By Ryan Fitzgerald
Let me ask you a question: Do you want real estate to be the only job you have for the rest of your life?
For some, the answer might be “yes.” For me, the answer is easy: “No.”
I don’t want real estate to simply be my job; I want to operate a real estate business. If you share in this goal, then here are seven ways to build that business.
1. Build a Strong Foundation
If you’re going to build a successful real estate business, you need to start with a strong foundation. It’s similar to building a house, your foundation is going to be what your real estate business is built on.
Everyone has a different foundation, whether it’s through networking, honing in on a certain market or niche, cold calling, door knocking, social media, direct mail, buying leads online, or a combination of methods – there are many different types of foundations. My foundation is my real estate website.
A strong foundation for your real estate business sets your path toward creating a memorable brand and generating leads.
@FlashBuddy; 2014. Morguefile.
Your brand should embody the personality of your business and what people can expect from you.
If you’re building someone else’s brand, you have a job. If you’re working to build your own brand, you’re building a business. And every business decision you make is going to have an impact on your brand. Always ask yourself, how will this decision improve my brand and does it line up with my company values?
In the end, a successful brand will help you generate more leads.
3. Generating Leads
What are your strengths? If you’re a great networker, networking will generate leads for you. If you’re great on the phones, cold calling will generate leads for you.
There are different strategies and ways to find leads, just don’t waste time on something that isn’t your strength. Tap in on your natural abilities. For instance, if you’re really good at social media, don’t make cold calls. Generating leads through social media is a skill; it takes work and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Part of the reason people fail in real estate is because some brokerages continue to promote outdated real estate marketing techniques. I know this all too well because it nearly cost me my business. I was told the only way to be successful in real estate is to make cold calls. That was simply not true for me.
Be the best at what you’re already good at.
4. Lead Conversion
You should always be working on your lead conversion and follow up process. Don’t expect to convert every lead you generate. You need to set proper expectations for yourself and your business.
It’s wise to underestimate your lead conversion percentage (from lead to closed transaction). This is one of the most important business metrics you’ll come across because it allows you to reverse engineer the lead generation process.
If you have 3,600 leads per year, and you are converting at 1 percent, you are closing 36 deals per year. Now figure out where/how you’re converting the most leads and look at where you’re losing leads. Maybe you need to tweak your lead follow up process. Monitor your successes and connect that to your daily, weekly, and monthly prospecting activities and goals. If you go from converting 1 percent to 3 percent of your leads, you’d then be closing 108 deals per year.
Carefully and consistently monitoring your lead conversion will help you determine what results you need in order to accomplish your goals.
5. Systems and Processes
You need to be documenting everything you do – especially when it comes to your systems and processes for generating leads. You should also find ways to automate your lead generation tasks – such as through your CRM. Plus, easier tasks will slowly begin to fall on the shoulders of others as you hire assistants and eventually grow your team. You need to be OK with this. Letting go will allow you to grow your business because it gives you back a valuable asset: time.
6. Customer Service
Customer service is everything in real estate. None of these previous points matter if your customer service isn’t impeccable.
Whether you’re generating new clients with your time, money, or effort, finding business is expensive. What’s not expensive is providing great customer service so that your clients stay with you for life. If the experience your client has is 10 out of 10, they are going to promote you to their friends as being the best local real estate agent.
If your customer service takes a backseat, you will reach a tipping point and never be able to grow your business any further. Without great customer service, even a lead-generating machine is only going to grow as big as his or her “new clientele.”
7. Be Patient
This is something I struggle with personally. Sometimes I find myself wanting to press fast-forward on my business so I can get to where I want to be. Then I realize that pressing fast-forward takes away from the joys (and process) of getting there.
Don’t allow a lack of patience to control your decision making early on in your real estate career. Stay true to what you’re trying to accomplish and understand what is in your control and what is outside of your control.
The best views come from the hardest climbs; appreciate the struggle.
Ryan Fitzgerald is the owner of Raleigh Realty in Raleigh, N.C. Connect with him on Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Pinterest.