“Richard, what is the secret to success in this business?” I have been asked that question more frequently than anything else any estate agent ever asks me. And I have to say at the outset that the answer is an extremely simple one, one I have given to thousands of agents over the past 10 years. Often the same agents ask it again and again, as if they refuse to believe that that’s all it is. Or they try, don’t see immediate results, and give up. And then most look for the shortcuts. What I know is that the Real Estate Rockstars, those who are at the pinnacle of sustained and repeated success, all spend at least 80% of their time working at this formula for success. All of them.
When the time comes for any potential seller or landlord of a property to investigate the market and call in a couple of agents to discuss the property in relation to the market, that person will always make first contact with the agent that he or she knows. Simple, and it happens without fail. As a property owner, my first choice is always going to be an agent I know (or whom at the very least I have met face to face and have had an exchange), because I will have the greatest chance of trusting that person. Secondly, a potential client will contact an agent who is known to a close friend, colleague or family member, and who has been referred to him or her. And for the very same reason as the first choice. And thirdly, a potential client will contact the agent he or she believes is the most successful in the area. That perception is predominately built on visibility, the agent who has the most visual presence. Normally through; For Sale, Sold, To Let, and On Show boards, signage, vehicle branding, Ads, marketing collateral such as drops, and even the lowly little name-badge.
So therefore, as we know that the agent who ‘owns’ the stock will always have the greatest control of the market, and will always be guaranteed commission, it stands to reason that the only questions that need be asked of any agent in this regard are the following;
- Will you get the first call? How many property owners in your area KNOW you?
- If you don’t get the first call, will you get the second?’ How many people who KNOW you will refer you, and do they?
- If you missed the first and second call, will you get the third? Are you the most VISIBLE agent in the area?
It sounds so simplistic, and you will probably be thinking that there is so much more to it. And yes there is. Once you get the call what next? What do you say and what do you do? How do you make sure that you leave the house with a signed mandate? But that is a subject for another blog, because none of it is relevant if you are not getting that initial call to potentially list a property. Get that right first.
We use this exact same process when looking for any professional to perform an important service. For instance, If I need to go to a dentist, I will go to one I know, as long as I think they’re good. If I don’t know one, I will always ask if anybody I know can recommend one, if they can’t, I will find one. Which one? The one that looks busy, successful, and reputable. The experience I have with that dentist will determine whether they will become my dentist of choice or not.
How do people get to know me? Well I think that right there is the biggest mistake agents make, they ask the question in that manner, instead of asking it the following way, ‘what can I do to get to know people?’ Subtle difference. Agents assume that by shoving copious amounts of collateral in postboxes, putting branding up everywhere, using social networking, and creating visibility people will get to ‘know’ you. Please don’t misunderstand me, those are all fabulous initiatives if all you want is to remain top of mind and create the perception of success, but remember, another agent already got that first call… The agent who assumes that clients will come to them to get to know them, is going to wait a very long time sitting next to a phone that does very little ringing.
How can YOU get to know people? Well, knock on doors, spend time in the community, add value, get involved in various initiatives, join sport clubs and social clubs. Socialize, get involved in schools, community forums, shop where residents shop – when they shop – and engage people. Take an interest. Initiate conversations, but always remember to make everything you do about the other person. Just be genuine, be real, be you. Don’t be that guy who gatecrashes every wedding and funeral wearing a namebadge. People see through a fake faster than you can say ‘bad agent’. Fake is the quickest route to the shortest career. What follows is a simple analogy, but a very powerful one; if you go on a first date and the other person spends the entire evening talking about themselves, and then wants something from you – like another date for instance – is there likely to be another date? No!
Stop asking for things, and rather ask what you can do, what you can give, what you can add, how you can benefit others. The fact that people know what you do is enough. Shift the focus onto them.
Get the other person to talk, and then listen. From then on, stay in touch, regularly. Simple. Its a guarantee of success. We all want to be remembered.
It’s not going to happen behind your desk, it’s not going to happen on your laptop, it’s not going to happen easily. But if you work at it all the time, if you persevere, if you’re consistent and persistent, then slowly, slowly, the results will be evident. There are no shortcuts. This is without a doubt the hardest part of real estate, but the most necessary. Real estate is a long term game, not a short term one. It’s hard work and you will need to persevere, but you can have a lot of fun along the way.
So there you have it. Two words, ‘become known’. The secret to real estate. Everything else in this business only matters if your phone is the phone that rings first. Real estate does not happen in an office, it happens on the streets.
80% of you reading this will not follow the advice. You will be obliged to scrap for the 20% of the spoils that are left over. 20% of you will listen and will become the Rockstars who will earn 80% of the money. Tale as old as time. True story. It’s your choice.
Good luck to you. I hope this helps you to become a Rockstar if you aren’t already one 🙂
Next time we will look at how to go about building trust with clients. Please feel free to comment and engage with me, let me know if you found this blog helpful. I’d like to hear from you.
[It must be said that the concepts above are true for ALL sales people no matter the product, merely apply the same principles.]