. You have to really experience those things to appreciate them.
That's what I tell veterans to make them feel a little better but if you're a newbie or thinking of getting started selling real estate, by all means, you should be learning from other people's mistakes.
Lucky for you, seasoned veterans love to talk about things they wish they had known or had done differently.
So I put together this summary of the things people have shared with me, combined with the mistakes that I've personally made as well as the mistakes we see being made every week through our work with agents here at CompleteAgent and our real estate brokerage, RE/MAX Real Estate Associates.
Here are the Top 25 things top producers wish they knew when they started selling real estate:
1. Start day one with a database
Yes, moment one. Scrape together every contact you have and compile it into one centralized CRM (Contact Relationship Manager). Take it one step further and segment your contacts as much as possible (how they know you, homeowners, renters, etc.)
This is your databank. Feed it, mine it, milk it.
2. Lead Generate Every Day
Without consistency in lead generation, there won’t be consistency in your income.
Never stop. Many agents get “caught up in the deal” and stop doing what brought them that business in the first place.
Build lead generating activities into your time blocks and get them done.
3. Choose 3-4 Sources of Primary Business
The man who chases too many rabbits catches none. Find your sweet spot and work it for all it’s worth. Take into consideration your natural talents and what you’ll enjoy doing.
Much of what you’ll do depends on your marketing budget, but that just means you may to have to get a little more creative and pay with some sweat equity in the beginning.
You should be experimenting and casting a wide net, it’s more about finding what works for you and maximizing it.
4. Get Active on Social Media
There is gold in social media. After all, that’s where all the people are (and interact). No, I’m not saying blast your newest listing or broadcast to “Like my page” (eww) or say “hire me” every hour either.
Start now and act as a resource for your audience and post engaging content and watch the inbound lead generation feed your business.
5. Whatever You Do, Do It Consistently
Consistency will win every time. Build vital activities into your time blocks and track results often. Use a Perfect Daily Schedule to keep you focused and live and die by your calendar.
“It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do consistently.”
– Anthony Robbins
6. Choose Your Office Wisely
Explore your options and interview with at least 3-5 different offices to get a feel for the way your market works. Try to check off the whole real estate brokerage spectrum meaning, visit a large brand name office and a local boutique and everything in between.
The people in your office can be just as responsible for your success as they are for your failure.
If you're in the Houston area, I invite you to come check out my brokerage RE/MAX Real Estate Associates for a FREE strategy session and a cup of coffee, on me.
7. Start With Some Savings
The average new agents time to their first closing is all over the place. We've had some agents start off with friends ready to buy and even the ones who just got lucky on property time and wrote a contract in the first few days.
Remember, the average time it takes to see your commission is 30-45 days after contract acceptance, so even if you do write a contract on your very first day, you won't see that check for at least another month usually.
With this in mind, try to have at least 2-3 months of cash reserves saved up to hold you over until you start closing deals.
8. Avoid Loans & Credit Cards
Don’t have to dig yourself out of a hole. It’s not good practice and it can really hurt your ROI if you purchased marketing products on your card.
There are ways to be “ballin’ on a budget” so leverage those before maxing out your marketing budget with money you don’t have (yet).
9. Use Quickbooks Self-Employed
We're all here to make money right? Your cash flow is the bloodline of your business and financial awareness is key. You’re a business owner so start running your books like one.
For less than $10/month you can save yourself thousands of dollars in taxes, countless sleepless nights and a major IRS headache by just using Quickbooks Self-Employed.
Take my word for it as someone who was audited by the IRS when I was 24 and again when I was 25. Spend the little money and start using it. The app even automagically tracks your mileage…
10. Buy Rental Properties
If you make it a goal to buy one rental property per year and can even just buy one every other year, you will retire rich.
Rental properties are the key to building real wealth and selling real estate.
And it's not as hard or as crazy at it sounds to save up and put $20-30k towards an investment property if you're closing at least 2 deals a month.
As a Realtor, you'll often times come across amazing investment opportunities. When those deals come up, if you can afford it, you should make the seller an offer and buy that property.
Just be sure to disclose everything and sell them on the fact that they can sell their home off-market and won't have to deal with random people walking through their home.
11. Hire a Virtual Assistant
The right virtual assistant with clear systems and processes can explode your business and change your life. I must put an emphasis on the right virtual assistant who is trained well on your systems.
Before you hire a virtual assistant though you should have your systems and processes bulletproof and documented. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting time and money on a virtual assistant who isn't generating a return on your investment.
12. Find a Mentor(s)
The key to finding a mentor is to look for someone that has done what you want to do. This person has a life like you want to live or a business like you want to own.
By watching and learning from them, you could duplicate that success. Mentors usually love to mentor others.
13. Adopt a Learning Mindset
The more you learn, the more you earn. The fact that you're reading this says a lot about your mindset and your future as a real estate agent. Feeding your mind and sharpening your skills will improve the confidence and competence you need to be the pro that leads a transaction.
Keep in mind training is useless without action. Make a habit of learning and implementing.
14. Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
Plug into an environment conducive to your success. Who you surround yourself with is who you become. We are huge believers in the power of peer influence.
This tip doubles-down on choosing the right office. The culture is so important because a toxic workplace environment can be really bad for you and your business.
15. Master Pricing & Seller Consultations
Get comfortable talking with sellers and don't be afraid to have candid conversations about pricing. Knowing the data can give you superhuman confidence when justifying your pricing recommendation to misinformed sellers.
So do your homework before every listing consultation and arm yourself for success.
Overpricing homes is only ever OK if you have a price reduction schedule in place.
16. Master Scripts, Especially Objections & Commission Handlers
True sales professionals know that objections are just opportunities to show your value and make your prospect feel comfortable enough to make the deal.
Find a role-playing partner and practice playing devil's advocate for each other by stating common objections. This is a great way to practice and find your unique voice on the best objection handlers.
17. Join Social Groups For Great Learning
There are some huge Facebook groups specifically for agents and sales people that are jam-packed with valuable life-lessons and more.
Click here to join our CompleteAgent Mastermind Group where the members see content before the public.
18. Define & Establish a Wow Client Experience
From the first point of contact, customer service is brought into the conversation. You MUST create a WOW experience to have raving fanatics that won’t forget about you and, more importantly, feed you referrals.
19. Create Your MVVB
Your MVVB defines your Mission, Vision, Values, and Beliefs. Define your mantra and let all of your actions lead you towards your vision.
20. Design Your Brand
This may change as you go through growth or it may remain the same. Use the MVVBP to help launch your brand. This means a custom email handle, sexy website with custom domain, logo, etc.
You may be a one-person operation (for now) but you are still a business owner. Creating a brand allows you to have consistency in your client experiences and gives you an image larger than yourself.
Think about your target audience and try to build your brand around what kind of business they would work with.
21. Ask For (Borderline Demand) Reviews
Let your clients know from day 1 that you will be working towards providing a 5-star service and if they are satisfied to please leave you a 5-star review when you close. Convey that this helps your business tremendously.
You can even throw client appreciation parties to show them how grateful you are to have worked with them.
22. Track Early & Often
The sooner you track the quicker it will become a habit. Start several columns and begin tracking the following: lead sources, contacts made, appointments, escrows, closings (total sales volume, commission, source).
If you don’t have a bookkeeper yet, start a new sheet and track where you spend your money. When you are ready, dive in and learn even more numbers you will want to track, but start with the basics.
Even if you don’t know what to do with the data, over time the golden nuggets will reveal themselves.
23. Treat Your Business Like a Business
You are your own business. Business owners have a mindset that is different than a standard “salesperson”.
A business person has a profit and loss statement, a business plan, a brand, an MVVBP, and shows up to run their business on a regular basis.
This change holds you to a higher standard and your clients will see that you are a business professional rather than “an agent” who has a license to open doors.
24. Stay Fit & Healthy
Accomplishing your goals will require a lot of energy and building a healthy business takes a healthy mind and body.
It's really easy to resort to picking up fast food when you're on the road and in-between showings but resist the urge and opt for something healthy instead.
Not only does consistently working out make you feel better and more energized throughout the day, the gym is a great place to mingle with like-minded people and potential prospects.
25. Have a Passion For What You Do
If you don’t love it, you’ll leave it. Find the joy in helping guide people through the most difficult and important transaction of their life.
Real estate is basic, but it’s not easy by any means.
Remember how awesome your job is and the amazing opportunities being your own boss creates.
26. Live In Abundance & Never Fear to Lose a Deal
I watch agent after agent fall apart emotionally when a deal ends suddenly. They stop lead generating and stop actively pursuing new clients or cultivating existing leads to close this one deal.
Live by your time blocks and don’t stop doing all the things that brought that business your way in the first place. There are 782,643 homes in Houston. Plenty more where that came from.
27. Plan Your Days Off & Family Time in Advance
Hitting the reset button is important. Plan days off in advance and stick to your calendar.
If your clients see you a professional, they will respect the boundaries you’ve set and your time off so don’t be scared to communicate your days off with them.
28. Patience Is a Virtue
Real estate is one of the greatest careers in the world and it can afford you an amazing lifestyle full of freedom but it's not easy.
Real estate is simple but not easy and success is not gonna happen overnight.
Be patient and trust in the process, but rest assured that if you continue to work hard, feed your mind and treat your clients like gold, everything will fall into place.
Bonus Tip: You Can Fire Your Clients
Always remember that you don't have to work with anyone that you don't want to work with. Don't let one client waste your time or worse, cause you unnecessary stress.
I can tell you that after 10 years of selling real estate, I didn't really start having fun until I learned when to fire clients and walk away.
No amount of commission is worth your happiness and your health (stress kills!).
So always remember, don't be afraid to fire a client (or refer them out).