How do you survive your first year as an Estate Agent?

for sale sign london

It’s a sad fact that the majority of Estate agents fail before they’ve completed 12 months in business. How could this be? After all, with the demand for housing growing year on year, isn’t Estate Agency a sure-fire way to succeed in business?

Why do so many Estate Agents fail in their first year?

Unfortunately, too many start-up firms make the same common mistakes. In this article, we’ll look at these pitfalls and examine ways of avoiding them.

The most common shortcomings revolve around –

  • poor quality prospecting
  • inadequate marketing and listing
  • failure to establish long-term client relationships
  • insufficient funding

Allowing for any of these to occur and you’ll be putting your fledgling Estate Agency business in danger of a premature demise. Let’s look at these areas in a little more detail.

Poor quality prospecting

Prospecting is all about knowing your target audience and then using every means possible to attract them. Waiting for the phone to ring will never be enough. You could be waiting a long time!

Often, there’s no substitute for old-fashioned prospecting –

  • cold calling
  • cold emailing or letter writing
  • knocking on doors

You may be nervous of ‘putting yourself out there’, but it’s easy to learn the techniques that can make cold outreach successful. You simply need to bite the bullet and get on with the job. Once you get into the habit of this type of marketing, it will become second nature, and the rewards are sure to follow.

Networking – physical and digital

Another low-cost approach is networking. There’s physical networking where you join one or two local networking groups. Become known as a reliable, helpful person, and your fellow networkers will soon get to know you, like you, and start to refer clients to you.

Then there’s digital networking – in other words using social media platforms, such as Linkedin and Facebook. By connecting with the right kinds of people and posting relevant and helpful articles or posts, you’ll soon become known as an expert in your field.

Showcasing Listings

How you market the properties that your clients have charged you with selling will make all the difference to your success as an Estate Agent. Whether on your website, in your shop or on social media, it’s vital that you make your clients’ properties stand out head and shoulders above any others. You need to use high-quality photography and comprehensive, informative descriptions.

Don’t ignore, either, the opportunities offered by modern technology, such a virtual tours.

Client relationships – you can’t beat word of mouth

One of the first rules of Estate Agency is – ‘the fortune is in the follow-up’. The most successful Estate Agents do everything necessary to build lasting relationships with their buyers and sellers. Much of this takes place once the sale is completed. An Estate Agent who keeps in touch with their client – making occasional calls to check up on how they’re getting on will soon earn that client’s trust. They will be remembered as an individual who cares. When the client talks to friends, colleagues and relations about house moving … guess who’s name will be first on their lips?

Insufficient funding

Any new business needs capital. Without enough start-up capital, from day one, you’ll be gasping for financial breath. Ideally, when you set up in business, you should have enough capital behind you to pay for six months worth of expenses. That should be enough for you to get the business underway and to start earning some serious commission.
6 ways to survive (and succeed in) your first year as an Estate Agent

Work hard

This is your number one ingredient. Expect to work long hours. Be prepared to meet prospective clients or carry out viewings during hours that suit the other party – not yourself.

Proactive, innovative marketing

It’s no longer enough to place an ad. in the local paper and erect a For Sale sign. To give yourself the best chance of a fast sale, you need to adopt an aggressive digital campaign – including making use of social media. Agent Extra provide lead generating social media marketing services if you ever require assistance.

Write a business plan

Include goals that are ambitious yet realistic. Include a marketing strategy too. Refer to your plan weekly. Amend it as you go along, but make it something that you’re accountable to.

Be flexible

You’ll have an office as a base. But be flexible too. Make sure there’s a quiet space at home for you to work. You’ll also have to be prepared to work on your phone from your car or from a coffee shop

Build a trusted network

You’ll need a network of trusted contacts – professionals you can go to for support, and you can use to help your clients. These could be surveyors, conveyancing solicitors, contractors and mortgage lenders.

Become the local expert

Make an effort to get to know the details of your local area. Become the go-to expert who knows all the best restaurants and schools. Even go to the trouble to learn about local crime rates. Being able to inform prospective buyers about these matters will make you stand out as someone worth knowing.

Diligence, Positivity, Integrity

Making a success of your Estate Agency will take time … and plenty of hard work. But the rewards will come. If you are diligent and committed, positive and proactive, and work with integrity and imagination, you’ll not only survive your first 12 months. You’ll go on to prosper and achieve the successes you aspire to and deserve.

 

Written by Patrick McDermott [email protected]

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