It’s well-documented that among major professions, real estate agents tend to skew older. Indeed, at 53 years old, the median real estate agent in the United States is actually older than the average doctor.
But age doesn’t tell the full story. For instance, the majority of real estate professionals haven’t always been real estate professionals. In fact, only four percent of REALTORS report that real estate is their first career. Instead, most agents bring previous experience to their work in real estate — and depending on your previous profession, that experience can come in quite handy.
Take Shay Hata, for instance. Before getting into real estate, Shay spent several years running a children’s art education company. When she started working as an agent with Berkshire Hathaway, KoenigRubloff in Chicago three years ago, Shay brought a wealth of experience running a business. That experience taught her that she should treat real estate the same way: as a business.
Naturally, that meant writing a business plan—something that precious few real estate agents do. “A lot of people spend a lot of time forecasting how much they’re going to make each year, how many sales they’re going to have,” Shay told us. “I think that’s very difficult to control, so for me, a business plan [includes] very practical steps in terms of what can I do. What are concrete actions I can do to grow my business?”
For Shay, one practical step was building a great website, which helped her get up and running in a new city. “I felt like especially since I didn’t know anyone in Chicago, and I didn’t know Chicago at all, I needed to make myself look as professional as possible,” Shay explained. “Having a very polished website [helped me] give off that persona that I knew what I was doing, even though maybe I didn’t.”
In addition to her business experience, Shay has spent years observing and supporting her husband (and fellow Marketing Genius Podcast guest) Nobu Hata, who worked as an agent for many years before taking a job as Director of Digital Engagement for the National Association of REALTORS. This year, Shay is poised to do $25 million in sales, in part because she doesn’t waste any opportunity. “I treat my business like gold,” Shay told us. “A lot of other agents, once the transaction closes, they never contact those clients again, and that’s a wasted opportunity.”
In this interview, Shay takes us through her process for developing and sticking to a winning real estate business plan, her dedication to creating customers for life, and how embracing content marketing has helped her build the business of her dreams.
- Matt & Seth