Resolving to make the BEST START in your Real Estate career ( or get on track! )

I love inman’s first year agent timeline, it has a comprehensive thoughtful listing of what every new agent to the industry should have in place before they even finish taking the test.

There are one or two things I’d tweak though, as one who has actually been though the process, twice actually!  Once as a brand new, didn’t have a clue start-up agent and again after moving to a new state.

Professional headshots – absolute must!  In addition to the excellent advice all the experts offer, I would add this small caveat:

  • Use a relaxed pose, but be dressed professionally. Your face will reflect if you are tense and stiff and the internet isn’t as forgiving as a print ad.  You’ve got 2-3 seconds AT MOST to make a lasting and impressive first impression, better to come off as approachable.
  • Just because everyone is doing it…..I remember when the “bent head close up of the chin” look was BIG – and it made many a nose look BIG! Use a shot that best flatters YOU, and makes you feel good. In fact, NOT doing what everyone else is doing is one of those secret ways of standing out from the crowd!

Handwritten notes – a warm personal touch that can jump-start the word of mouth for your business…or it can back fire on you!  Here’s what I mean:

  • Hi! I JUST GOT MY REAL ESTATE LICENSE!  This does not foster confidence that you are the agent for making the biggest, most expensive purchase of someone’s life.  While a friend may take pity what you really need to accomplish is setting up referrals for now and later.
  • Do the handwritten notes, but take a slightly different approach. “Just popping by to remind you that I am available to answer any real estate related questions you may have.”  A short blurb about the current market ending with something along the lines of “and if you know anyone else I can be of service to I’d sure appreciate your passing along one of the cards I’ve included”.

While you may not have a branding concept fully in place yet it is an important element of starting your own business.  Did you hear that?

YOU ARE STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS

You are NOT going to work for a brokerage; you are simply hanging your license at a brokerage as the law requires.  Whether you do or don’t generate any business is entirely up to you because you are an entrepreneur now, in business for yourself.  There are a number of things you’ll need but don’t skimp and settle for brokerage promoting items in these areas:

  • WEBSITE; you want your own, branded to you, that promotes YOU and your business. You’ll need to follow the regulations you agreed to when you signed on with the brokerage, but other than that, set up a separate site that promotes YOU.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS; different platforms offer different opportunities. One may fit your personality and needs better than the others, but try to be a presence across all of those available to make the most of every option.

And back to the branding – that may take a while to develop or you may already know how you want to brand yourself in your new business.  Whatever your message may be, be consistent with that message in every public forum, from business cards to online persona.

MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE OF ALL; BE ALL ABOUT YOUR POTENTIAL CLIENTS

In every way, on every communication and media site and promotional material always be about informing the client WIIFT. (Whats In It For Them)

No matter how great you are, how caring, how service oriented, how darling and giving and detail minded and professional, your potential client only cares about how you can meet their need.  Make sure they know on first glance that their needs BEING MET is your first and only concern.

As with all new business ventures, it takes a lot of work to build to success.  One word of caution; don’t over spend!  Start small and work your way up.

  • Write out a business plan and include a financial plan in that plan; stick to it as much as possible
  • A self-made website gives you the needed web presence until you can afford that lead generating expensive site. Use the tools available to you, things like:
  • Social media scheduling sites; spend an hour or two one day a week to maintain your presence online so you don’t feel pressured daily
  • Your brokerage probably offers a free scaled down version of a CRM or use an Excel spreadsheet to start until you have enough of a database to warrant paying for a CRM system. Plus, after a year or so in the business you’ll have a better idea of what you want and need in contact management
  • PROSPECT DAILY; get in the habit and refuse to break it. Prospecting shouldn’t be a chore to you or those you are prospecting!  What’s better than getting to meet new people and make new friends?  Essentially, that’s really all you are doing and it should be happening everyday

There are many more items you’ll be adding to your To Do list as you gain experience and see more clearly the direction you’ll choose to take your business.  Watch and learn from those who have already done what you are trying to do, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Resources abound for those who want to learn and grow.  Take advantage of them all and enjoy this new profession you’ve chosen!

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