Top Mistakes New Real Estate Agents Make
guest blogger: Talia Spero
Driven and determined, with your newly minted real estate license in hand, you’re finally ready to step foot into the real estate world. Before you make your first step, make sure you have a firm grip on the reality of your new role as a business owner rather than an employee. Yes, your job now is to sell real estate, but standing between you and a successful career is your ability to sell yourself as the ideal partner to your clients.
Despite having the ambition, concentration, and vision, even the best-intentioned agent can be his or her worst enemy. In some cases, beginner real estate agent mistakes can jeopardize your professional credibility when clients come aboard. New Real Estate Agents can benefit from knowing how to prevent common rookie mistakes.
Lack of a business plan
The key to an endeavor is to identify your objectives, and in business – especially that of a self-employed real estate agent – knowing what you need to achieve is crucial to success. Set goals and make them smart: specific, measurable, achievable, and time-based. You can’t know where to start or how to proceed if you don’t know where you’re going.
Your business plan should also include a strategy for self-improvement and training. Learning new skills is a differentiator. Build on what you were born with – or have since acquired – and fine-tune your experience and expertise to stay sharp, focuses and ahead of the competition.
Ignoring your brand
While it’s important to build your contacts, resources and your business overall, you also need to learn to sell yourself as a real estate expert. This means defining your personal brand. This can, and should, take many forms of marketing.
Social media is an ideal space to create your brand, engage with your audience, and generate leads and ultimately grow your business. The more active you are on social media, the easier it is for buyers and sellers to find you. It’s also a great way to highlight your experience and unique listings.
How we present ourselves is important as well. Make sure you dress in a way that embodies your brand and your message. Think about the ideal real estate agent dress code. What kind of clients do you want to attract and what kind of properties do you want to represent? Then, dress accordingly.
Lack of funding
Speaking of your budget, you also need to figure out how to finance it. You should establish and follow a financial plan for both professional and personal expenses; at this new stage in your career, everything counts toward promoting it. Jot down every current expense you have, such as office supplies, and then note every new expense you add as you start selling real estate, including client entertainment, marketing, etc. Before you even print new business cards, nail down your funding sources so you can pay the bills while you build your business. Anticipating for no income for the first 30 to 90 days is ideal.
Not staying in touch with clients
Everyone wants to feel special in some way, and when you enter someone’s life at a time when they are considering using your services — or perhaps they already have signed the papers — you have a golden opportunity to make a significant, lasting connection with them. Your continued focus should be on making regular and meaningful contact with clients. Cultivate relationships today that will pay off tomorrow.
Don’t make the rookie real estate agent mistake of ignoring past clients (even though there might not be many as you start out). There are several ways to reach out: Email and personal notes are the quickest and easiest. You can also stay in contact by taking clients to lunch, sending out a newsletter, or by throwing a client appreciation party. Keeping connected doesn’t have to be expensive, labor-intensive or time-consuming. The point is to simply stay on your clients’ radar and create a mutually beneficial relationship.
Poor time management
Let’s face it, the majority of us are too often guilty of allowing time to slip through our fingers. We run ourselves ragged, but at the end of the day, feel as though we accomplished little to nothing. Shift your thinking and make it a priority to organize your time. Your daily to-do list should include tasks such as prospecting, updating your database and marketing yourself.
There are many resources to help you save time, labor and costs in completing all the tasks you face to successfully run, market and grow your business.
Here are a few ideas:
Just when you think the coursework and exams are behind you, continuing education crops up as necessary to stay relevant and, in many states, mandatory to maintain your license. Maximize your time and minimize cost by using webinars, podcasts and other online resources to keep up with your education and skills.
Don’t overlook social media as a quick and free (or nearly free) way to both inform and engage. Posting an Instagram photo or Facebook update only takes a few minutes, and an insightful blog entry can be concise.
As exhilarating as it is to begin a new step in your career path, there are some best practices beginner real estate agents should always follow to keep you grounded and focused. Don’t think for a moment that your competition — newcomers and veterans combined — isn’t using these tools to their best advantage. Take the time to increase your knowledge of your industry, your goals, your strategy for success, your available resources and your most effective work style. Like any good habit, it may take some time to change your mindset from how you do things now to possibly a new way of seeing your career, your role and your leadership of both.
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Jeff Cook Real Estate
Charleston | Columbia | Greenville