Focus and Grow Your Business as a RealtorMay 30, 2023
Let's openly acknowledge a difficult reality in the real estate industry for a moment: the failure rate is alarming. Estimates are that the failure rate is 80-87%. That means that, of the 100 people who start this business every year, only 12-20 will make it. This may seem very negative, but in fact, it is the reality of the career path we chose. How do we use this information to help agents become more successful?
I have interviewed successful agents from all around the country about this very issue. When I ask them why they think the failure rate among real estate agents might be so high, an almost universal response is this: many people coming into the industry have no business management experience. How can one be expected to run a successful business when they have zero experience, and very little training, in doing so? You may be well-versed in the entire real estate process from start to finish. You might have a deep wellspring of working knowledge into how to successfully navigate a real estate transaction, how to build and maintain relationships, and how to stay top of mind with your sphere. But if you don't know how to operate a business, then that knowledge might be all for naught.
So, how do you become a successful real estate business owner? Let's start with what NOT to do.
HOW (NOT) TO RUN YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS
As business owners, we have to deal with goals, finances, taxes, marketing, growth, and a slew of other things. It is not as simple as getting licensed and suddenly the phone magically rings. Many agents are relying on their friends and family to supply all of their business; but you might be surprised to find out that friends and family will often use another agent in order to not mix business and personal. If you are relying on word of mouth to spread about your excellent services, you'll find that it can take years for this to become a reliable lead generation strategy.
Seasoned real estate agents know that, in order to see daily, consistent growth in your real estate business, you need to build an action plan from day one. This action plan should be all-encompassing, and should include things like having your own website, creating sound marketing strategies, utilizing search engine optimization wherever you can to extend your reach, knowing your target audience and structuring your content to attract and maintain their attention, writing blog posts, networking with other businesses in your area, and any other creative ways you can think of to get in front of your potential clients. This is all in addition to the usual lead generation activities, such as attending networking events, hosting open houses, using email drip campaigns, print marketing, running Google Ads, building your personal brand as the go to agent in your area, and of course, maintaining the right mindset.
If your lead generation strategy is done with little thought and planning, this will lead to burnout and frustration. To be a successful real estate agent, it is imperative that you understand how to approach your day from a business planning standpoint. This often begins with how you handle your paycheck when you get your hands on it. Below are some expert tips on how you can turn your paycheck into more money and more deals flowing your way.
SEASONED REAL ESTATE AGENTS BUDGET
Real estate professionals that have been in the industry long enough know that their commissions aren't just there for the spending. Wise real estate agents work hard to make their money work for them. Once you've paid your broker or lead generation platform, whatever you have left should be further broken down by where it should be directed in order to reach clients and propel your marketing plan forward. What makes sense for you here? Can you afford to spend money on more leads? Can you add new marketing materials to your arsenal? Perhaps you can boost your social media presence, run Google Ads, hire a virtual assistant, or invest time into writing a blog post. Whatever is on your to do list, make sure it's planned ahead of time. If not, you run the risk of repeating the mistakes of other agents, especially new agents, which is being pulled in so many directions that eventually you just give up.
Part of a sound business plan is knowing that sometimes you won't get to keep most of your paycheck. Being a business owner means you understand that, in order to grow your real estate business, you must invest in it. You must understand that there will be weeks, maybe months, without a paycheck. In order to succeed in real estate sales, you need to you have funds in reserve, and you need to assign your dollars to a specific category. Then, you need to stick to that plan. If more agents would employ this strategy, the success rate would skyrocket!
Yes, it is tough to spend money in order to make money. But to be a successful real estate agent, you need to adopt a business owner's perspective, which will help you to have the right mindset to propel you forward.
I’ve made a ton of money. I’ve lost a ton of money. I have enjoyed a fat bank account and I also have had to scramble to buy milk. I've been in the real estate business when there were real estate leads coming out my ears, and I've also seen markets where seller leads and buyer leads were scarce. With all of the experience I've had, the most important thing I've learned is that it can take money to make more money. But there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. The wrong way is to throw money at whatever jumps out at you, but not really commit to any of it. The right way is to do a little research, decide what works best for you, and commit to that plan.
HOW TO MEET THE CHALLENGE
Plan for Fluctuations
As I've worked on my own real estate business over the years, I've seen many peaks and valleys come and go. It seemed when I was at the bottom of the barrel, there was another bottom and the bottom I just experienced was a false bottom. This is the point where other agents often give up. When they don't have the resources to continue along with their business plan, they find themselves in a tough spot. They often don't have good time management skills, the money is running out, and burnout is imminent. Add to this market fluctuations and uncertainty, and you have a recipe for disaster. An important lesson to learn in this business is to stop worrying about today’s sale and start to conceptualizing each current real estate sale as a stepping stone toward the next one.
Prepare for Struggle, Hope for Growth
When I was in the place where I was constantly struggling to find more deals to keep the business running, I realized that I didn't know what I didn't know. I needed to close the gap between what the seasoned real estate professional knew and what I knew. I continued to push forward, learning about my business and the required actions to get to my goal. I became literate in business finances. I continued to learn about running a business and how to use my money to make more money.
It then dawned on me: for every false bottom there is also an infinite top. Positioning my thoughts and energy on being a good business manager became the perfect motivating factor to increasing my production while reducing work hours.
Efficiency is profit. What do you spend most of your time doing? Chances are that you're spending a lot of time in low yield activities, or things that don't directly bring you home sales and other income. Whether I've worked as a solo agent or as a team member, I have always worked on building my own business by focusing on high yield activities.
High yield activities include making calls to prospective clients and past clients, calling about expired listings and FSBO (for sale by owner) properties, and generally doing the simple things that most agents don't want to do or forget to do. When you are in high yield mode, you are making sales. When you are in low yield mode, you are creating a marketing campaign of some kind, in an effort to bring in new clients in the future. This might involve running ads to potential buyers or sellers, perfecting your email marketing, producing video tours, getting your finances in order, and organizing data.
Take a look at how you are spending your time every day as you work to grow your real estate business. Are you spending more time on low yield activities? If so, you need to restructure how you're prioritizing your activities. Are you spending most of your time on high yield activities, and have been doing so consistently, and are still not seeing results over time? Consider choosing a new high yield activity instead. But don't give up on the first ones you've tried until you've given them enough time to get off the ground. Otherwise you run the risk of flitting from one activity to the next, and nothing has a chance to materialize. This would be like planting a garden and waiting a few weeks for the harvest, without giving the plants the time and attention they need to fully grow.
Build Your Personal Brand
Part of working smarter involves not only focusing more on high yield activities, but also creating a more solid and consistent low yield activity strategy. It's easy to get lost in the weeds of how to stand out in real estate. The best way to cut through the noise is to think about how you are going to build your own brand.
Nowadays, real estate agents need to consider themselves so much more than just real estate agents. They need to think of themselves more as a media company. To succeed in creating a lead generation strategy as a media company, you will want to start with a social media strategy that you can actually maintain consistently and a real estate video series that your target audience, such as locals and potential buyers, will find valuable. Chose which social media platforms you will post to, what creative ways you'll get in front of them, and how often you'll post. Consider writing a blog, creating a podcast, networking with other businesses, creating video tours of your listings, and generating more leads through becoming the real estate agent to watch in your area.
This can all become very overwhelming if you're not strategic in planning and executing your marketing strategy. Many agents will give up on a strategy like this long before they ever give it enough time to work for them. If you're feeling overwhelmed at the thought of doing this on your own, consider partnering with others to help you execute your strategy. Explore My Town is a complete package for the business savvy real estate agent who is looking to grow their business in this manner. They help real estate agents plan and execute a comprehensive video marketing plan, because no one can do all of this alone. If you'd like to learn more, click here.
Keep Your Focus on YOU
One of the most important things I did when learning to think like a business owner is to stop comparing myself to others. If I looked too far ahead of where I currently was, or at the success of other real estate agents, I would often get discouraged. I saw others posting about their most recent home sales, awards they'd won, fancy cars they were buying, and I often felt like I must be doing something wrong to not already be where they were. But I soon learned to stop caring about awards, titles, volume, letters or any of the other distractions. Because guess what? Your clients don’t give a crap if you won an award! They far prefer to be entertained by your content, to see your personality shine through your videos with your community engagement, and to know that, when it's their turn to enter the market as first time buyers or sellers, that you will be there with your expertise to help them get exactly what they want.
Remember that you are only in competition with yourself. Did the real estate agent who just bought a Mercedes start at the same time you did, with the same resources you did? I guarantee they did not! So why are you comparing yourself to an impossible standard? See what your real estate sales were this month compared with last month, this quarter compared with last quarter, this year compared with last year. Keep market fluctuations in mind, and then look at the data. That is the race you want to win; the one against yourself!
ADJUST YOUR FOCUS
When I was a struggling agent, I unplugged my TV. I replaced TV time with low yield activity time. Eliminating unnecessary distractions allowed me to spend more time with my family while building my business. Many of us have bad habits that we simply don't want to let go of. These bad habits can often be a drain on our time, attention, and resources, and sadly, most people don’t want to sacrifice their comforts or their bad habits in order to reach their goals.
If you want a life by design, then you are going to have to sacrifice something. You are going to have to grow as a person, as a manager, and as a business owner.
Be an Empowered Real Estate Agent
Never stop learning. Be engaged in your real estate business. Make a plan and stick to it. And if you need help formulating a plan for your real estate business, reach out to me so I can help you. Our team at Explore My Town is filled with experts in search engine optimization, thumbnails, video marketing, content marketing, video editing, scripting, social media content creation, blog writing, and more. We can help you create an overall strategy and take care of the details you don't have time for, so you can make time for more important things.
If you would like to learn more about Explore My Town and what we offer please visit
Til next time,