Article provided by Sue Styles, business coach and local board (CREB) Instructor, MaximizedResults.com.
You can feel the instinct inside of you to become an entrepreneur. There is a drive and a passion stirring your ideas together and you can’t wait to make your first million. But just the dream and desire are not nearly enough to make a successful REALTOR®! You need the other half of the equation – the skills to make it happen.
Do you know that Your Daily Habits Determine Your Yearly Results? When I speak to any group of real estate agents I usually begin with this point. There are a multitude of activities you can do to build your business but the core of success comes down to the actions you take every single day. So, what have you been doing? Could you be doing it better?
If you want to build a better business I can tell you how. I have been in millionaire offices for over a decade, hands-on as administrative support and then as a manager of a brokerage and now as a business coach, author and speaker. I know what it takes to build a successful business, have been behind the curtain and now I want to share some of these keys with those hard-working agents, like you, who just need to know what they can do to get to the next level!
Here are four high level habits those REALTORS® grossing over $2 million each year are masters of.
#1 They Build Their Reputation
What do you think your reputation in your industry and in your city is?
What do people say behind your back? A reputation can’t be fabricated; it is created by what you do behind closed doors for the good or the bad. Past clients, past employees and industry members are very often quick to share their own opinions about you and your business.
So, you must imagine what you want others to say about you and then go out and start acting like that!
Beef up your online image
Hire a professional photographer and when you take your own shots use something like Snapseed to touch up your pics to make them super appealing. Everything that you post reflects on you, as the saying goes “How you do one thing, is how you do everything.” Make sure your brand online is doing you a favor, not embarrassing you!
Affiliate yourself with other products or people that help your brand. I sat down with the owner of a cold pressed juicing company that skyrocketed to profitable popularity in Alberta within a short three years, and one of the things that the CRU Juice owner told me was how she was able to align the product with other successful brands that were synergistic, such as Holt Renfrew. The cross-marketing helped people to define and like her brand quickly.
Find your words
Who are you and what is your service? Put three clear words to it so you and everyone else knows! One team I worked with wanted to make it their goal to become the #1 team in their small town. We went through some branding exercises and came up with the words reliable, responsive & respectful. Then they made it into a promise; “We represent your interests by being reliable, responsive, respectful and ultimately bringing you the results you want!”
# 2 They Aren’t Afraid to Ask
The top producers have learned how to ask for business without being aggressive or annoying! When you are starting a solopreneurial business your whole effort might seem like it is on lead generating – because without a customer there is no commission.
The best in the industry have taken training to become better at asking, they have made themselves reach out and call when they didn’t want to. They have built relationships with current clients so that they could invite referrals in. And after the deals close, they continue to ask for business through e-newsletters, personal phone calls, social media and even snail mail.
They never give up!
# 3 Don’t be a Stranger
A little saying in sales is that ‘when you meet someone for the first time you’re strangers, when you meet the second time you are friends.’
I know some agents prefer the 2-step market analysis for precisely this reason: they will have their initial meeting and then not give their opinion on price until they see the clients for the second time – and then in meeting an old friend they hope for a new client.
I might suggest a new and improved strategy that will make your leads feel like friends when they meet you for just the first time.
The benefits of sending a quick message using technology will wow your leads and connect you to them right away. There are three well-documented elements to communication: your words, your voice/tone, and your body language. Studies have shown that:
- words only help communicate about 7 percent of what you mean,
- your voice and intonation help with about another 38 percent and
- it’s your body language that drives home 55 percent of your message!
If you took 3 minutes to create a little video message such as:
Hello, I’m looking forward to meeting you tomorrow night! I will bring all the sales in your neighborhood and answer any questions that might be on your mind…
Then, the potential clients will have ‘met’ you once, and when you arrive they will feel like they are meeting you for the second time. You can verify this yourself by considering a news anchor or some TV personality you watch. If you ran into them on the street, wouldn’t you already feel like you know them? Certainly! Use this to your advantage and you will be able to help more clients get the results they want by working with you!
#4 A Big Business Needs a Big Foundation
In Calgary, Alberta, Canada, stands the Calgary Tower. It’s a landmark standing 626 feet high in the heart of Downtown. It weighs approximately 10,900 tonnes; however, 60 percent of that is underground. Over half of the structure is underneath the surface, supporting the height!
Often in business and life we only recognize the accomplishments we see above the surface. The tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
There are preparations that must be made if you want to erect a high-rise. The base must be able to support the height. To build an impressive structure, product or reputation, you must have an appropriate foundation and for the solopreneur that foundation consists of:
CRM / Database
If you don’t have a database to take care of your clients and leads, then I will assume you must be in a government job! For the rest of us, we need help keeping in touch and keeping the details straight about each person we do business with. With all the amazing choices offered online there is no excuse for not having a Client Relationship Management (CRM) system.
Checklists & Systems
You will need checklists and processes that support every stage of business and are scalable. If you can take all the details out of your head and put them on paper, you will arrive with some brilliant checklists. Right from the first inter-action with a potential customer through to closing, you need to have a process that your business follows.
Annual Marketing Plan
Make your strategic plan and then project manage it so that you are preparing ahead of time and staying ahead of the curve when it comes to promoting your business.
These core competencies may not seem all that glamorous, but without them your business will continually implode under the weight of success.
#5 You Need to Scale or You are Going to Fail
Just in case I have not convinced you to pay attention to your business base, let me remind you what happened when Groupon came to be. Groupon (and there are other lead generating coupon style sites) offered small businesses an optimal opportunity to increase leads by offering discounted coupons for services.
The consumer was captured by the money-saving site and bought up the product. All these businesses increased their customer base ten-fold! Then do you remember what happened?
If any of you were like me, you might have had one of these experiences. I bought a coupon for house cleaning, I called in to redeem my coupon but couldn’t get an appointment for over a month. Then, when I finally received the service it was terrible!
Turned out that the cleaning company was so inundated with coupons they just didn’t have the ability to service the large amount of volume! They weren’t able to scale their business to increase quickly. They didn’t have the support and very soon went out of business.
The hopes for increased business resulted in just the opposite as customers received terrible service, and others couldn’t arrange their service in a timely fashion.
I heard over and over of many small businesses having to close-up shop because the massive lead generation led to a system crash. If you think all your business needs is more clients, think again.
Experienced sales people have learned how to handle lots of business at the same time. They take a new client and feed them through their system: paperwork, product, sales, scheduled follow up, negotiating final deals and finally staying connected to stay top of mind.
It takes time and effort and practice to go from one deal a month to ten. Every time you feel overwhelmed you must learn new skills that help you expand your capacity. It can take a few years to put systems in place that help you to juggle your sales so that you can handle more.
Be diligent and implement one thing at a time. I would suggest that within three years you should be able to handle all you want – and that may include needing to hire your first administrative assistant!
I highly encourage agents to continue their education with regular participation in courses offered through their own Boards and Industry Associations.
*More of the habits are detailed in my new book:
“The Little Red Stick – What Gets Measured Gets Done” Coming out this summer, 2017!
Sue Styles has been immersed in the real estate industry for over a decade supporting agents as a brokerage manager, business coach and local board (CREB) Instructor. She has spoken at conferences and will be presenting at Canada’s largest real estate event, REALTOR® Quest this May, 2017. Her new book “The Little Red Stick- What Gets Measured Gets Done” is hot off the presses in summer 2017. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or visit her blog.