Lots of people will not agree with me, but I’m of the opinion that the first 90 days of your real estate career will be the most important ever. If you want to get in money fast, then it's crucial of what you do in these first 90 days.
Before you start these first 90 days, there is one thing you have to start with first. It might not seem as a big deal, but trust me, it’s going to make a difference. It's the difference between you succeeding or failing in this real estate business.
The first thing I want you to do is convince yourself why you want to become a real estate professional. If the answer is, "... because I want to make a lot of money!’’ Please stop immediately and try to rob a bank. If you can find a passionate reason to start in this complicated, challenging, emotional, and confusing business, you are on the right track. Don’t get me wrong. At the end of the day, it’s all about the money. However, the money will come as you go. But you need to be patient because it will definitely take some time. You should be focusing on the outcomes, not the money. It’s a result, not a reason. Once you do the things that you're passionate about, the money will follow you. First think about the ‘why’ you want to become a real estate professional. After you figure this out, then create a working plan on starting your career - The First 90 Day Plan.
The Question is, Why is this so important? I'm glad you asked! First, start with the idea that you want to focus on the real thing. There are thousands of reasons you can start with, but which ones have the most effect. The second reason is quite simple. Mindset is everything in this business. If we have the wrong or distracted mindset, we are ready for the next failure. Ever wondered why we get so much done in the day before we go to our holiday? It is because our mindset and focus is so sharp that we want to get things done before we leave. We have the feeling that if we don’t finish this before we go on holiday, our mind will still be distracting us during the trip. So let’s get focused and have the right mindset.
Let me give you an example of a 90 day plan that would be effective from the start of your real estate career:
Week 1: You’re in business.
That means you need a plan. Identify your goals in terms of income, lifestyle and targets. Make sure that whatever target you want to reach is realistic. Don’t write down in your first year to hit $300,000 dollars, if the only average commission is $2000 dollars. Once you have a goal that is realistic, figure out how many transactions you’re going to close to achieve it. Other that that, you should consider to have a professional photo taken for your business cards, your agency website, your own website (if you are considering of getting one), and other personal branding marketing materials.
Week 2: Compile a list of everyone you know.
This includes family, friends, friends of friends, tradespeople, and professionals you’re in regular contact with, such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, and store owners. Send them an email or personal letter letting them know that you’re now in real estate and available to take care of their real estate needs. This is the beginning of your database, which will be the single most productive prospecting tool you’ll ever have. In addition, you may buy a map and outline your prospective selling area. Then, get in your car and drive every inch of it, the main streets, the side streets, the alleys and the parking lots. Try to get a feel for the different kinds of housing in the area and the locations of parks, schools and other amenities that affect pricing and salability of nearby residences.
Week 3: This is the week we should get a first lead or customer, and make sure they know you mean business.
Later in your career, you’ll have room for flexibility. But at the start, it’s a good idea to maintain regular hours. Plan on starting no later than 9 a.m. and working until 5 p.m., whether it’s in the office or in the field. Unless you’re selling resort property, remember to wear business attire. Please make sure your tools and equipment are in order. The essential tools include a clean car, a cell phone, laptop or a handheld computer, and a digital camera. You goal is to project competence and professionalism.
In addition, this is a good week to follow up on those letters. Call your entire prospect list. Remind people that you are now in real estate, and ask if they or anyone they know is looking to buy or sell a house.
Week 4: You should have a lead or two from your letters and calls.
If you don’t, check out the expired listings and FSBOs in your selling area and start calling. Better yet, go see them in person. Another source of leads is to go through the files of salespeople who have either retired or left the company, and talk to your broker about adopting those clients. With your broker’s permission, contact them and tell them you’re calling as a representative of the company that sold them their house.
Is your listing packet in order? A good listing packet looks professional, which includes information about you and your company as well as prospective sellers with clear benefits of working with you. Your presentation should be available in both print and CD, or DVD formats. Furthermore, have a separate presentation ready to show prospective buyers why you’re the ideal person to help them find their next home.
Week 5: Start thinking about farming, which is identifying and focusing on a fairly tight selling area.
A farm is usually no more than 200 to 300 residences. Your own neighborhood is often a good place to start. In general, people like doing business with people they know. Hence, you may assemble a marketing list using a crisscross directory, which lists houses by address. Four or five times per year, remember to send every resident some kind of direct-mail piece. The first piece should introduce who you are and give pertinent biographical information. If you have a family and feel comfortable talking about them, do include their names as well. Your goal is to be perceived as the person to turn to in Crestwood Estates (or whatever your area) if you want to buy or sell a house.
Week 6: Take your education to the next level with a sales class.
Even “born salespeople” can enjoy expert advice. Selling is an interpersonal skill that takes time and practice to master. Yes, an outgoing personality helps. However, enthusiasm by itself is not enough. You need someone who can point out what you’re doing right and how you need to improve. Like most people at the beginning of their sales careers, you need the discipline that comes from following a specific program. The right teacher or coach can make a world of difference.
Week 7: Investigate ways to get involved in your community, and choose one community service project that suits you.
There’s no downside at all from a business standpoint. The reason is it will not only help you to be perceived as someone who knows and cares about the community, but you will also find it rewarding.
There are other ways to show you’re a concerned citizen while advancing your business interests. One of the ways is to begin attending local planning and zoning meetings. You’ll learn about land issues and the meetings are a great place to get to know builders and developers. Furthermore, new construction is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for many salespeople. Yes, older homes, particularly at the high end, have appeal. However, many buyers, given the choice of a new home or an existing home at roughly the same price, will choose the new home for the same reasons people prefer new cars to used cars. That's because everything’s new, everything works, and there’s a warranty.
Week 8: How’s the prospecting that you started in Week 2 and 3 going?
It may sound simple, but consistent prospecting is the number 1 way to land listings. Hence, many top performers prospect daily. Plan on spending at least two or three mornings a week calling leads and sources of leads. Make friends with a few mortgage brokers who can refer buyers in your direction. As time goes by, the relationship will shift and you’ll become a source of leads for them. Other sources of leads includes professionals who deal in property matters, such as probate and divorce lawyers, insurance agents, CPAs and investor, and landlord groups. Adding to the list also includes contact banks and government agencies that need to dispose of property seized in bankruptcy sales and tax and drug cases.
Week 9: Listings are the name of the game.
Buyers, especially in your early days, are very important. How do you find them? Besides prospecting, you can meet buyers by offering to conduct open houses for other salespeople in your office. Collect names and contact information from visitors, and get your colleague’s consent to follow up. Other than that, you can team up with a mortgage broker in your area to sponsor homeowner ship seminars in neighborhoods with a lot of rental housing. Many first-time buyers are young and have low incomes. As a result, they often don’t realize they’d be able to afford a house. Your job is to be knowledgeable about special financing options, which includes down payment assistance programs aimed at encouraging homeowner ship.
Week 10: Think about advertising.
Yes, real estate is a referrals game. However, advertising can play an important role in raising your visibility. Therefore, money is a consideration here. Unless you come into real estate with a much bankroll, television is going to be out of reach. Other media to consider are newspapers, radio, and billboard advertising. For example, a schedule of 30-second radio ads or a billboard at the right intersection can be effective.
As with all advertising, remember that repetition and consistency is important. Whatever program you commit to, give it at least six months to work. You may also want to think more about your web marketing efforts. If you have some listings, look into the tools for marketing them and making them available through your brokerage Web site, REALTOR.com, and other online venues.
Week 11: Sooner or later, everyone has to answer the cold-calling question.
How comfortable are you with it? In the beginning, hardly anyone likes it, but it can be an effective tool. In fact, some people build businesses around it. Whatever you do, make sure you’re aware of the Federal Trade Commission’s rules related to cold calling.
Before you start, your broker should provide, or you should get, a list of people in your market on the National Do-Not-Call Registry. The key with cold calling is to use a script, which are available through your office, sales trainer, or coach. Most importantly, the goal with cold calling is to get through your script. You don’t have to worry about whether you get a lead or not. Cold calling is a numbers game. It’s a mathematical certainty that if you call enough numbers, you will eventually find someone who can use your services. Some people have the stamina for this, while others do not.
Week 12: Keep on plugging.
The key to success in real estate is persistence. It’s a given that you’re going to encounter a lot of rejection. Do not, I repeat, do not take it personal. Try starting each day with the easiest call. If you feel stifled in one area, stop it for the day and try another. Finally, think about teaming up with a more experienced salesperson for a year or two. It’s an excellent way to make money while you learn the ropes.
So thank you again for all your sweet comments on previous blogs. It’s the real reason I keep providing you with these blogs, so keep the comments coming!