Doesn't it seem like everyone you know has a friend, relative, or acquaintance that is a realtor? How could anyone, especially someone new to the industry, possibly achieve success when faced with this much competition?
The answer begins to appear when you consider the following questions:
- How many licensed real estate agents have the talents required for success in sales?
- How many have been trained in effective selling techniques?
- How many know how to prospect effectively?
- How many know which questions to ask to determine the factors that are most important to each prospect's buying decision?
- How many take their profession seriously and are willing to put in the effort and hours that are required to build a successful business?
- How many of them regularly sell multiple houses per month?
The 80/20 rule definitely applies to residential real estate. In fact, some statistics suggest the ratio is more like 90/10 (where 90% of home sales are made by just 10% of realtors), with the vast majority of home sales by the top 1%!
So, how can a novice realtor attract clients? By building his or her credibility and relationships. Let's explore these two topics separately.
How to Build Credibility
Imagine you are a brand new realtor that has just passed the licensing exam. Why would someone turn to you to help them make what may be the largest investment of their lifetime? What makes you stand out from other licensed real estate agents?
If you are new to the profession, you won't have success stories or testimonials to point to as answers to these questions. However, there are many things you can do to build up credibility quickly. Here are a few examples:
- You can perform in-depth research on a specific aspect of your local real estate market and write a "white paper" or "special report" to share with prospects. Examples of potential topics include "The Hottest Markets In (a specific area)", and "Resale Home Prices for the Past 12 Months In (a particular community)".
- You can compile a "New Resident Resource List" that educates your prospects on local stores, service companies, fun activities, family-friendly restaurants, etc.
- You can write articles and deliver free speeches or seminars that are based upon the results of your research.
There is tremendous power in authorship. If you can place useful information that has your name on it the hands of potential prospects, you will earn credibility.
How to Build Relationships
A good starting point is making sure everyone you know (friends, family, acquaintances, past business contacts, etc.) is aware that you have become a licensed real estate agent. It doesn't matter where they live -- who knows when one of their friends or associates will decide to move into your target market? The best approach is a simple, "soft sell" message such as:
"If you hear of anyone that might be interested in buying or selling a house, please let them know that I would be delighted to help them."
When you are sure that everyone you know is aware of your new role, start pursuing new relationships. Don't limit yourself to contacts that may themselves become prospects. Also look for opportunities to develop relationships with people that can refer prospects to you. This includes:
- Mortgage brokers
- Salespeople in non-competing sales roles (i.e., new home sales vs. resale)
- Property managers
- Corporate relocation managers
You can also pursue relationships with people that have large customer lists such as accountants, financial advisors, and insurance agents.
Focus on getting to know potential prospects and referral sources as people. What do they do for a living? What constitutes an opportunity for them? What are their issues and concerns? What are their personal interests and passions?
If you constantly have your "radar" up, you never know when you will run across a resource that could be helpful to someone else. If you focus on helping other people accomplish their goals and fulfill their needs and wants, you will be astonished by the number of referrals that come your way.
As you build your list of satisfied customers, you will be able to expand your sales success through referrals and testimonials. However, the strategies described in this article will always provide a boost to your opportunity pipeline!
Copyright 2004, 2005 -- Alan Rigg
Sales performance expert Alan Rigg is the author of How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling: Why Most Salespeople Don't Perform and What to Do About It. To learn more about his book and sign up for more FREE sales and sales management tips, visit http://www.8020performance.com.