Monday, November 20, 2006

10% of REALTORS are Successful...Here's Why

We have all read that 10% of real estate agents make 90% of the money. This may be due to a variety of reasons, but more and more I believe that what differentiates the 10% of REALTORS who succeed beyond the rest is their approach to promoting themselves. Now this is not another blog on Prospecting Engines, but it is a compilation of observations that I believe support my conclusion. With that in mind, there are hundreds of thousands of real estate agents and REALTORS across the United States. The majority of these professionals approach their job as a hobby, or a distraction with no real plan or organized activity. These are the friends, co-workers, and relatives of yours that got their license, but kept their day job. Of those hard-working agents that do work to support themselves, many barely subsist and annually earn sums that are well below the poverty level.

In stark contrast to those real estate agents that work hard and barely subsist, there are a group of real estate agents that are wildly successful. These are the people that for some reason or another always have referrals walking through the door, a continual flow of hot exclusive listing and a seemingly unlimited supply of buyers and sellers that look to them for guidance. Once again this level of success begs the question, what do they do differently?

My simple answer is they use as many tools as possible to market and promote themselves and they have systems in place to automate the process. These agents take advantage of online and off-line marketing opportunities, and understand the tools that will generate clients. They leverage the internet as well as traditional media to generate a continual stream of interested prospects. These successful agents ask for referrals as a matter of common practice and use different tools to encourage a continual stream or repeat and referral traffic.

That’s my position, now for the data to back it up.
1) Most real estate agents have a single website that acts primarily as a static billboard. The sites generally give no reason to visitors to come back to the site and generally are very limited on the lead collection tools that are embedded in the site. By contrast, many successful agents use their website as a lead generation tool. They offer various calls to action and multiple tools to capture visitor data.

2) If you look at the various online communities that offer tools or links to help REALTORS promote their websites, the number of participants is typically very low. There are hundreds of thousands of real estate agents across the nation, but sites like ActiveRain, Real Estate Webmasters, Real Estate ABC, RELibrary have an extremely limited number of listings from agents. As of today ActiveRain has 9421 agents listed. They are a relatively new site, but in California alone I had read that we have over 70,000 licensed real estate agents.

3) Millions of agents and very few blogs. Blogging, podcasting and other social media tools are quickly becoming the best way for an agent to promote themselves online. Many agents are starting to adopt this form of online promotion, but once again these are the 10%, not the 90.

4) Most agents do not have a system to consistently communicate their message to the same prospect over and over. They take the shotgun approach and hit as many prospects as possible just once. Those that are successful understand that prospects must be exposed to the agent’s “brand” multiple times before they take action.

5) Response, service, and follow up. I read some time ago that up to 80% of the leads generated by real estate agents are not acted upon or receive follow up. I am not sure if this statistic is true, but my feeling is that most leads are in fact not acted upon within the first 24 hours. This may be due to a number of reasons, but there is an old adage in sales. If your client’s wallet is open, ask for the sale. This can be translated into if your prospect wants your service; don’t tell them to wait a couple of days. As I said above, I am not sure if this statistic is true, but if it is, it presents the most glaring argument for why those 10% are really successful.

I am sure there are a number of differentiators that make the top 10% stand out; however I think all of the differentiators point to the agent having a mastery of self promotion and of personal branding and marketing. If you don’t believe me, think about your favorite real estate guru; or more to the point, think about the super-star in your own office.

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