According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median gross income of a real estate agent is $49,700. But that number is highly misleading. There are hundreds of thousands of agents making less than this and hundreds of thousands of agents making more. And how much success you have will depend on a variety of factors.
For example, experience has a huge impact on income. Agents with less than three years of experience earn an average of $38,814 per year, while those with 26-plus years under their belts earn an average of $118,527. Then there’s the number of hours worked, with those working part-time (less than 40 hours) earning somewhere between $21,199 and $40,940. Those who work 60 hours or more per week report an average annual income of $98,716.
The point is, we all have our own version of what it means to be successful. Your definition might be earning $75,000 per year and still being able to attend your son’s baseball practices and games. For another person, it might look like earning $450,000 per year and rubbing shoulders with the upper crust of your community. It’s all variable.
Having said of all that, here are some of the different things that successful real estate agents do differently. If you can replicate some of these, you’re certain to find your own version of success.
1. Niche Down
If you’re a generalist, you’re easily forgettable. That’s because there are hundreds of other generic agents in your market (and everyone blends together). You need to niche down and choose a very specific subset of your market.
Most agents are scared to niche down because they think they’re going to miss out on opportunities. And, to be honest, you will miss out on some. But don’t focus on that. Instead, focus on what you’ll gain from pursuing a niche. It’s better to have 10 percent of a specific market than zero percent of a much larger market.
Possible niches include: homeowners who are downsizing, expired listings, real estate investors, condo buyers, vacation home buyers, job relocations, current FSBOs, off-market properties, first-time homebuyers, specific architectural styles, etc.
2. Develop a Value Proposition
Once you have a niche identified, you need to develop a value proposition that clearly and succinctly explains why you are the person to help your target market.
According to Wise Pelican, “A value proposition is a statement that indicates what your business does, how it benefits you, and why a client or customer should choose you over a competitor. This proposition should be clear, concise, and should solve a problem that clients are willing to pay for.”
There isn’t necessarily a formula you have to follow; however, this is one of the best: “I help [AUDIENCE] achieve [BENEFIT] without [PAIN THEY WANT TO AVOID].”
Examples of good value propositions that follow this script include:
- I help first-time homebuyers in Boston find affordable single-family properties without having to fork over more than they’re comfortable spending.
- I help real estate investors secure off-market listings with cash flow potential without having to compete with other buyers.
Do you see how much more impressive it would be to introduce yourself with one of these statements, rather than saying something generic like, “I’m a real estate agent.”?
3. Follow-Up (Again and Again)
In sales, FIFU is king. This acronym stands for fortune is in the follow-up. You can’t expect to earn a listing/client with a single phone call, email, or postcard. It requires lots of follow-ups. In fact, you usually need at least 7-12 touchpoints before there’s any traction. If you stop after one or two interactions, you’re probably not going to win their business.
4. Network Around the Clock
At least 50 percent of your time should be spent networking and building your sphere of influence. That means if you’re working 50 hours per week, 25 of those hours should be spent grabbing coffee with local mortgage brokers, taking prospective clients out to lunch, building relationships with business owners over beers, etc.
Discover Your Version of Success
Whatever your version of success looks like, implementing the aforementioned suggestions and techniques will help you get closer to achieving your dreams. It won’t always be quick, but it will be rewarding. Build your business from the foundation up and good things will happen for you!