“How can I be a more successful real estate agent?” That’s the million dollar question, quite literally. The top 10% of realtors make well over $100,000 annually, many exceeding $1,000,000, while the bottom 10% barely make enough to make ends meet. Which end of that spectrum will you end up on? Let’s face it, if you’re new to the real estate business, you’ll be on the lower end while you find your footing. But as your knowledge and experience develop, so will your earnings. It takes time to learn the ropes, to perfect your pitch, and to earn a steady stream of referrals. But eventually, if you stick with it, you’ll find that real estate is just a numbers game.
Eventually, you may be able to sustain your business on referrals alone, but if you’re just starting out, you’re going to need a lead source, and it probably won’t be free. Some agents purchase leads from Zillow or Trulia, but in an age when every agent is expected to have a website, generating your own leads through your own website makes more sense. If you purchase a website with Integrated IDX, your website will be a search portal just like Zillow or Trulia, and if your website includes a signup / registration system for lead capture, the leads will start pouring in once your website starts getting traffic from Google and other search engines. While Zillow and the other home search portals have become very well known, many homebuyers still start their search at Google.com with a search phrase like “homes for sale in Folsom CA under 200k.” Get in front of these people with your own website, and consider scaling up your website traffic and lead generation with a Google advertising budget.
Every lead is a potential commission for you, so make the most of each and every one by following up promptly and courteously. If someone requests listing information or an appointment through your website, give them a prompt response or they will find another agent who will. Enough said.
When you contact a new lead, your objective should be to set an appointment. In most cases, you’ll be dealing with buyer leads, so encourage your lead to tour a home with you. The private showing is the perfect venue to sell yourself and explain why the buyer needs you to represent them. If they’re not ready to tour a home just yet, find out what they are looking for in a home, and do your best to find a listing that they can be excited to tour with you.
You’ve met your lead, you’ve made a good impression, but you’re still not home free. At any time, the client could get cold feet or decide they don’t want to work with you any longer. Don’t give them any reason to feel this way. Make them feel like your top priority and wow them with your responsiveness and attentiveness. The client should remain confident that choosing you as their agent was a good decision.
Help your client find the right home, not the home that will close the fastest or net you the best commission. Don’t ask them to settle and don’t let them overbid. Being selfless in the short term is likely to earn you referrals down the road.
Even when the deal is almost done, and your client is unlikely to back out, do not get complacent. You’re in the home stretch – now is not the time to become lazy and unresponsive. See your client through to the end of the deal with class, and let them rave to their friends and family about your talent and professionalism.
The deal is done and your client is in love with their new home. They are brimming with excitement and gratitude. This is the perfect time to ask for an online review and to encourage the client to tell their friends and family about you. You’ll know your tireless efforts were worthwhile when the referrals start rolling in and new leads comment on what great reviews you have online.
Kevin is a Web Developer and Marketing Expert for iHOUSEweb. He has a degree in Mathematics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and he specializes in front end web development, web advertising, and web analytics. Kevin works closely with real estate agents all over the US, and he helps to communicate their needs to the team of Software Engineers at iHOUSEweb.