According to a new study by America’s Research Group, a leading research firm, 26 million American households are living at near-poverty levels. Both parents are working two to three jobs; they have literally stopped shopping save for that rare day off, which is usually a holiday; and they shop for groceries between midnight and 5 am, the only time they have off.
As a real estate broker, I took six months off to write a book called Laugh Your Way to Real Estate Sales Success – For Real Estate Agents, WannaBes, UsedToBes, & Those Who Love Them. I did it to help remedy a serious need on the parts of many American households for a reliable, steady income that pays the bills and more. And I knew that many in this group of 26 million look to real estate sales to do just that. I also wrote the book as a warning to many that this field has an over 90% failure rate.
Real estate sales success may not be a quick, easy solution to feeding your family BUT if you are open to these nine steps, it may just be the road to success for you!
1. Business is done “nose to nose and toes to toes.” Build a bond. It just takes an hour! No matter if social media is your preferred form of contact, most real estate sales business – because it involves serious financial transactions – is done face-to-face. Relationships are built to support this. If you don’t know how to work with people face-to-face, begin by role playing with a close friend.
2. Real estate sales is a full-time job. It is not a hobby. If you think you’ll “grab some quick cash on the side,” please don’t enter the field. Real estate is a 24/7 job, period, and will command most of your mental focus. If you aren’t ready to commit “heart and soul,” you shouldn’t begin.
3. Don’t fall for a dream house. This is the downfall of many in the early stage of sales. You see that “perfect” house and before you can truly afford to buy it you’ve mortgaged yourself for months if not years to come.
4. Farm and farm some more. This means focusing on a small slice of the real estate pie, be it a local geographical area, a strong, local sphere of influence, or a local group with whom you have some kind of connection. This is your “farm.” Avoid being a “generalist”and spreading yourself thin. Market to the farm through direct mail, blogs, newsletters and eblasts. If you don’t get results immediately, keep going. Real estate is an endurance game.
5. Go where no one else goes. Do what no one else does. I am very active in social media (Facebook and Twitter), but when I noticed that nearly all of the real estate brokers I know were hitting technology hard and ignoring the old-fashioned basics of “snail mailing” or actually hand delivering hard copy newsletters and flyers, I put my focus there. I am known as the “neighborhood expert” because everyone who lives in the area, regardless of whether or not he or she is online, sees my marketing materials all over.
6. Be “different.” I am intentionally different. I put a humorous twist on my real estate blog. In my newsletters I include columns about my dogs. I deliver timely information and helpful hints, but it’s the unique way I do it that the “farm” (see #4 above) loves.
7. Have a love affair with paperwork. And hard work. Besides the fancy homes and nice cars real estate sometimes affords you, there is a mountain of paperwork, often done into the night and on many weekends. Know that this is part of the job. But once you fully grasp the business, you can hire a transaction coordinator to relieve you.
8. Honesty is #1. 95% honest isn’t honest. If a property can’t be subdivided, it can’t be subdivided, no matter how much the seller insists otherwise. If a spouse tells you something “secretly”, you need to educate him or her on the consequences of secrecy, which can include misleading the public. And because a seller and a buyer need to know that I am totally on his or her side, I always avoid representing seller and buyer in the same purchase. And always share the “bad” and “good” when showing property to a buyer. You were hired to protect this client.
9. If anyone gets happy, let it be your client! It’s the agent’s job to educate his or her clients and to facilitate the transaction to everyone’s satisfaction so that, ideally, both buyer and seller come away from the escrow happy. But if one client is going to be happier, I want it to be mine!
If you’ve gotten this far and you’re still in the game, you could just be on your way!