Five Fundamentals Every Real Estate Agent Should Follow

Five Fundamentals Every Real Estate Agent Should Follow

There are many times during the week when an agent will knock on my office door and ask how they can get their real estate business moving in the right direction. I ask them what they have been doing in their practice to procure prospects and convert them to clients. The majority of the time I identify one common problem that appears to come to the surface from everyone who seeks my counsel– they forgot the basic fundamentals of what it takes to be a successful REALTOR®.

It is so easy to forget the foundational principles that ALWAYS lead to success in building and growing a real estate business. In my opinion, there are five that are extremely important: time management, prospecting, delegating, professional expertise and client management.

1. Managing Your Time

How do you spend your time during the day? Are you using your time “wisely?” I ask these questions of agents who seem to be struggling in getting or retaining business. I’ve found that those who do not have their day well organized and laid out like a road map usually never make much progress in becoming productive. I really believe productivity is tied in to good time management.

There are 24 hours in a day. No more, no less. Each day should be divided into “segments” or time blocks allowing a more focused approach to accomplishing what needs to be done during the day. Allow for flexibility, but try to do specific daily tasks at the same time each day so a routine and discipline are formed. In addition, most successful business people begin their work day early and make the most of the time they have to accomplish their goals. It is difficult to sell a house if you roll out of bed at 9:00 a.m. Get up and get at it!

2. Daily Prospecting

REALTORS® are like farmers in that if we do not constantly plant seeds and tend to our “crops” a harvest cannot be realized. A specific amount of time during the day should be spent on prospecting and developing your business. A minimum of 3 hours each day should be devoted to finding new business. Yes, a minimum of 3 hours.

It is important to be consistent in your efforts to not only find new clients, but also retaining those you served in the past. Develop “gatekeeper” relationships with attorneys, accountants, doctors, past clients and others who are most likely ones to refer buyers and sellers to you. Create prospecting plans for FSBOs, expired listings, neighborhood farm areas, investors, international buyers, etc.

3. Delegating

Don’t try to do everything! One of the most important lessons I learned early on as a REALTOR® and small business owner was to surround myself with people who are experts at what they do and let them do it! One example is how agents handle transaction management. Agents may find themselves caught up in the minutia of all the little details involved with client transactions. Not that we do not want to know what is happening with our listings, contracts, closings, etc., but a good real estate assistant can free up quite a bit of an agent’s time by taking care of paperwork and the “little stuff.” An assistant who is licensed adds more value to the equation. If your business is growing and you are micro-managing everything how much time can you spend prospecting and finding new streams of revenue if you are trying to hunt down a piece of paper or a copy of a home inspection report? Think about it.

4. Be the Expert on the Real Estate Market

The most successful real estate professionals are those who know the real estate market up, down, backwards and forwards. They know their communities, current market statistics and trends, how to negotiate and be a valuable resource to their clients. Agents making six figure incomes are those who can provide valuable advice and insight to their clients. They also have the ability to guide their clients with ease through the confusing and ever changing world of real estate.

5. The Client Comes First

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics and most state real estate commissions/boards require agents to always put the needs of their clients above their own. This does not mean giving away our services for free or lowering our commissions. It does mean, however, that we do not make decisions based on how it will impact us financially. If an agent always focuses on the money they can earn from a sale they can never be considered a true professional in this industry. The money is secondary to doing a good job in finding a client a new home or selling their existing one. Our Code of Ethics has within it a foundation based on the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The client is king (or queen!) Learn it and live it.

These five principals are the basic elements to a successful real estate career. Your annual business plan needs to be developed with these principles in mind. If you are struggling right now in getting your business in “forward motion” consider how you can make some needed changes in your real estate practice (and, in you) that will incorporate all five of these “pillars to success.” Without them you are like a ship without a rudder. You will remain where you are and just drift along. And, I know that is something none of us want to do.