How To Ensure Success As a Real Estate Agent in 2016
Statistically, 75% of you will have given up on your New Year’s resolutions by mid-February!
This is regardless whether we’re talking about eating healthier, going to the gym more often, drinking less alcohol, or finally stop smoking!
How about your professional goals as a real estate agent? More leads? More conversions? More deals?
Have you put this year’s action plan together? Any particular targets you would like to achieve by 2017?
If there’s one thing you’d like to persevere this year, and be proud of doing so, what would it be?
In case you haven’t thought that one through, you’re in luck as this article discusses a number of actionable real estate resolutions, which will assist you in achieving the goal of improved success as a real estate agent in 2016:
Tip #1 – Video
In 2016, one of the first things real estate agents should do is utilize video, accordingly to Ryan Fitzgerald, Raleigh, NC. Whether it’s sitting in your car talking about real estate tips; or touring neighborhoods with a video camera.
The other day, I received an email from a lead who registered on my website that they were doing research on Realtors in Raleigh, NC when they received my video, introducing myself, in an email. Their reply back to me was one of gratitude for introducing myself and connecting with them in a way other Real estate Agents were not!
This is a video I shot in less than 5 minutes, and did less than 5 minutes of editing:
When you’re a buyer and you want to figure out who is the best real estate agent to work with, it’s tough to look past videos. The people who are watching my video are establishing a connection with me and it’s forming a bond. They can decide right away whether or not I’m someone they want to work with.
If you were a buyer, are you more likely to work with someone based on a photo or a video?
Who will you remember when the time comes to buy a home: the real estate agent who sent you a video to introduce themselves or the ten other agents who sent you the ‘How can I help you’ email?
Tip #2 – Local Real Estate Community Page
Speaking to Bill Gassett, one of the Top RE/MAX Real Estate Agents in Ashland, Massachusetts, it was clear his opinion on how a real estate agent can gain business.
Bill mentioned putting together an exceptional local real estate community page or pages. Simply, a community page is everything you want to know about the city or town in which you do business. Consumers love to work with those who are knowledgeable about where they live and work.
Here is a quote from Bill: “Community pages establish yourself as a real estate expert within a given city or town. If you do a good job providing information people want and have a small understanding of search engine optimization you can really kick some butt with community pages. Real estate agents should try to optimize these pages for the term real estate agent or Realtor, city, state. These are money searches. When a consumer uses Google or other search engine and does this type of search they are looking to hire an agent!”
Bill talks extensively on how to make an awesome real estate community page in this article over at RISMedia, and he covers what you should have in your local real estate pages. Take a look it is well worth reading!
Tip #3 – High-Quality Blog Content
Real estate agents, whether brand new to the industry or full of experience and knowledge, should be putting an extreme emphasis on producing, and SHARING quality blog content in 2016. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “content is king”. While that couldn’t be more true, it goes further than that, says Lori Thomas Dickert.
What you do with your quality material once it is written will make or break the success of not just that article, but getting your name out there among the influencers in the industry.
A few of the important things that should be included in your article are, a minimum of 500 words, a compelling title, keywords, cited sources, and this biggie…links to additional articles by other real estate professionals on a similar topic!
You’ll want to do the latter for a few reasons:
- You are adding value to your article by providing additional information for your readers.
- The real estate professionals included in your article are more likely to not only read your article, but share it to their social channels, increasing the article’s exposure.
As I mentioned, what you do with your blog content after its written is a key component to its success. You should start by sharing it to the top social networks including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest, followed by any others you have a presence on.
When you post your content, you’ll want to mention the other real estate professionals you included in the article. There’s no guarantee your article will be seen, even by the people who follow you, but if they receive a notification of a mention, it greatly increases the chances they’ll read it.
One more thing I’ll add since we’re on the subject of sharing content, is that you should also be putting an emphasis on sharing other people’s content! When you recognize another high-quality article by sharing it, you’re setting yourself up to be an industry leader and resource.
Okay, one more thing…2016 should be your year of social media interaction with others. You should be visiting the social networks of others: liking, plussing, retweeting, re–pinning, commenting, and showing a true interest in building relationships.
When you create high-quality real estate content and follow through with the sharing process, you can rest assured that by 2017, you and your blog will be in a completely different position: a GREAT position!
Tip #4 – Lead Generation Strategy
A well-rounded lead generation strategy is crucial for real estate sales success, says Luke Skar.
Too many real estate agents succumb to the idea that they have a large enough group of friends and relatives to help make a career selling homes. Successful agents share the same characteristics as other professions: hard work and a sound plan yield to great results. In order to see steady and repeatable success, new and veteran agents need a well-rounded lead generation strategy.
Part 1: Blog and Social Media Presence
The easiest way to connect with potential clients is with a blog and social media accounts. Agents should use the blog to show their expertise in particular areas as well as expound on their hobbies, interests and charities. People buy from people when they share common interests. Sharing the blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest will allow the agent to connect with other folks that have the same interests.
Part 2: Direct Mail
This will take some money, but direct mail has proven effective for many years. New agents can team up with insurance agents and movers in order to minimize costs. Cheap postcards can be sent out monthly to the same areas to keep the agent’s name at top of mind for potential buyers.
Part 3: Networking
Networking is effective, especially when agents join a group that is geared toward business goals. BNI and local chamber of commerce are usually the best avenues for meeting like-minded professionals and getting a base of contacts.
Developing a comprehensive lead generation strategy, and sticking to the plan each and every month, will lead to more clients and more transactions as time goes on.
Tip #5 – Go Niche
If your plan is to generate organic leads online from your own website…you MUST go niche, according to Karen Highland from Frederick Md Realtors.
You should create community and neighborhood pages with rich, detailed content, GPS-tagged photos from your own smartphone, and video of the community. These pages will capture online searchers and direct them to your property search, or they might just contact you directly, because they recognize you as the neighborhood expert.
You need to care for these pages, keep them updated, add to them when new neighborhood information comes to your attention. Add seasonal photos…make them a super source for people looking for lifestyle information.
Lifestyle searches are the newest search target on the radar. People are just as interested in what the lifestyle is like as they are “3 bedrooms 2 baths“. So if we want to capture them, we have to provide what they are looking for! These community and neighborhood pages should be the cornerstone of your online marketing. Then you link to these pages from blog posts and social media posts. You add them to lists and Pinterest boards, you promote them in all the places and ways that you can. This type of content will set you miles apart from other agents who are just paying for leads and using their company lead pages.
My own personal goal in my content marketing: get better at story-telling, both visually and in the printed word.
If we keep providing value in ways that today’s consumers are looking for, we will be the experts they are looking for!
Tip #6 –Quality Real Estate Articles
Just one thing: if I could only select one thing to utilize in my business, it would most definitely be to continue to write high quality real estate articles and do it consistently over time.
Lynn Pineda continues by saying that there really isn’t any better way in which to establish yourself as an expert in selling homes, than to put it into words so the whole world will know. Your reach is incredible!
You’ll find most real estate agents will not do it, as by no means is it easy. Many think they can’t write, yet anyone can really fine tune the craft of writing. It takes effort. If one thinks they can’t write, than all they have to do is to seek out help as there are articles after articles on just how to do it: from the title to use, to the length, to the format and to the topic. It’s all out there to learn.
With this in mind, it really is a huge opportunity for you to stand out from the competition.
There are no short cuts in writing real estate articles: it takes planning and commitment. Quality writing gets attention from customers wanting to sell a home or buy a home. In addition, quality writing grabs the attention of real estate influencers and getting the attention of someone influential in real estate, will only grow your following across social media platforms increasing your exposure. More attention when you want to be noticed for what you do is always a good thing. Get writing!
If you need to see what I’m talking about, feel free to visit my Southeast Florida Real Estate blog and discover an example of what I’m suggesting.
Tip #7 – Share Knowledge via Video
What to focus on for success as a real estate agent in 2016?
Paul Sian noted that for 2016, real estate agents should be focusing on adding more video to their stack of tools.
Not just video of a house listing but using video to share their information and knowledge with buyers and sellers. In today’s time-pressed world, reading sometimes becomes something one does when they get time which usually translates if they get time.
Video is much easier to share and the main points are easily understood as compared to lengthy blog articles which may take a couple of reads to full digest. This does not mean one should ignore blogging altogether but both video and blogging can go hand in hand.
If a real estate agent creates a 4-6 minute informational video, they also have the makings of a blog post from that video. All they need to do is have their video transcribed into text and post it on their blog alongside the video. That way, the content serves two different groups: those who want to watch video and those who want to read. If you have time and want to make the blog more accessible to everyone, you can add proper section headings and descriptive text to help organize the thoughts of the video for a read.
Real estate agents should also be using video for showcasing the homes they are helping to sell. Great pictures are a must but now so are great videos of the home. Not only should those videos show the home but there should be some narration as well describing what potential buyers are seeing and why they should come into the home to see more.
Internet marketing is taking on a whole new avenue which should be looked at by all. The old methods of pictures, MLS, and a local paper ad do not work any more. Only by focusing on what the new media platforms have to offer can you best serve your clients.
Tip #8 – Customized Mobile App
The ONE thing agents should be doing in 2016 that they won’t regret by 2017 is creating a customized mobile app with their personal branding, says Barbara Bottitta.
A customized mobile app gives clients an easier way to access an agent’s products while still having the ability to view the entire MLS. Searching for properties through an agent’s app keeps their branding in front of customers while conducting their search. It also enables the agent to establish a direct relationship with clients. This greatly increases the likelihood of them calling you instead of someone else when they are ready to start going to look at homes.
In 2014, almost 60% of home searches were done on a mobile app. Mobile app searching is exploding and by 2017 it is very likely that more than 85% of home searches will be conducted this way.
A mobile app is easy to market, easy to distribute and easy to share! Clients can set up push notifications for changes to their saved listings like open houses, price reductions and status changes. They can subscribe to your newsletters and follow you on social media. You can even customize your app to enable a client to call you directly through your app!
Whether you are working with a buyer or a seller, your clients will see available listings in real time; meaning they will have access to up-to-the minute information about listings of interest, literally in the palm of their hands. Buyers can see detailed information on homes for sale. Sellers can see their competition in real time instead of relying on a “zestimate” for current market shifts.
Agents who spend the time and money creating a mobile app now will help them put their branding in clients’ hands. Agents who invest in this now will find their businesses increasing, as today’s buyers and sellers are becoming more and more tech savvy and want an agent who is willing and able to keep up.
Tip #9 – Follow Up Service
Towards the end of 2015, I bought another small buy-to-let investment property in Northcliff, and was very disappointed with the services of the listing agent. The time it took for him to finally get in touch with me following my inquiry, the lack of communication, lack of any sort of process, or the total disregard of basic manners was just shocking. You would think he might go the extra mile for a full cash offer, but nope!
Would I ever work with that person again? Never ever!
Would I recommend this person to anyone? Zero chance!
How many real estate agents behave like this? Who knows!
It dawned on me how many buyers might be faced with a similar experience, and be completely distraught with buying real estate and/or real estate agents altogether! No wonder our profession has a bad name!
Whereas there are a number of lessons to be learnt from that experience, I took away one crucial element which would have made a world’s difference to me as a buyer: follow up service!
He more than likely wasn’t the highest grossing real estate agent in his office, nor the most experienced agent. My goodness, imagine if he could have acknowledged my every request with a simple phone call to provide feedback, timely email, or even text message to say ‘Thank you for your patience in this matter’, regardless how screwed up the situation was! I would have been very impressed by his follow up service and likely not have a bad feeling about the whole deal!
So, if there’s one thing to ensure success as a real estate agent in 2016, something which he would definitely not regret by the time 2017 comes along, I would highly recommend providing an excellent follow up service to EVERY SINGLE ONE of your clients.
Follow up, follow up, follow up!
There are so many things which can go awry in a real estate transaction, but if the real estate agent plays his follow up service card correctly, many clients will appreciate the effort put forward and be impressed nonetheless by the service!
Having finished this article, what’s the first thing you’re going to be doing now?
Finally starting that real estate business action plan for 2016?
Can you visualize your success as a real estate agent in 2016?
I hope you got inspired by some of these simple, yet very actionable ideas by these real estate professionals!
Do you have any other interesting real estate resolutions which weren’t mention above? Please let us know!
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— Xavier De Buck (@XavierDeBuck) January 27, 2016
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About the author: The above article “How To Ensure Success As a Real Estate Agent in 2016” was written by Xavier De Buck, your top-producing Johannesburg real estate agent with Luxury Division of Chas Everitt International Group. Xavier has been nationally recognized and awarded for providing service excellence, exceptional property sales, whilst exhibiting the highest level of professionalism. With over 15 years combined experience as a real estate agent and real estate investor, if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Johannesburg, Xavier would love to share his property knowledge and expertise.
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