7 HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL REAL ESTATE AGENTS
If bad habits can derail a real estate career, good habits can send one into the stratosphere. In this post, we look at seven habits - some traditional, some arising in the post-pandemic era - that seem to be a part of most highly successful agents' routines.
If you're hoping to excel in the often cutthroat business of real estate, it would be a great idea to try to pick up as many of these good habits as possible. Once they become second nature, part of your daily life as a real estate agent, you are bound to be pleased that you made the effort to accumulate them.
Habits can be hard to break. Fortunately, if you're lucky enough to develop any (or all) of the following - you'll never have any reason or incentive to break them.
1) Constantly Cultivate A Mindset Of Success
As the title of Napoleon Hill's seminal work on achieving success puts it: "Think and Grow Rich". No matter how you strive to navigate the thorny and often frustrating path to real estate success there will only ever be one constant: you.
Because of this, the most valuable real estate you will ever encounter is the space between your ears. What goes on in that mysterious realm will determine everything else in your plight to succeed in a profession where 87% of agents drop out within the first five years. "Think you can, think you can't - in both cases, you're right."
But the successful real estate mindset has more to it than just thinking you can. As you will see, state of mind is the foundation for all of the habits of highly successful real estate agents. Unfortunately, the good habits always seem a little more difficult to form than the bad ones.
But - good or bad - a habit formed is a habit formed. A mindset anchored in growth, positivity, effort, perseverance, and honesty (both to yourself and to those you meet along your path) will be your most valuable asset as you attempt to form the following habits of highly successful real estate agents.
2) Maximize Your Marketing For Every Listing
|Though 43% of buyers reported that Virtual Tours were “very useful” in their property search, our Real Estate Listings Analysis during last year’s piping-hot second quarter found that only 6% of US housing listings contained one. This could be a sign that many agents decided to ease up on their marketing efforts when the market heated up.|
When the market heats up, it can be tempting to cut corners on the effort you put into marketing your listings. This is a bad habit to get into.
A massive evaluation of US real estate listings that we conducted during the piping-hot housing market of last year’s second quarter, revealed that a majority of agents had declined to include a Floor Plan or a Virtual Tour with their listings.
Even though NAR research places Floor Plans and Virtual Tours in the top four useful website features for American property buyers (quality images and copy were the other two), only 17% of the 25,000 listings we examined contained a Floor Plan, and only 6% included a Virtual Tour.
With low inventory and abundant buyers, it might seem pointless to take that tiny bit of extra effort needed to include, say, a Floor Plan or a 360° Virtual Tour with your listings. But for highly successful agents at the upper echelon of the business, failing to do so falls closer to missing the point.
Highly successful agents never let up on their marketing - no matter how hot the market is. Why? Because:
- They understand that in bullish times, exceptional marketing is the force that attracts the volume of interest necessary for bidding wars.
- They understand their success is dependent upon maintaining a standard of excellence in all they do - whether times are good or bad.
- They have come to realize something that eludes the lesser agent - when marketing a property, you are not just marketing the property, you are marketing yourself. As we have pointed out before on this blog, there is no difference between listings marketing and personal branding. The way you market your listings IS your brand!
Never cut corners on your marketing. Get in the habit of excellence. Remember: excellent output equals excellent returns.
3) Set A Goal-Based Schedule And Stick To It
One of the great pitfalls of the real estate career is the same thing that draws so many people to it: the freedom to be your own boss. Many of the 87% of agents who fail within the first five years, put too much emphasis on the freedom and not enough on being their own boss.
To be your own boss takes discipline, planning, imagination, and the ability to self-motivate. If you, like many who become real estate agents, are new to the scenario of self-employment, it's imperative to develop a goal-based schedule and carry it out. Every. Single. Day.
It is indeed important to set goals related to sales targets and properties sold. However, in the early stages and the short term in general, your goals should focus more on the work you need to do. Work-focused goals consist of the following examples:
- Call three expired listings a day,
- Door-knock 30 houses,
- Send four prospecting emails
- Read two new posts on the latest virtual property marketing techniques
- Post at least one social media story every day
These are examples of work-focused goals. Notice there is no mention of results. Work-focused goals are much more effective in the short term, as they will help you form the sorts of good habits you need to achieve results.
We've got an entire post devoted to setting goals, but in general, your work-focused goals should be achievable enough so as not to frustrate you with all that you've been unable to accomplish over a day, but not so easy to achieve that they don't get you anywhere or drum up any momentum.
Knocking on 100 doors every day is a goal that is so time-consuming that it will probably set you up for frustration and failure. Spending 30 minutes scrolling through social media every day, is a highly achievable goal. But is achieving it going to advance your real estate career in the long run?
4) Never Stop Learning
Knowledge is power, and in real estate, there is never a shortage of things to learn. You'll find that the more you can incorporate learning into your schedule, the more valuable you'll become to potential clients.
Expertise is one of the most sought-after features of a real estate agent. In NAR's 2022 Generational Trends Buyers and Sellers Report "Knowledge" of some sort figures in four of the top ten qualities that people found "very useful" when selecting an agent.
|Our Development Site Renders are a breathtaking way to catch the attention of a) developers in a pitch to list their project; b) buyers who are considering purchasing an unbuilt property off-plan. The knowledge of how and when to produce them is a valuable commodity to acquire. Contact us to learn more about how to make these powerful marketing tools happen.|
But knowledge can be just as useful to you as it can be to prospective clients. For example:
- Knowing what development projects are up for council approval, can give you the inside track on making a listings pitch for major projects
- Knowing how to use CGI Renders and Development Site Plans to market such unbuilt listings can help your pitch for such projects win out over the competitors
- Knowing the sale price of all the homes in your farm area, year in/year out, gives you wonderful ammunition for the proven lead generation technique of circle prospecting
- Knowing that a foreign buyers tax will be implemented on an upcoming date, gives you a great reason to motivate sellers to list now before the tax takes effect
- Knowing how to fly a drone equips you with a skill set that even many professional photographers don't possess, and enables you to use our Aerial Edits to produce alluring and eye-grabbing marketing materials
If you make constant daily learning a habit, and keep it up throughout your real estate career, doors you didn't suspect existed will begin to open and you'll be in a position that every real estate agent dreams of being in: Your reputation as an expert will precede you, and people will seek you out.
5) Advance Your Autonomy With Technology
|The new breed of highly successful real estate agents tend to take their photos themselves and use automated services like our Aerial Color Fade to give them pro-caliber visual oomph. This saves time and money and eliminates miscommunications between agent and hired photographer.|
In post-pandemic times, a new breed of successful agent has arisen - the one who leverages technology to handle all aspects of the real estate business themselves. The less you have to depend upon other professionals throughout the sales cycle, the more in control of your destiny you will be.
Advances in both technological hardware (like smartphones and drones) and automated technological services (like our suite of Image Enhancements or administrative entities like cloud-based brokerages) now make it possible for agents to be their own broker, photographer, notary public, and office manager.
Jesse Peters, a RE/MAX agent from Winnipeg, Canada, now photographs all his listings himself, using nothing but his smartphone. He sends the raw images to us, we run them through our series of Image Enhancement edits and send them back to him within 24 hours, looking like they've been shot by a pro.
Jesse also flies his own drone and sends us the raw footage with the instructions to apply our Aerial Color Fade, which makes his listing pop out in glorious full color and turns all the surrounding properties into black and white. This edit costs less than USD 3 and again is returned to him within 24 hours.
Agents like Jesse who get in the habit of using the existing technology to become their own DIY marketing factory save time, money, and miscommunications.
|Jesse Peters shoots all his own real estate photos using his iPhone 11 Pro. This has given him a level of autonomy that makes faster than his competitors when it comes to capturing and publishing his listings marketing. It's also given him a much greater degree of aesthetic control in his marketing presentation.|
Without question, a good real estate photographer is great to have. However, in this heated-up market time is of the essence. In less time than it takes to book a professional photographer or a drone pilot, the savvy agent can achieve equal-caliber results, for less money and with zero chance of miscommunication.
This is just one example of how the new breed of real estate agent can achieve full autonomy via technology.
6) Never Stop Networking
Two kinds of networking are essential practices for the real estate agent: professional and public. Both need to become so habitual that you no longer even notice that you’re doing them.
Professional networking is the quid-pro-quo referral arrangements you strike up with local professionals whose work also relates to the sale of property: lawyers, building and pest inspectors, movers, maintenance crews, notary publics, bankers, mortgage brokers, financial advisors, plumbers, electricians, contractors - even real estate agents outside your farm area.
These referral networks can be the equivalent of money in the bank in both hot and cool markets. As a real estate agent, you are often the first port of call for newcomers to your region. Many property buyers who are new to an area will ask you to recommend any (or all) of the above professionals. Your recommendation may be valuable to them, but it can be equally valuable to you.
As long as you are recommending an honest and reliable professional, there is nothing wrong with being clear to the person you recommend that you would appreciate them referring people your way as well. This sort of networking might take a while to build up, but once the relationships are formed, you will have unlocked a whole new avenue of sustenance.
Public networking involves everyone else you meet in daily life who is not associated with the real estate sales cycle. This is a different sort of networking, as it rarely involves a quid-pro-quo setup.
Since it basically can include every single person you meet in life, there is no set formula for how to carry out this form of networking. It involves listening to the needs of whoever you are interacting with. And finding ways to genuinely help according to the situation.
- Perhaps a friend's sister is moving to town? Offer to show them around.
- Is a friend moving away? Offer to sell their house.
- You learn of someone renting who is finally ready to buy? That’s your opportunity to get involved.
Yes, there are as many ways to network with the public as there are members of this public.
In general though, if you make listening and helping your priorities, you are far more likely to net results than if you barge into every social situation handing out your business card and asking people to sell their homes.
If you're too pushy, you might find it hard to continually network amongst your public because after a while people in your farm area will be less and less inclined to talk to you.
7) Constantly Give Back To Your Community
One of the most beautiful and rewarding habits of the successful real estate agent is the tendency to give back to their communities.
|Amy Bennett who we recently featured in a profile is a relatively new agent, but she’s already discovered the magic of giving back to her community. “It comes back tenfold,” she says.|
The savvy agent understands that contributing to their community carries many professional benefits. It is a form of networking that makes a positive impact, provides great exposure, and counters the stereotype that most agents are only out for their self-interest - furthermore, it feels good.
All of the above is true, but perhaps the most powerful reason why agents who contribute positively to their communities tend to be successful is that such behavior has been proven to take the stress away and re-energize the spirit.
If you've been in real estate for long, you'll understand how overwhelming the profession can be. We have written about how burnout can be a quiet killer of real estate careers, and how essential it is to recognize its signs and address them before they take over.
Agents who make a habit of giving back to their community do put themselves in a great position to meet new people and generate new clientele. But the personal recharge they receive from their philanthropic efforts may well be the sustenance they need to turn short-term success into a lifetime of good fortune.
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