Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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5 Ways for Real Estate Professionals to Grow Their Business

1. Plan for Business Success. You need a Business Plan.  Real estate success is directly linked with how well you market, prospect, and follow-up.  I assume that you know your area, the demographics, the economics, the law, and that you are good with people. 

A Business Plan guides your time, allocates your resources, and helps you decide what you can outsource.  Knowing who you serve is key. You also have to know what actions to take on a day to day basis. A plan gives you clarity so you don’t waste time.  Many entrepreneurs waste a lot of time, especially when they are just starting, because there are so many things to do that you just don’t know where to start.  It is easy to get overwhelmed.  Click here to get the new and improved 5-Minute Business Plan.

2. Be different. People are like cars.  Every car or truck is exactly the same as every other vehicle on the road.  They all have the same basic components – a steering wheel, an engine, and a drink cup holder.  We BUY the car or truck we have based on the different features. We buy based on the little differentiating factors, so be different. 

Many agents are not sure how to find their own product differentiations.  Look at your own situation. Who could best help you? 

Are you best working with…
Seniors who are downsizing?
Military or corporate relocations?
1st time buyers?
People who are ruled by big dogs?
People with 6 or more children?
Retail storefronts in downtown areas?
Office spaces near public transportation? 

Whatever you specialize in, convey that in your marketing materials.  You can STILL serve everyone else, but find your specialty and live it.  Knowing who you serve best defines your business focus, and that focuses your time and resources.  Click here to fill in your 5-Minute Vision plan.  

3. Use your network’s network.  You might call it networking, but is it actually networking if it is not generating business?  Just a thought – stop hanging out with your buddies and calling it networking. Call it what it is – Happy Hour.  Your buddies KNOW you are in real estate. (I mean, they do know what you do, right?) Have they hired you? Are they GOING to hire you? 

They may have bought their home years before and are not going to sell by the time your toddler heads off to college.  They are terrible clients, but they can be awesome referral partners. Let your friends know that you are grateful for referrals, and actively ask for their help. 

“Hey, I know you know I am in residential real estate, but did you know that I specialize in corporate relations?  You work for HighTech XYZ, and they are bringing another 500 people to our area. Would your company be interested in a non-salesy welcome packet of area information or a welcome real estate webinar for their new people?  Do you know who I should contact?”

“I love working with people who are thinking about downsizing.  My goal is to reduce stress for people who can be facing a really tough situation if there are health or other considerations.  As you know, I am really protective of seniors, and I want to make sure they make the best possible decisions. Do you know of anyone I should reach out to?” 

“I really appreciate the mentoring program you are involved with at work/school/church/bowling league.  Would they be interested in a How To Buy a Home seminar? We have great information and groups X, Y, and Z said it was the highlight of their year.”

Be helpful.  Find ways to serve.  Use your friends’ networks.  As one of my friends says,

“If you can’t use your own friends, whose friends can you use?”

4. Stop staring at the phone. It is not going to ring just because you want it to.  You have to do something to make it ring. Click here to review your real estate marketing with the 5-Minute Marketing Plan.

5. Stay Top of Mind. Stay in the right place at the right time. Real estate is about a situation that we economists call a “double coincidence of wants.”  Someone has to want to buy or sell their property, and they have to want you to represent them when they do it.  This is tricky because life events often dictate the timing. Only about 64% of Americans own their own homes. Since the average American buys a house only once in their lifetime, this can be difficult.  You need to be the agent of choice when the timing is right, so you have to stay top of mind all the time.  How do you do that (without being completely obnoxious)? You provide value, education, information, and entertainment in your marketing materials, and you market consistently. 

Some ideas, when you have more time than closings, might include: 

Follow-up on your online leads.  Yes, do it. Today. No it isn’t always fun.  That’s why this is called work.

Develop good relationships with escrow teams. Yes, escrow folks see/know/are irritated by hundreds of real estate professionals, so be that person who takes an interest in them. They know A LOT of people, and they are critical to your successful closings.  Don’t just come to them when you need something. That is like a teenager who only talks to her parents when she wants to borrow the car. Reinforce the relationship.

Be the expert about real estate in your area. Know the not just the real estate developments, the water, the sewage, but know more, such as the businesses moving in and out, the schools, political initiatives, and everything else someone moving to the area would want to know. 

Solidify your expert status by doing the following:

  • Offer to give briefs to schools, churches, community centers, retirement homes, etc. Be great at providing information.
  • Post takeaways from your latest educational event at NAR.  It shows people that you are up-to-date and professional. 
  • Be approachable when people are curious about real estate. 
  • Be GREAT at follow-up.
  • Don’t discount people because they don’t look like buyers or sellers.  They may be buying a home for their parents or children, or they may be coming back from a rodeo. Don’t judge. 

Note: I watched a wealthy farmer walk into a car dealership where he was literally ignored by the sales team because of his appearance.  Huge mistake. He pays cash for a new truck every other year. He left and bought a vehicle an hour later at their competition.

Reach out to past clients:   

  • A phone call to say, “Hey, I was thinking about you.  How are things going? Anything I can help with? Do you need any recommendations for people who can finish that basement?”
  • A handwritten note on the anniversaries of the closing, saying congrats.
  • Drop off a jam or liquid libation on a gift bag on a birthday.
  • Interact online when their children have an accomplishment or when they are celebrating.
  • Send an article they might be interested in – this can be about anything.
  • Email new listings in their neighborhood.
  • Forward new information about community events in their area.

Real estate is about relationships, trust, and timing. That can take years. Countless REALTORS have been contacted by a family member decades after the agent sold the original home. 

Be consistent. (Click here for Mary’s Daily Productivity Sheet). Be persistent, and be great at serving others. This business is a marathon, not a sprint.


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