So you’re a new real estate agent. You’ve filed all the paperwork, passed all the tests, earned all the certifications. Now it’s time to pick up the phone and start looking for work, right?
Not so fast. While it’s important to start developing a solid list of clients, you need to be ready to address their needs first. Here are five things every beginner agent should check off before they start selling.
Find a mentor
Certification courses are all well and good, but most of the knowledge you need to be a successful real estate agent doesn’t come from a classroom. Instead, it comes from years of experience — and since you don’t have that yet, it makes sense to form a bond with someone who does.
A veteran agent or broker can show you the ropes and help you confront the unanticipated issues you’re sure to face with your initial clients. If you’re willing to split the commission on you first few deals, you can learn even more by working side by side with your mentor from start to finish. Finally, an experienced agent will help you maintain realistic expectations — crucial for those first few months of struggling.
Set your budget
There are a ton of options out there for managing and marketing your real estate business, both online and in the real world. Many new agents are tempted to demo every marketing and lead generation gimmick out there at the same time — after all, the sooner you try everything, the sooner you’ll figure out what you like, right?
Not exactly. It may take a while to find the best solutions for your business. In the meantime, your attention will be so divided that you won’t see any real benefits. Getting a solid budget on the books ahead of time will keep you disciplined and give you the care and patience you need to determine the right marketing strategy.
Get a website
While social media is an increasingly valuable tool for real estate marketing, a social network can’t replace a traditional website as the main portal for your business.
For one, you can’t display property listings, start a blog, or create lead capture forms on your Facebook profile. For another, Google and Bing don’t index social profiles the same way as other kinds of web pages, which means your social media profiles won’t appear (or, at least, rank) in search results.
Building a great website that targets keywords for your niche and geographic area will increase your chances of being found by prospects and make you look more professional and established.
Build a local search presence
After you’ve got your website up and running, you can bolster your search ranking by claiming your business on local search engines and directories. Start by creating business pages for your company on Google+ Local, Bing Local, and Yahoo! Local, then move on to review and citation sites like Yelp.
Be sure to complete all your profiles with your full address and phone number. That way, no matter how consumers come across your company, they’ll know how to get in contact.
Establish a system
With any luck, you’ll be inundated with tons of new professional contacts and potential clients from the start. But unless you have a system in place to manage and organize these new relationships you might not reap the benefits.
Whether you go with free, general-purpose tools like Outlook and Gmail, an enterprise option like Salesforce, or a real estate-specific offering like Top Producer, choose a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that will help give you the discipline and responsiveness you’ll need to nurture these connections.