Embarking on a new career in real estate sales can be both exciting and daunting, can’t it? Many rookie agents are often surprised by the demands of the job. From networking and marketing to time management and organization, Agents are skilled multi-taskers who keep their eye on the prize – closing sales.
Maybe you’re just a beginner in the business, or you may be several months into it and trying to build a contact list or hoping to break into a new community. There are helpful ways to fine tune your approach and get the most out of your day. Read on for the top tips for new real estate agents to get established and make sales.
Become the real estate community expert
It’s obvious that your clients rely on you for your real estate expertise. They look to you for guidance, insight and wisdom throughout the process of selling and purchasing homes. But what about when the initial process is over? Will your former clients look to you as an expert in all things home-related? Establishing yourself as a “go-to” resource for former clients is a key way to remain memorable and relevant for their next move or for referring their friends and family to you.
Imagine this: the Gonzales family has been in their home for a couple of years and they’re loving it. They’re finally ready to tackle the backyard project they’ve been considering and are looking for a landscaping company to take on the task. They aren’t keen on blindly searching online. So whom can they go to for a quality referral? Cue you, the real estate expert in the community with connections to several reputable landscapers.
This story repeats itself when the Gonzales family is looking for a plumber and interior decorator, and, eventually, when they’re looking for a different home to meet the updated needs of their family. By establishing yourself as a well-connected expert in the community, you as a real estate agent, remain ‘top of mind’ for your former clients. This ongoing relationship leads to repeat customers and more referrals from your happy clients.
Follow the Rule of 17
A common question from both new and even experienced real estate professionals is, “How often should I be in touch with my contacts?” It’s important to strike a balance as you want to remain the first agent on your contact’s mind but you also don’t want to be bothersome.
Perhaps you’re thinking you don’t need to stay in touch on a regular basis, because your past clients will naturally use you for future moves. However, year after year, surveys published by the National Association of Agents (NAR) find that often homeowners do not use the same Agent for subsequent moves. Many report that they can’t even remember their previous agent’s name! If your past clients can’t remember your name, you can be sure they won’t be referring you to other home-seekers either.
The “Rule of 17” maps out how an agent can keep in touch with contacts naturally, 17 times over the course of a year. Regular contact ensures that your contacts know your name, how to reach you, and recognize you as a dependable community expert. These 17 interactions include face-to-face contact, phone calls and direct mailings, many of which can be automated! Here are some suggestions for how to reach out:
4 phone calls/ year
Phone calls can include a Happy Birthday call, wishing them a happy “move in anniversary” of their home, an invitation to a community event you organized or a call to wish the family happy holidays during a special season. It’s a personal touch and a nice way to remind your contacts of who you are.
1 face-to-face meeting per year
For “A List” clients, you may want to stop by and drop off a Birthday or home anniversary gift in person. These clients are those who are loyal to you, or you feel have the potential to become loyal to you. You can organize a local event like a pumpkin giveaway or a neighborhood garage sale and invite homeowners. Even sponsoring a local children’s soccer team will give you the opportunity to interact with your contacts face-to-face.
12 e-newsletters or direct mailings/ year
An easy way to stay in touch with your contacts over the course of the year is by sending monthly e-newsletters. This works especially well for your “B List” clients who you haven’t flagged as hot prospects, but you still want to maintain a relationship with. Including tips for homeowners in your newsletters will help to establish you as a reliable resource, and will remind your contacts that your services are available to them. This process is especially simple if you use a CRM that can compile and automate monthly emails to your database on your behalf and even facilitate printing merged letters and labels. Many Agents choose to send their “A List” clients a direct mail newsletter, for an extra personal touch.
How on earth can you do all this?
By now you’re probably thinking that the “Rule of 17” is excellent in theory, but how on earth are you going to keep up with that level of communication along with your other ongoing tasks? That’s where a good real estate CRM comes in. Managing your contacts effectively is the key to staying organized, keeping in touch and generating new real estate leads.
As someone just entering real estate, a great contact management or CRM system should be one of the first things you’ll want to adopt into your business. In fact, it’s essential to starting your career off on the right foot. After all real estate can be hard, especially when you’re new and building your book of business.
Do your research and choose the CRM that meets your specific needs. The right system can gather and nurture leads, keep your contacts organized in a single place, sync with your smartphone and maintain your calendar. With the power of a CRM on your side, suddenly the “Rule of 17” seems completely attainable. For busy Agents a CRM can even act as your personal assistant reminding you of everything you need to do to keep your business running smoothly and successfully!
IXACT Contact, a leading real estate CRM even offers a Rookie Agent program, giving new agents 6 months complimentary access to the CRM while they learn the ropes of the business. With IXACT Contact you’ll be able to manage your contacts, send personalized emails, keep track of your tasks and stay better organized.
The shocking truth is that 8 out of 10 agents fail after just five years. One reason for this alarming statistic is that these agents didn’t have the systems or tools in place to help them build and nurture relationships over time, leading to repeat business and ongoing referrals. Keeping in touch with your database and continuing to provide value as a community expert is a strong action you can take to become a sales-driven success in the real estate business.