So you’ve been thinking about becoming a real estate agent. Good for you! The world of real estate service is fast paced, and the opportunities for anyone who wants to build their own business can be pretty serious.
When I made the decision to leave the corporate sales world, and start my career in real estate, there was so much I didn’t know. But, as I soon discovered – there were many skills and habits I had already developed, that positioned me to be a leader in my local market place (even as I was still picking up certain skills).
Setting out on my own was daunting. There would be no salary, no paid vacation, no health benefits and no pension. No cushy paid lunches or trips. But what there would be? The endless potential to earn as much as you want, uninhibited by goals, corporate structures, and “bosses”. The only barrier was my own self-determination.
Believe it or not: on my first day, the first people who walked in to the first house I was showing – they bought the place (and for a cool $1M, no less). And I had barely gotten started yet!
Within the next 12 months, I sold over $13M in real estate in 27 deals. Even after my splits to my brokerage and business expenses, I still managed to more than triple my previous corporate salary.
Today, let’s talk about how it happened – what starting in real estate means.
This is a huge mistake many people make when they become a real estate agent! Most budding REALTORs come from another industry, or workplace structure, where like most people in the world they have only ever been employees. So when they arrive at their brokerage office, they expect someone to turn to them and say “here are your tasks for the day. Follow up on these leads”
This will not happen. There is no hand holding, no training, and often no crash-course on what to do.
At this point most new agents just go with the flow. They sit on unpaid desk shifts, or unpaid open houses, waiting for someone to magically walk in and buy real estate (which can happen, as mentioned above. But this is a lottery). Maybe they sell a house for their Aunt, and then help a high school friend with a purchase of their first home.
But then the phone stops ringing, and there are only crickets.
When you’re in real estate, you’re a Business Owner. So think like a business owner! You need to have a business plan. Who is your competition? What are they doing, and how can you do it better? What kind of value to you provide for your clients? Fail to plan – plan to fail.
When you are a business, you are truly competing. Who decides how many hamburgers McDonalds sells each day? How many cars Ford sells? The free market does. And every other business that sells hamburgers and cars are trying everything they can to sell more hamburgers than McDonalds and more cars than Ford.
Most real estate markets are saturated with agents. Some cities have tens of thousands of agents competing for transactions.
It’s a winner take all, scalable business. Often 95% of the business is done by 5% of the agents. There are “big fish” who have advertising budgets that go into the hundreds-of-thousands. In theory, you could win every single deal. But by the same token – so could another agent or broker, who’s likely been at it a lot longer than you.
So what can you do? You need to COMPETE. Period. You have to be better, be more desirable, and be in the places where your competition are not. Maybe its social media, or maybe its YouTube. If you can’t compete on spend, compete on quality. Every dollar you spend smartly, should go twice as far as the blind re-run advertising most legacy agents are running. Your best bet is to focus on what the consumers in your market need and are crying out for. Provide them exactly that – in a way that makes it impossible to resist working with you.
Being a Real Estate Agent is possibly one of the most free-form types of business out there. How will you differentiate yourself?
If you want to wear a suit to work every day, do it. If you want to create a high-end brand – you can. When I set out to create my business, I looked at exactly what was missing from my local marketplace (and the REALTORs in it), and filled the gap.
Most agents are stretched too thin, offering dismal service to hapless consumers who are confused about the industry. Big marketing spend puts the majority of leads in the hands of legacy teams. These players then provide the service that seems to become the hallmark of the real estate industry (and possible the reason why it gets such a bad rap).
You need to be the antidote to this. You can become the shining light for consumers in your market, by providing such a competitive service that there is no contest when it comes to their decision. Build your business into the brand (starting with you), that consumers are magnetically drawn to.
Also: wake up early in the morning! As your own boss, you dictate what the work hours are. But remember, no one conquered any industry by sleeping in.
So how did I do it? Take note of what I’ve discussed above, and browse some of my other blog posts to get an idea. If this business is free-form and the sky is the limit, what will you create and how will you reach the heavens?
People often forget that the real estate industry is just a collection of service-provider businesses. Entrenched players want to confuse the public and create a wall against new entrants that want to shake things up. Scale this wall, compete using your smarts, and you can take a bite out of their lunch!
Focus on offering the absolute best service, setting yourself apart from the competition, and putting your time and money to work through smart investments in your business.
One thing to always keep in mind: Real Estate is not really about selling houses. It’s about selling Yourself.