How To Be A Successful Real Estate Agent: Focus
If you rely solely on new clients to build your business, as the vast majority of real estate agents do, then you are missing one of the most powerful tools to build and maintain your business through both the boom times and the slow times. Recent studies concluded that 88% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent and, 73 percent of purchasers would buy again from the same agent, but only 12 percent do. Why? Because they do not remember the agent’s name.
How To Be A Successful Real Estate Agent
To become a successful real estate agent, it is more and more important in our fast moving society that relationships are developed for both the short term and the long term. Long-term success in real estate is not due to image advertising, sales gimmicks or cold calling. Long term success comes from trust… and, trust is only obtained when someone knows (or is recommended to) you. The National Association of Realtors states that 74 percent of clients come from relationship building. Almost three quarters of all clients are acquired by an agent whom they already know or is referred by a friend. Even though this is how the lion’s share of business is being conducted, only four percent of agents have a marketing system that stays in touch with potential clients consistently. This means that 4 percent of licensed agents capture 74 percent of the market. Without a proven system of follow-up, you are struggling for 26 percent of potential business. Staying in touch with your past customers, clients and everyday sphere of influence will grow your business. To be successful in real estate, you must stop chasing deals and start chasing relationships.
The three (3) “Cs” of Real Estate
- First, you must capture potential clients.
- Next you must cultivate relationships with these people.
- Finally you must convert these relationships into sales. A lead is no good unless you convert it. From your first contact with a potential client, you must be working towards converting them, whether it be quickly (a sale now), more long term or for a referral of someone they know.
What is surprising is how easily Realtors are swayed by the latest gimmick to capture leads, only to learn that it is not a lasting method. Nothing has, or ever will, gain you leads like focusing on those you have done business with in the past or those who know you. Focus on your sphere of influence. Doing so will guarantee you your best leads. The average person’s sphere of influence is 250 people. The average person sells their home every 5.5 to 7 years. This means your sphere of influence alone produces at least 30 leads each and every year.
Are you getting these sales? If not, who is? The agent with the relationship is getting these sales. Repeat, referral and relationship clients are the best type of customers you can have. They are the easiest to deal with and will refer the most business to you. Do the work necessary to capture your sphere of influence, and you’ll find your business growing through referrals and repeat business year after year.
Start With Your Sphere Of Influence
Who makes up your sphere of influence? Schedule time one evening and begin to think of people in the following categories: Past customers, friends, relatives, friends of family, closing attorneys, country club members, lenders, insurance agents, veterinarians, business contacts, co-workers from previous jobs, dry cleaners, contacts from sports club, chiropractors, neighbors, doctors and dentists, accountants, tenants in rentals, bank tellers, barbers/hairstylists, Chamber of Commerce members… , the list is as long as your imagination can make it. Think of anyone you regularly come in contact with, that you might know by sight, if not name. Chances are all or many of these will need your services at one point or another… and, if not them, someone they know.
After identifying your sphere of influence, cultivate relationships with them. Focus on building strong relationships with those you have identified who will know, and help you. When they, or someone they know, have a real estate need (and, statistically, they will be within at least seven years), you are the agent “top of mind.” They will call you.
One caveat here: Cultivating relationships is a must. But it must be done in a manner that is pleasing to them – not what you like (a mistake so many make) but what they like.
This includes consistent touches and periodic useful and meaning gifts. (Sure it costs, but what costs more: This method, or one newspaper ad targeted at no one? Newspaper ads are a hit-and-miss strategy. Yes, you may get a lead, but the cost per exposure is tremendous.)
Invest In A System
There are few systems on the market to help you stay in touch with your clients and build lasting relationships. Dollar for dollar, targeted, consistent postcard mailings is the most cost effective tool available to grow sales and profit and to stay Top of Mind with clients and potential clients. The key, however, is to stand out from the rest of the world that is clamoring for their attention. Each person sees between 3,200 and 3,400 images a day trying to sell them something. You have to be different. And you have to be consistent. That is why the Stay In Touch Follow-up System® was created, thirty years ago. It remains the only proven system, produced totally with this principle in mind.
Good marketing principles say you must be in front of someone 12-17 times for them to remember you. Sending a different postcard every month is a great way of keeping the lines of communication open, showing that you are constantly available and ready to help them when (not if) they are ready to look for a different home. By sending a constant stream of postcards and adding other communication, you will be the first name they think of when the time for a real estate professional comes. Focusing on your sphere, then adding every new contact you make to your focus list will grow your business, and maintain your level of success, far better than hit and miss costly ads. You can count on it.
Converting your relationships to sales is the most important piece to this puzzle. It is conversions that produce dollars. No system can do that for you. You must do it. Do what it takes to know and understand your business. Become a true professional. (But conversion is another subject and I digress… ) Consistent follow-up will produce the leads. It is up to you to convert those leads to sales.
Being a Broker of 40 years I have learned the connection between what is and what can follow. The single most productive and profitable move you’ll make for your business will be finding an effective, proven follow-up system… and, committing to it.
It is important that real estate agents appreciate that there is a greater chance of winning new business by forming relationships before clients decide to move, rather than after they have made this decision. As clients consider options, they also will consider means. To have the best shot at earning a client’s business, you must be “top of mind” before the decision is made.
Cut your workload in half. Start building and maintaining relationships today and watch your business grow. Remember, 95 percent of agents struggle for 10 percent of the business. Now is the time to join the elite, the top producers, who know how important it is to stay in touch with past customers and clients, plus their current sphere of influence.
Wrapping It Up
I have found that the agent who understands this concept, who “gets it,” does nothing more in marketing efforts but work their system. They grow their list constantly and consistently. As they make new contacts, names are added to their sphere list… like clockwork. They are focused! They are systematically growing their business, not leaving it to chance. That is how to become successful in real estate!
There is a fortune – a virtual goldmine – in the simple, consistent and memorable follow-up of persons you know who will refer you, and those who have done business with you in the past. I personally guarantee that.