Many real estate agents make a salary comparable to retail store managers, electricians, and plumbers. It’s a respectable living, but it isn’t close to the upper limit of financial success that an expert real estate agent can achieve.

However—some real estate agents make annual salaries comparable to lawyers or surgeons. What are they doing differently?

Part of the distinction comes with experience, and experience is something that can only come with time. The other part of that distinction is a combination of market knowledge, motivation, and prowess. If you’re able to navigate the real estate industry with significant proficiency, you’re more likely to see the fruits of your labor sooner. 

Your Firm Wants To Help You Succeed. Let Them.

So you passed your exam and just got your real estate license? If you’re a newly minted real estate agent, you’re likely working with a firm. That firm has spent years, or even decades, establishing a noteworthy reputation in your area or neighborhood.

The firm wants to maintain and fortify that reputation, and you’re an extension of their image. They want you to succeed because your success is their success. 

If you’re ever having trouble, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you run into questions you don’t have the answers for, get those answers from your firm. They have experience navigating the specifics within your local area’s real estate markets.

The resources and answers they provide you are more likely to be tailored to the situation than the general knowledge you studied to become a real estate agent. 

If you intend to become a real estate broker someday, you should be paying close attention to the way your firm runs. Understand the reasoning behind their policies and practices. The sooner you start to learn the nuances, the more prepared you’ll be when the big day finally comes. It’s never too early (or late) to learn. 

Understand the Preconceived Notions You’ll Face

A lot of people have a distinct impression of real estate professionals, mostly because the average potential buyer or seller doesn’t understand the amount of work a good real estate agent does in the background.

To them, it appears as though you’ve typed up a listing, said nice things to someone, and handed them some paperwork. They may believe that was the extent of your role and that you were disproportionately compensated for showing up and smiling.

In the interest of fairness, you need to remember that this impression isn’t always unfounded. There are bad apples in every bunch. There are incompetent lawyers, cruel doctors, and mechanics who jack up the price on simple repairs.

You’ve likely had your own bad first impressions with other professionals you felt you should be able to count on, both in the big and small business world.

Some people dishonestly upsell or underserve their clients in an effort to make a living, and consumers have a tendency to focus on the negatives when the positives are hiding behind the scenes.

Continuing education is the best remedy to the situation. You should be teaching your clients about your role and giving them realistic expectations about what to anticipate. 

Traits and Tactics: Trust and Transparency

If you want to be a successful real estate agent, you need to work towards establishing trust with your clients. Transparency is a huge part of that process. Taking the time to explain what you do and how you do it will put your clients’ minds at ease. 

Some clients and new people will love to ask questions at a sit-down where you can explain your strategy and your progress in real-time. Other clients will appreciate a detailed weekly email or phone call explaining what you’ve done for them and what you intend to do the following week.

These progress reports and open discussions fully illustrate what you’re doing for your clients. It would be difficult for them to misconstrue the situation or misunderstand your role because they’ll have a play-by-play of how hard you’re working for them. 

Make yourself available as often as feasibly possible, and work to accommodate your client’s schedule. They’ll appreciate knowing that you’ll be able to get back to them in a timely manner and that selling or purchasing a home won’t be a significant disruption in their lives.

They have their careers to tend to, and your career is solving their real estate needs. Meet them in the middle with flexibility. 

Embrace Technology to the Fullest Extent

Successful real estate agents work with 20 clients at a time, and all the while, new leads are pouring in. It’s virtually impossible to manage that amount of work without help. You can’t be everywhere at once.

It simply isn’t possible to focus an equal amount of effort into every area of your business at once. That’s why good agents know that automation is important to the real estate business.

If you run advertisements, send out follow-up emails, or post to social media, you don’t need to make an active effort to do so every day. There are plenty of tools that allow for automation and advertising. Posts will post themselves at a time and date of your choosing. You can send out five different newsletters to different clients or potential clients at the same time. 

If you can spend one day a month preparing your posts, ads, and mass emails, you won’t need to divide your attention. You can literally set it and forget it. People who have questions based on your ads or posts will reach out to you for more information. All you need to do is respond. 

It’s important to remember that while your posts and emails may be automated, you don’t want people to believe that you’re automated. Every time you click “send,” you’re presented with a branding opportunity.

Don’t reiterate the same information and share the same content that every real estate agent in the area is spreading. Take the time to write engaging, informative, or even funny content with a clear call to action.

Be Your Brand

To the average person, all real estate agents appear to be faces, names, and phone numbers on benches or billboards. There isn’t much information to infer. They cannot clearly understand why one face and one name is better than another face and name. That’s why branding is so important for both new agents and seasoned ones.

Choose a meaningful slogan or tagline that truly represents what sets you apart from other successful agents in the area. Your ads should be eye-catching and meaningful. 

People are more likely to remember a funny or hard-hitting slogan in a uniquely designed ad than they are to remember a bus bench that looks like a real estate agent’s driver’s license. 

Keep that branding and messaging consistent across all platforms, from your business cards to your Facebook posts. This reinforces the idea that you are who you claim to be and that you’re accurately representing yourself, cementing your position as a memorable, trustworthy, reliable, and consistent figure in your community. 

Make It Your Business To Know Everything: Expertise is Everything

When it comes to real estate, you should make everything about your area your business. Your clients are going to have questions about what comparable properties in the local markets are selling for and how long they’re typically on the market before they’re purchased. These statistics are critical.

If you’re following the market every day, you’ll have these answers available off the top of your head. Bonus points for typing trends into spreadsheets or graph generators that you can hand to potential clients when they ask these questions. 

Following the national news is equally critical. You should always have an accurate picture of the real estate market as a whole. If any upcoming events or changes may have an impact on the market, you should have an idea of what to anticipate.

Listening to a professional real estate podcast is a great way to stay informed while being entertained. Plus, you can listen as you drive to your open houses.

Your ability to explain to your clients how changes or recent events may directly impact them will directly affect the rapport and trust you’ve established. 

Build a Team with Someone You Trust

When you partner up with another real estate agent, you’re inevitably losing half the commission. You’re also only doing half the work.

When you’re new to a particular market, working with another successful realtor is the best way to develop insight from a low-risk situation. You may not know exactly what you’re doing, but for the other real estate agent, it’s just another day at work. 

Think of teamwork as a paid internship that will allow you to expand the horizons of your real estate career. The old adage is true: everyone you meet knows something that you don’t. The only way to know as much as possible is to keep meeting other professionals and learning from them. 

These professional relationships may come in handy later. If a client is in a situation best handled by a specialty realtor, look through your contacts. You may have direct experience working with an agent who specializes in what they need.

Rather than referring that client away (or worse, turning them down), contact that agent and ask them if they’d be interested in coming on board. Over time, you may feel comfortable approaching similar situations solo. 

Build a Credible Reputation

Building a credible name in real estate requires many important considerations. The first is your testimonials. The majority of people make purchasing decisions or decide on a professional based on the testimonials of past clients who have had prior experience working with an individual or shopping with a company.

The reviews beneath your name and your star ratings on every platform should be outstanding. Simply asking your clients to provide honest reviews at the end of your transaction should be enough to secure the reviews you need.

Most people are very happy when their home has successfully sold for a sum they deem satisfactory or when they’ve managed to buy their dream home for a great price.

The way you handle negative reviews is what says the most about who you are as a real estate agent. Although it’s easy to take things personally, especially if your career is an important part of who you are, you must always exercise restraint.

Handing Feedback Constructively

Anyone reading your reviews is reading them from the perspective of the reviewer. Your response to a negative Internet review, especially if it’s loaded, can make potential clients fear that they’ll find themselves on the receiving end of that behavior or troubling characteristics.

The occasional negative review is inevitable, and you should respond to those reviews with dignity and grace without blaming, shaming, or publicly insulting the unhappy client. If necessary, take discussions off the review platform or invite the unhappy client to discuss the matter in person. 

If you’ve received an unjust negative review, such as a review from someone who never directly worked with you, respond to the review and contact the platform the review was posted on.

You can file a claim to have the review removed if you can provide the platform with the evidence they need to declare a review slanderous or deliberately misleading. Platforms will not remove negative reviews left by people who actually worked with you and had an experience that seems justifiably negative.

Remember this: the most important part of what you do as a real estate agent is creating the perfect conclusion for your client. They know what they’re hoping for, and they want their sale to close under the best possible circumstances. If you work hard to deliver their preferred end goal, you’re unlikely to receive negative reviews attached to your online presence. 

Establish Yourself as an Authority

People want to work with a real estate agent who is competent and knowledgeable. When it comes to the sale or purchase of something as important as a home or an office building, people are more likely to seek the assistance of a qualified expert. That’s where you come in.

Establishing yourself as an authority in the industry is part reputation and part exposure. You want the people of your community to know that you fully understand the nuances of the industry. You have answers to their important questions and solutions to their pressing concerns.

The best way to establish yourself as an authority is to contact your local news outlets. News websites and TV news stations are always looking for actual real estate agents to speak about real estate-related issues. If they need an expert to comment on real estate or development within the community, you want them to know that you’re available to be that expert. 

You can also write a blog on your website. If you discuss real estate topics relating to your community and use area-specific SEO keywords, people running Google searches about those relevant topics may stumble upon your blog. You had the answers they needed when they needed them, and you’ll find yourself as a top contender for their business. 

Running a blog also helps to keep you accountable for reading up on the industry. Your blog is a way to explain the things you’ve just learned and express your thoughts on the matter. It may benefit your personal knowledge base just as much as it benefits potential clients. 

Use Your Sources

Plenty of other professionals are involved in the process of buying or selling properties. Lawyers, people who work in finance, inspectors, plumbers, electricians, roofers, and even landscapers regularly speak with people looking to improve, sell, or buy a property.

You’re going to come across a lot of these professionals throughout the duration of your career. What could it hurt to put a few business cards in their hands?

If you trust the quality of the work that a professional performs for their clients, develop a rapport of professional respect. Take a few cards from them, as well. Recommend them to clients who approach you, and in turn, they’ll be more likely to recommend you to potential clients that approach them. Referrals are key to being the best real estate agent you can be. 

Value Everyone Who Attends an Open House

When you’re holding an open house event, the first thing on your mind is selling the property you’re showing. You’re naturally going to feel driven to speak of the merits of the property at hand.

Inevitably, that property won’t be what everyone is looking for. People will express their tastes as they consider the home they’re exploring. 

Your sign-in sheet is invaluable. After the event, you’ll have an opportunity to touch base with everyone who attended. People who express interest in the property are great, but those seeking something different are just as valuable of an opportunity. 

They may not like the property you’re currently showing, but there’s a good chance you can be of use to them in the future. You might have other properties they’d be interested in purchasing if they’re taking a pass. Stay in contact with them. Ask them what their needs are, and offer to reach out to them with opportunities better suited to those needs. 

If they aren’t currently working with a real estate agent, you can offer to act as their agent. Understanding their needs will help you find properties they’d be interested in purchasing. When a new one pops up, drop them an email and ask them if they’d like to get together and take a look. 

Take Care of Yourself

Self-care is just as important for real estate agents as it is for everyone else. If you’re working through a stressful situation with a client and overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do, burnout is almost inevitable.

When you’re burnt out, potential clients will be able to tell. Your lack of enthusiasm will leak into your business dealings, and your clients will get the impression that you’re checked out.

Give yourself enough breaks. You need time to eat healthy, exercise, get a massage, and binge-watch some stuff on Netflix. Work-life balance is different for everyone, and you need to prioritize determining how that balance will work best for your life.

You deserve relaxation and a break from your career stresses, and acts of self-care will help you return to work with renewed optimism, passion, and enthusiasm.

Get a Real Estate Coach or Mentor

Many real estate agents turn to more accomplished real estate agents for mentorship. This is a great idea, but it’s not as encompassing as working with a real estate coach. 

Real estate coaches have made it their profession to help other real estate agents become effective. They aren’t competing with you, and they don’t have personal trade secrets they aren’t willing to share.

If you’re fully committed to the idea of succeeding as a real estate agent, and you’re willing to devote your time to further learning, immerse yourself in expert real estate coaching. It’s much easier than attempting to learn important things piece by piece from various websites. 

Choosing a single coaching company for all of your needs will ensure that the messaging you receive is consistent and that every tool or piece of advice geared to help you is consistent. When everything you learn is easily integrated, it’s much easier to apply your knowledge to your career. 

Harris Real Estate University will teach you everything you need to know about becoming a successful real estate agent in great detail. You’ll learn about lead generation, workflow management, creating perfect listings, thriving in all market conditions. We also teach team building, marketing, establishing authority, negotiations, and even how to maintain a positive and productive mindset. 

In addition to one on one coaching sessions with our certified coaches, you’ll also have access to our massive learning library of previous lessons. Access them on demand when you need a refresher or you’re seeking highly specific information about a special topic. 

Try a free coaching consultation to see what we have to offer you. 


BBB Business Tip: How to respond to negative reviews | Better Business Bureau

How Leaders Create and Use Networks | Harvard Business Review

Job burnout: How to spot it and take action | Mayo Clinic

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