By Susan Isaak on March 24, 2020
Edited By Alex Santiago
Susan is a licensed real estate agent who consistently ranks among the top agents in her area. Her expertise is highlighted throughout Fit Small Business’s real estate content.
This article is part of a larger series on Real Estate Agents.
Success in real estate requires being tenacious about generating leads, choosing the right customer relationship management (CRM) tool for lead nurturing, and picking the best brokerage to help you meet your goals. With an estimated 87% failure rate within the first five years of business, agents need to be diligent about their business to beat the odds.
Here are 27 real estate agent tips to ensure career success.
1. Treat Every Client Like Gold
Talbot Sutter, President & Broker, Sutter & Nugent Real Estate
When it comes to building a successful real estate career, the most important advice I could give a new agent is to treat every deal the same. No matter if it’s a $100,000 sale or $10 million sale, treat every transaction like it’s the most important yet, and it will pay off tenfold.
2. Take Advantage of Lead Gen Opportunities
Judy Williams, Real Estate Agent, Halstead Manhattan
To start on the right foot, new agents must be determined to identify and follow through on opportunities. When I started working as an independent agent, I reached out to agents who had a lot of for-sale listings. I sent emails letting them know that if they ever needed open house coverage, I would be more than happy to help and host an open house for them in exchange for access to any direct buyers who attend the open houses.
3. Set Aside Time to Grow Your Business
Mike McElroy, Founder & Managing Broker, Center Coast Realty
It’s important to set aside time every day to prospect for new clients to help grow your business. Sometimes, new agents get so caught up in closing their current transactions that they forget to look for new clients to work with, and they’re left with nothing after those existing deals close.
4. Nurture Leads to Ensure You Close a Sale
Kerri-lyn Holland, Owner, Holland & Associates Real Estate
Buying a home takes time—a lot of time. Real estate shoppers visiting your website likely aren’t ready to do business on their first visit. An intuitive funnel with retargeting and email will keep you top of mind as the shopper gets closer to a decision. You’re spending money and effort to get buyers and sellers onto your website, but too many agents let those opportunities slip through the cracks.
5. Have a Scalable CRM
Lisa McGreevy, Sales Tech Editor, Fit Small Business
A reliable CRM is crucial for organizing contacts and tracking leads through the entire client journey. A good CRM scales with you as you grow, but scalability is about more than the size of its contact database. A solid CRM like Salesforce Essentials also offers important features like lead and account management tools that help you offer clients top-notch service every step of the way.
6. Commit Fully to Your Work
Ally VanderHarst, Real Estate Agent, The Kate Broddick Team
In less than one year of full-time real estate, I was able to focus on providing exceptional customer service to my clients and, as a bonus, I nearly tripled my salary. But you’ve got to commit to it. You can’t sit back and wait for clients to come to you. You’ve got to put 100% of your effort into working hard, following up on leads, and making sure you’re providing the absolute best customer service to every single person that you come in contact with.
7. Canvas Local Business Connections for Leads
David Meek, Real Estate Broker/Associate, Keller Williams Arizona Realty
It takes time to build relationships. Start with the people who know and trust you. There is no need to do radio advertising or purchase ads on shopping carts. You already have a relationship with the 100 closest contacts in your circles. Think barbers, veterinarians, supermarket cashiers, bank tellers, teachers, and neighbors.
8. Use Real Estate-Specific Websites
Allison Potts, Director of Content, Fit Small Business
New agents—or those who want to scale and grow—would do well to choose a website builder like Placester. It has genuinely solid features for agents who want real estate-specific functionality like internet data exchange (IDX) integration, email tools, and lead generation features.
9. Connect With a Professional Stager
Karen Gray Plaisted, Owner, Design Solutions KGP
A house is a product that agents are marketing to everyone who is searching. Without a great presentation to reflect the beauty of a property, the agent loses. Staging shows that agents take a seller’s property seriously and will help sell it quicker and for top dollar.
10. Publish Content on Your Blog or Website
Benjamin Ross, Realtor, Landlord & Investor, Mission Real Estate Group
Get a website and start building domain authority by publishing content immediately. More than 90% of buyers begin searching on the internet. You need to have an internet presence. This is a long-term goal, so you must start right away, as it will take quite a bit of time for you to rank on search engines like Google and Bing.
11. Use Video to Showcase Properties & Expertise
Manuel Mata, Realtor, White Picket Realty
Having a strong online presence today means you have to be comfortable with videos. It can be as simple as using Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, showing houses, revealing interesting finds at homes, or sharing a buyer or seller tip. Once you get comfortable, you can go “live.” The topic does not always have to be about real estate, and I would recommend you include things that would interest your audience like highlighting a local restaurant.
12. Always Be Learning
Kiah Treece, Editorial Manager, Fit Small Business
Most successful agents have a solid educational background, and one way to grow in the field is to upgrade your license when you have some experience behind you. McKissock offers online real estate education for those who want to upgrade their license to become brokers or simply learn more about specialty fields. Not only is McKissock affordable, but you can complete courses anywhere you have an internet connection. Learn more about their course offerings.
13. Maintain a Budget
Jared Barnett, Real Estate Agent, Compass & The Barnett Bittencourt Team
As a real estate agent, you are only paid when you sell or rent a property. For this reason, paychecks do not come on a set schedule, so it’s important to create a budget to manage your cash flow so that you are financially stable during busy and slow periods.
14. Check Your Online Reputation
Jonas Sickler, Marketing Director, ReputationManagement.com
Reputation is everything for real estate agents. Potential clients will most likely investigate Realtors before reaching out, so it’s important to frequently Google yourself to see what’s been published by you and others online. Bad reviews or defamatory social media posts can destroy a real estate business overnight. Even your own private social media posts can alienate clients if you share politically charged views or use vulgar language in posts or comments.
15. Create & Send Professional Marketing Materials
Christopher Linsel, Staff Writer & Real Estate Coach, The Close
Starting your career in real estate will require that you have marketing materials that get your name and brand out to your farm area. The marketing materials of ProspectsPLUS! allow agents to customize collateral and even provide services for distribution. Visit its website to see high-quality templates for flyers, postcards, door hangers, newsletters, and other marketing materials. Plus, if you refer a friend, you can get a $25 gift card.
16. Know Your Value & Establish a Process
Delroy Gill, Real Estate Agent, Sotheby’s International Realty
Knowing what value you offer as an agent as you grow is important but having a real database you build on is also a piece of the foundation in a stable real estate career. When you combine process with value, you have a recipe for success.
17. Communicate Quickly & Reliably
Tommy Mutchler, Real Estate Agent, RE/MAX
Respond to clients’ texts and emails right away—ideally within minutes—although before the end of the day is better than nothing. It’s too easy to respond to someone later. Go above and beyond and respond now. If someone calls you, answer. I don’t care if it’s a telemarketer trying to sell you Facebook ads. Answer your phone. If you have to miss the call, call them back ASAP. Just do it. Putting follow-up on the back burner will kill your business.
18. Be the Neighborhood Expert
Victoria Carter, Real Estate Agent, Victoria Carter Team
You will never truly succeed unless you offer real value to your clients. You need to understand the local school system, different neighborhoods, housing markets and trends, commuting options, and the finances behind buying or selling a home.
19. Pick the Right Brokerage to Start Your Career
Brenda Di Bari, Commercial Real Estate Broker, Halstead
Once you’re licensed, you will need to find a brokerage to sponsor you — otherwise known as a place to “hang your license.” Find a brokerage that has a comprehensive agent development program, which may include continuing education courses, a mentor, referrals to new client leads, and a marketing budget to help get you started. Be sure to choose an agency where you get along well with the managing broker.
20. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks
Kate Broddick, Real Estate Agent, The Kate Broddick Team
I wish I’d known that if you want to stand out in the crowd, you’ve got to be a little risky and do something different than everyone else. Once I started taking more risks and letting the real “me” shine through, my business tripled in a year. I let go of all barriers, rebranded myself, started a team, and presented the world with a marketing platform that was a bit edgier and centered myself around a less “mainstream” way of marketing. I discovered I never, ever wanted to be the person following the crowd — I wanted to be the one leading the trend.
21. Amp Up Your Motivation
Dan Spransy, Broker & Owner, Realty Executives Cooper Spransy
Motivation is key. Self-motivation can be low when transferring into real estate from a nine-to-five job or stay-at-home role. At Realty Executives, we train our executives on how to master the business but, once they know, it’s up to them to execute.
22. Find a Real Estate Agent Mentor
Billy Rodriguez, Managing Director, Central Florida Retail Investment Team, Cite Partners
Have a mentor. I can’t say how important this is. Everyone is faced with difficult decisions. It’s great to have trusted advisors who will always give the best advice and who will always benefit you and your family. I have three mentors and talk to them often. I always learn something new and gain so much more at the end of our meetings.
23. Be Consistent & Hold Yourself Accountable
Reilly McGregor, Broker Associate, Harborview Realty
Be consistent. Write a list of items that you are going to accomplish at the beginning of each day and the end of each day. Hold yourself accountable. Commit to learning something new daily. This can range from new information about a community or understanding contracts better. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We were all new agents at one point, and many people are willing to help.
24. Nurture Existing Relationships & Build New Ones
Augusto Bittencourt, Real Estate Agent, Compass & The Barnett Bittencourt Team
The most successful real estate agents have a strong network that provides a steady source of business and referrals. A mistake many real estate agents make is forgetting to maintain the relationships of their core network while focusing on creating new contacts. While it is important to grow, it’s equally important to maintain all relationships.
25. Understand Your Clients
Miles Chapin, Senior Managing Director, Modern Spaces
Try to identify what you need to learn and find a place or a situation where you can get that knowledge. Get out of your comfort zone and try to understand how other people think. Everyone is different: Millennials use online apps more than baby boomers while empty-nesters have different needs than younger, single people. Don’t get caught up in any one methodology. Balance your time searching online with actual time in the field.
26. Get a Lead Generation Real Estate Coach
E. Allen Dietzschold, Broker at Encore Group & RE Coach, Real Estate Success Coaching
Your business is lead generation. New agents find that there are 100 different things you can do to generate leads, and most of them work some of the time. Bottom line: Not all lead gen is created equal. Get some coaching on which methods will be best for your personality and your market so you understand how to generate leads that will convert.
27. Give Your Business a Runway
Andrew Given, Real Estate Broker, The Given Group at Lofty Real Estate
Give yourself a realistic timeframe to get up and running. You are starting a business, and any business requires time to begin to make money. Between 12 and 18 months is a realistic time before you start to see business regularly. That means you need to make sure you have money to live on and money to invest in your marketing during that time frame. Proper timeline planning and budgeting will ensure you have a fighting chance to make the career work.
Bottom Line—Real Estate Agent Tips
The real estate agent tips above can make the difference between closing a deal today vs one tomorrow. However, no one tip guarantees results every time. Becoming a successful real estate agent requires hard work and dedication. Therefore, the best tip of all is to position yourself to succeed in competitive environments, by being willing to adapt to ever-changing trends, and never stop trying new things.
About the Author
Susan Isaak is a staff writer at Fit Small Business focusing on real estate. She is also an active, licensed real estate agent with Houlihan Lawrence in Connecticut, has helped hundreds of people buy, sell and rent their homes, and consistently ranks among the top agents in her area.