As real estate professionals, we often overlook the fact that we’re business owners. Whether we’re independent agents or work with one of the big brokerage firms, we own a business and need to create a plan to achieve goals for growth. Establishing goals, setting up rules of how we’ll get clients, and putting together processes and systems will guide our business into what we envision.
The most successful agents understand that to make their business grow that they have to work on their business a little almost every day. They know they aren’t simply working another job. They put on their entrepreneur’s hat and often follow a blueprint for building their company. Then, they follow steps each day and work toward achieving the grand goal. To help you get in the right mindset, here are the top 7 steps for building your business blueprint and, ultimately, your business itself:
#1 Market your product
Your first job as a small business owner of any type is to get customers to buy your product so you have revenue. Opening up your business, having an office, or creating a website isn’t like the Field of Dreams. Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. Getting your license is a big achievement but any seasoned agent knows you have to build a steady stream of clients to get to the top producer strata and make the 6- and 7-figure annual incomes that we all dream of. This means that all marketing should be done with direct response in mind because a small business must focus on return on investment when the budget is scarce.
We engage in guerilla marketing tactics that are low-cost, like sphere of influence marketing. This helps us build the foundation of our customer database in order to have an exclusive list to market to until they buy or die. For now, let’s focus on having this list deliver our first clients so we can get some money to keep the lights on. Any media we use to advertise to our list or even family, friends, former co-workers, neighbors, etc., should direct them to respond and buy some product. To generate even more revenue, you can sell classes (first-time homebuyers, buying a first investment property, buying land, etc.) in between your real estate sales. These are great bridges to keep revenue in the wheelhouse while also establishing you as the go-to expert for helping your audience improve their real estate IQ.
Real Estate marketing needs to be personal and provide the right message to the right client at the right time. When you master this, you’ll start making big bucks. Creating your own list in the beginning, then adding in referrals, and finally, after you’re making enough to afford it, buying leads/lists will help you meet your goals. When buying a lead or list, it’s important to find a vendor who can get you a prospect that’s in the market and not being sold to 4 to 10 other agents (like on Zillow). Using resources that sell to multiple agents makes you a commodity and you’ll find it extremely difficult to make the income you want without high costs and excessive work.
To build your own prospects from purchased lists or leads, you need to create marketing pieces. You can create your messages to deploy across your chosen media like email, direct mail, website landing pages, and/or social media posts—or better yet—use multiple media sources and watch the responses increase! It’s imperative that you provide a unique sales proposition that shows why they should pick you and how you’ll add more value than anyone else. Then, give the audience a reason to take advantage of the service you’re offering now and tell them what action to take… which is almost always one of two things:
- Call you directly (most sales are still made on the phone because real estate is a relationship business!)
- Fill out your online form that includes fields to collect their contact information and a notes section to list their goals—which you can use to find the hook that reels them into working with you
Remember, your goal is to get them to respond and take action, so it’s critical to be consistent with your brand messaging. Unless your name is Keller Williams, Ebby Halliday, etc., you’ll want to focus on branding only after you’ve established some credibility via phone call interactions that deepen trust in the relationship. All branding—logos, business cards, printed materials, advertising, events, promotions, and social media posts—should have seamless continuity between images, colors, and messaging so clients know who they’re working with. Once you build trust with clients you close, you can earn their repeat business and referrals. Always ask for referrals.
#2 Prioritize relationships in real estate
To make any relationship last, we have to show people we care and that we’re here to support them. We want to be their go-to resource to deliver on whatever they want from a relationship (business, friendship, or romantic). Everyone wants to know you’ve got their back. In a real estate relationship, let your clients know that you’re a rock star negotiator, you’ll be available nights and weekends to show them homes, you have a list of buyers, you know the right school districts, you’ve got big network investors that might buy, etc., to help them get what they want whether it’s buying or selling a home.
Sometimes, you may even have to cut commissions to close the deal in order to get another deal from them in the future. Working with a discount brokerage can help you win the deal. Global Home Realty’s $395 transaction fee takes the sting out of discounting and shows you’ll do whatever it takes to earn their business.
You can use this as leverage to demand referrals. Say, “Look, since I’m discounting my fee and doing a good job for you on this, I need to get 3 names of people who’ll be in the market in the next 12 months. This isn’t what we usually charge for our fee, so I need to justify the cut by helping others so I can make up for the big discount I’m giving you. Will you agree to give me 3 names if I do a good job for you?” It’s the law of reciprocity… you’re giving them something so they’ll give you something in return. If you have to sacrifice a little to make a deal work then you know you’ll make it up on the referrals.
Finally, always keep in touch with past clients. Just like any relationship, if you ignore them, they’ll go somewhere else. If you really want to be their friend in the real estate business, schedule time to do an annual check-in. Use holidays, birthdays, the anniversary of their closing, or any Hallmark moment to reach out. Stop making excuses and call them up, ask for referrals, or see if they’re in the market. Be shameless. You’re adding value by checking in to make sure they’re taken care of on the real estate front which is a family’s biggest purchase. Don’t be shy. Make sure you’re sending them monthly emails and do direct mail a couple of times a year when you can afford it. This way, you’ll stay top-of-mind when it’s time to represent them if they buy or sell again.
Fostering relationships is essential in the real estate industry. Even if you don’t cut your commissions, it would be a smart business move to have systems in place with a CRM to collect referrals after you close satisfied clients. They’re your best bet to get people like them to do business with you at the lowest cost per acquisition. Creating raving fans for your business is the most valuable way you can grow your business.
#3 Build a solid network
It’s important to have professional contacts, such as inspectors and contractors, that you can count on to serve your clients and make the transaction as easy as possible. Join professional organizations like the National Association of Home Builders. Ask them to let you list properties for a discount on MLS. That will get the builder’s attention and may get you buyers just from the listings. Again, do a deal to get a deal. Then, attend industry events to network and add new contacts to your vendor lists.
#4 Find your niche
Choosing a specialty can help define your career and earning potential. You can focus on first-time buyers, luxury homes, a specific geographic area, or anything you want. When you become an expert in a certain area, you stand out from competitors and attract clients looking for your specific niche. Then, market to this group with tailored messages.
If you provide a consistent quality experience with valuable information, you’ll become the go-to in your space. People will resonate with you when you’re speaking directly to their needs instead of providing broad information. So after you get a couple of years of experience, specialize… then watch your business and income take off.
#5 Provide exceptional customer service
If you want to be a millionaire, treat all of your clients like they are millionaires! Give them the white glove treatment and add more value than anywhere else so they will go nowhere else. Our industry is customer-focused, so let your clients know you’re there for them. Be responsive to their needs even after hours and on weekends. Provide them regular, timely updates and go above and beyond to ensure they’re satisfied. Then, the paychecks will continue to come if you keep sharing messages with them after the close, doing follow-up phone calls, and asking for referrals. There should be no reason for them to ask another realtor for help if you just remind them that you’re the best solution to their problems.
#6 Develop your PERSONAL brand
Remember when we get a new client, we’ll build branding on the first call and afterward. For established clients, providing timely and consistent marketing messages across multiple media channels is a great way for you to build on the rapport you’ve established. This can also bring you repeat or referral business, and hopefully, result in a business you can sell when you’re ready to retire. A strong brand identity goes a long way to having a sellable company. If done properly, it should communicate your values, experience, and unique selling proposition to your clients and their referrals. It will not only deepen your relationship with your audience but can turn previous “no” prospects into loyal “yes” customers—simply by using uniform messaging that keeps you in the forefront when they’re ready to buy or sell real estate.
#7 Keep learning
With the real estate business constantly changing, you should be on top of the latest trends and best practices. Consider participating in professional development courses, attending conferences, reading publications, and attending networking events. The more value you can add to your clients the less likely they’ll go anywhere else. As you help clients successfully navigate from first-time homebuyers to real estate investors, second-time homebuyers, etc., the number of deals and their size will mostly increase.
Next, you should educate your clients by hosting webinars such as building wealth in real estate. By providing additional revenue streams from educational classes on top of your real estate business, you’ll watch your paychecks’ size and frequency grow. So, increase your real estate IQ to improve your competence. If we were to use an analogy in real estate—the competition are cattle rustlers and your clients are your herd—then you’ll have essentially put a fence around your herd. When you have all the right information your clients could ever need, they’ll have no reason to go elsewhere and you’ll put a stop to other agents trying to rustle your clients.
Investing time and money in your business to develop the right marketing system and messaging for your clients’ real estate journey will pay huge dividends in the end. Being strong in sales and marketing can help you to live the lifestyle you dreamed of before you got your license in real estate. It’s more work but will yield exponential returns! Here at Global Home Realty, we can help you get on track to being a 7-figure business owner in the next 5 years. Call us today at 855-732-5395 to discuss with our industry experts how we can help you build out your custom plan to reach your goals faster.