By Jay O’Brien
I recently had the pleasure of receiving an e-mail from a new agent in Washington state asking me for advice. Being roughly the same age as one another, he examined my results at a glance and was eager to know what caused them. I had a great discussion with this individual and felt the dialogue was worth sharing publicly.
It’s not uncommon for me to receive a phone call like this, or have a conversation with a new agent who has been told it will take several months/years before earning an income in real estate. This is absolutely flawed thinking, and if this is the advice you’re being given from your new brokerage or “mentor,” RUN.
See, we often witness consumers gravitating toward the big names in the industry within our local areas. “This person owns that city” or “that person has been around for decades.” But let’s rewind for a minute. Zoom out. Why is it that these top dog agents are earning so much business? Is it because of the innovative ideas they have, the new resources they use, the sweat equity they pour into each deal? Maybe… but too often that’s not the case. Chances are much higher that the marketing techniques that they used decades ago are yielding the results they are still benefiting from today.
So if a seasoned agent hands you a phone book, or encourages blasting a neighborhood with postcards to get new business, it may be time to reconsider who you’re surrounding yourself with. However: There are three things you can do to make damn sure you are selling more real estate than 99 percent of the agents in your area.
- Add more value than your competition. Anyone can provide a “free home valuation” or a “free market analysis.” You need to think of other ways to really add value to someone’s life, whether they’re looking to make a move or not. How about evaluating their property taxes to see if they’re paying too much? How about handling the entire appeal process with the county on their behalf? You just essentially found a way to put money in their pocket with nothing expected in exchange. I’m sure you can think of other selfless acts that homeowners could benefit from that might have nothing to do with selling their home. This will earn buy-in and ultimately create a level of trust. And that’s what will really form a sustainable business.
- Think like a consumer. Do you read postcards? Do you like when people waste your time with useless information? Probably not. Find the common denominators that connect you to your audience and get out of the business mentality. The relationships you’re after are not transactional. First, build a foundation of trust and get people to simply know and like who you are. Be subtle with your successes and don’t advertise open houses and new listings to people who couldn’t care less. If you want to share with someone else that you’re a REALTOR®, simply ask what they do for a living. They will almost always reciprocate the question, and will be much more interested in your answer because they asked and you didn’t project it on them.
- Always do what you said you were going to do. Follow up constantly. You’d be surprised how many people lose business simply from a lack of communication. If you said you’re going to call, pick up the phone. If you said you were going to send listings, do it. Even if you over-promised, figure out a way to deliver rather than back-peddling. It will go a long way, and it will be remembered.
Jay O’Brien is a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Prestige in Anaheim Hills, Calif. Aside from real estate, he regularly supports the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and is the co-founder of Mico York, a nonprofit organization that helps kids worldwide through their own personal artwork. Connect with Jay at www.jayobrienrealestate.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.