April 19th, 2017

What’s the secret?

There seems to be a secret to becoming a successful real estate agent, but it’s not something people talk about. You don’t just ask an agent how they built a successful real estate career and expect them to give you a step-by-step guide.

That’s not how it works.

It’s true that every agent must carve out their own path. And you already know that it takes hard work, dedication and commitment.

But what are some of the other secrets? The things that set some agents apart as being outstanding performers with a thriving business.

We’ve worked with some of the best agents in Canada and we’ve noticed a few significant differences between those who thrive and those that just survive.

We also see some of the biggest mistakes that agents make. These hold them back and prevent them from rising to the top. Let’s cover those first, so you know what to avoid.


Mistakes to Avoid

 1.  Not having a business mindset.

Start as you mean to go on. If you want to create a successful business, you must adopt a business mindset from the very beginning. This means making sensible investments in your business like having a professional website and professional presence from the start.

2.  Not delegating effectively.

It’s tempting to cut costs, particularly when you start a business. But the problem is that you end up being the bottleneck in your business. As an agent, you need to spend your time meeting people and delegating as many of your other tasks as possible (like the top agents do).

3.  Doing business with friends.

When it comes to business, you need business relationships. Hiring a friend – particularly one who offers you cheap rates for photography, for example – is a false economy.

They don’t value your business because they’ve given you a discount and they’ll be the first to leave you hanging when they get a more lucrative client. As a business person, your systems have to last. You can’t afford to keep replacing key partners.

4.  Travelling too far.

It’s easy to think that if you work in a big area you’ll have more business because you service more people, but the opposite is true. The key is to spend time focusing on people, not driving all over the place.

Successful agents work in a singular city or a smaller area within a big city so they can get to know the area well and spend less time travelling. They also get involved in the community. They sponsor community events and get to know the local people. Just look at real estate legends like Brian Higgins, Donna Tays and Les Twarog.


So now you know what to avoid, here’s how to sky-rocket your success in this industry. We’ve gathered this inside information from the best in realtors the field.


Know Your Audience

Identify your target audience and really get to know them. Don’t believe you can help anyone with a pulse and a home to sell – work out your niche and stick to it.

Doing this allows you to become a specialist in your field, and makes your job a lot easier (as you’ll discover later in this post). Here are a couple of examples.

If you specialise in looking after families, you’ll soon learn the things that are important to them like where the local parks and schools are located and what the childcare options are in the area. And you’ll gain more credibility with this audience if you’re a parent yourself and can speak from experience.

If you specialise in helping professional singles and couples without children, their needs are going to be very different. They’ll want to know about the quality of local restaurants and takeaways, and they won’t ask about child-friendly eateries.

If you’ve not done this exercise before, here’s An Easy Way to Create a Customer Avatar that attracts the right clients, and a free PDF template to download.


Dress for Success

Dress professionally, and appropriately to your audience. Consider seeing a personal stylist or image consultant who can help you.

A stylist will blend your tastes, activities, body type and desired image to create a look that suits your needs.

You don’t want to waste time trying things that won’t work for you, and you want to be sure your image projects confidence, warmth and trustworthiness. This is where a great stylist can help.

Remember, your image needs to be appropriate to your ideal audience. You’ll want to dress differently if your ideal customer is a trendy, young professional than if you’re working with investors.



Shine Online

Make sure you have a well managed, professional online image. If you’re just starting out or have limited time (who doesn’t?), confine yourself to Facebook and LinkedIn rather than spreading yourself too thin.

Remember, you’ll have to be active online every day. So, don’t create accounts on loads of platforms that you won’t have time to manage.

Polish your profile so that it stands out from the crowd and speaks to your target audience. Consider hiring a professional writer or social media manager who can create a brilliant bio for you.

In the beginning, you may have to take care of your own social media so be sure to post regularly and create content that’s useful to your audience. Don’t fill your page with listings!

Instead, use a 411 Plan. That is, four entertaining posts, one soft promotion, one hard promo with a link to your webpage (if you have one).

Consider outsourcing your content marketing when your business starts to take off.


Adore the Hustle

You’ve got to love the thrill of the chase when it comes to following up leads.

You don’t need to be sleazy or salesy, in fact, it’s better if you’re not. The best realtors really love people and genuinely enjoy helping them.

People can tell if you’re authentic and they pick up whether you want to help them find the right place to live in. So be sincere, honest and open – but be sure you also love the sales process.

The best agents are constantly learning and continually refining their sales and marketing which can be time-consuming.

A great hack is to subscribe to Blinkist. Blinkist allows you to read bite-sized versions of non-fiction books, and includes expert advice on sales and marketing.



Get a Plan

Don’t think of real estate as a career – it’s a business. And every great business has a plan.

Don’t pull that face (we saw you!) and don’t overcomplicate this. You need something simple.

Business coach Kate McCarthy says to Throw the Business Plan Out the Window. She uses a template that involves dreaming about the life and business that you want and then creating an action plan.

The plan is broken down into where you’ll be in 3 years, 12 months and 90 days, and then you create action steps for this week that move you towards your 90-day goal.

Every week you review, learn and create your new 90-day plan. It’s simple, elegant and effective.


Make Your Clients Look Good

You need to do everything you can to make life easy for your clients, that’s a given. But you also need to make sure your clients look good online.


Because Canadians are ahead of the game. Eighty percent of the population is online, and you have 20 seconds to get potential buyers to fall in love with your listings.

It’s critical your listings look professional and stand out as being more polished than your competitors because people check out listings online before they look at them in person.

So, don’t skimp on photography – get a professional. Look for an experienced real estate photographer who has high-quality samples of their work online.

A true professional will also be able to provide you with 2D and 3D floor plans of your listing as well


Ask This One Question

There is one question that all great agents ask themselves. They ask it continually because it keeps the at the top of their game.

This question sets them apart from the competition and ensures they continually deliver customer ‘Wow!’

Whenever they make a decision, they ask themselves, “What would a GREAT agent do?”

That’s it. That one simple question helps keep them at the top of their game.

Because if you want a reputation as a quality agent, you have ooze quality in everything you do. You must make ‘quality’ your middle name.

So now that you have all these secrets, you can use them to act, or you can continue along as you are.

The question is, “What would a GREAT agent do?”