Tips for Being a Successful Solo Real Estate Agent

solo real estate agent
solo real estate agent

Tips for Being a Successful Solo Real Estate Agent

If you’re a solo real estate agent, then you’ve got guts. Choosing this career path is as daunting as it is challenging. It can be a difficult journey and attrition rates are often very high. In fact, many real estate agents aren’t able to make it through their first year. However, if you can make it through, it has the potential to be one of the most exciting, rewarding, and high earning jobs you could have chosen.

Benefits of Being a Solo Agent

As we lay out in another article of ours, there are many benefits to being a solo real estate agent and building your own business.

  • You get to be your own boss. Being the big man (or woman) that makes decisions means that you are also in charge of building your lead list, maintaining your client’s needs, networking relationships, marketing your business, and managing the day-to-day office needs. This is all in your hands. If you’re a real estate agent and you skimp out on any of these areas, your real estate business is not going to make it very far.
  • You get to set your own schedule. It’s true real estate agents work flexible schedules, but what that also means is that you are going to be working when most other people aren’t. You won’t have the mundane 9-5, which is awesome, but you will most likely have to work and take appointments in the evenings and on weekends. If a client calls and needs something, most likely you’ll have to drop whatever you are doing to assist them.
  • You control your income. Many people are attracted to the real estate industry because there is huge income growth potential. But in the beginning, the direction of your cash flow is going to be out. Making your first sale is going to take some time and work and, depending on your market, you may consistently experience a famine-feast situation.

But how do you beat the odds long enough to actually achieve the level of success you’d like and reap these benefits? Here are some tips for being a solo agent.

Set Goals and Hold Yourself Accountable

One of the more difficult aspects of working for yourself and being a solo real estate agent is ensuring that you are setting goals and continuously working towards them. You don’t have a boss or team reminding you to do things, setting deadlines or benchmarks for you, or tracking your performance. Take the time to define specific goals, like how much money you want to earn, for example. Then, set a time frame and work towards it with daily, weekly, and monthly targets.

A great way that solo agents can hold themselves accountable is by posting about their goals and what they’re working on on social media (you don’t have to include specifics about the number you’d like to earn). Doing this allows you to, in effect, be held accountable by the world. You’ll feel bad and your reputation may suffer if you don’t follow through on the things you say you will online.

Stay Motivated and Tell Yourself Good Stories

Why are you in the real estate business? What are you trying to accomplish by being a solo real estate agent? Why is being a solo agent more valuable to you than being on a team? Continuously refreshing and reminding yourself of the answers to these big picture questions is key to keeping yourself motivated, especially through the more difficult times.

Always tell yourself positive stories about your line of work and what your goals are. As a solo real estate agent, your career and life are in your own hands. When you are busting butt making calls and following up on leads, you are building the life you want to live. In doing so, you’re creating value for the client and for yourself. Selling and productivity are noble endeavors that you should be proud of.

Create a Schedule and Stick to It

Again, when you have your own real estate business you don’t have anyone telling you when to do certain things. That means you have to block out time in your day to create ad campaigns and lead generate, to follow up with and qualify current leads, to speak with existing clients, to meet with clients, to show houses, etc. Lead generation will quickly fall by the wayside when things start to get busy. Critical to the future of your solo real estate business is ensuring this does not happen.

It’s also important to value your time and guard it closely, because certain leads are going to want to waste your time. They might want to have weekly open houses, or they decide to rent after you show them a million properties, or they just ghost you after months of speaking back and forth. If this does happen, you can’t let it affect you mentally. You just have to move on. As your lead qualification improves, this will happen less and less.

Hire an ISA at the Right Time

I explain the role of ISAs to my clients in terms beyond the general view of appointment setters or lead scrubbers—ISAs are skilled real estate professionals who are highly trained, skilled, and dedicated to their craft in the same degree as an outside agent.  The advantage of the ISA is that they specialize in the initial tasks of lead generation, lead nurturing, and setting listing and buyer consultation appointments.

Their goal is to nurture the lead from start to finish, from prospect to client. Often, they own the entire sales process. They do their own prospecting, reach out to potential leads, show the lead their intimate understanding of their needs and the product they are selling, and make follow up calls as necessary in order to set up an appointment.

Among other things, you probably need to hire an ISA if you meet the following conditions:

  • You have too many leads to deal with and are unable to follow up with them all.
  • You are so focused on existing clients and income-generating activity that you have no time for prospecting.
  • You have too little time available to properly prepare for listing appointments.
  • Once a client is finished with the inspection and appraisal process, they often don’t hear from you until right before closing.

If you are already bringing in around 150,000+ in annual GCI, and you already have a solid and well-trained assistant handling your transactions for you, then you are ready for an ISA.  At this point you are able to scale and do more business.  You can leverage your lead generation while producing more appointments and contracts.

Conclusion: You Can Be a Successful Solo Agent

Take your career into your own hands and build the life you always dreamed of. That’s what it means to be a real estate agent and grow your own real estate business. Take the tough times in stride and have pride in the journey.

What Is the Biggest Fear of Real Estate Agents and Real Estate Teams?

real estate team fear
real estate team fear

What Is the Biggest Fear of Real Estate Agents and Real Estate Teams?

What’s the biggest fear that real estate agents have?

Market downturns? Maybe. Not being able to beat the odds and overcome the extremely high attrition rates that agents face? Probably. The inability to provide for yourself and your family through this career path? Most definitely.

But what do all these fears have in common?

What they all have in common—what the overarching and underlying fear is—is the fear of not being able to generate business when you need it most. This is the fundamental dread in the industry and is shared by real estate agents and businesses alike. The prospect of not being able to consistently bring in business and close sales on demand means that you will get stuck in a feast or famine cycle.

Real Estate Agents Want Control over Their Business

Many people become real estate agents because they want a greater amount of control over their careers and their lives. They are drawn to the industry to have flexibility with their schedule, they want the chance to be their own boss, and they want their income to directly reflect their skills and ability—with no artificial caps or limits imposed by having a non-commission salary.

The problem is, this dream is often not realized for many who start on the real estate agent journey. Tom Ferry claims that 87% of all agents fail in real estate. Even for those who “make it”, they get stuck in a cycle of good times and bad times in which the freedom, flexibility, and control over their income they dreamed of seems illusive or unobtainable.

When times are good and you’re converting leads, setting appointments, and closing sales, your life is great and you feel like you’re on top of the world. But then the famine hits. You struggle just to get by, you call lead after lead with no luck, and you have bills piling up. During these times, your life is filled with stress, worry, and uncertainty.

Even when times are good, for many agents and ISAs there is the voice in the back of their head asking themselves how long the good will last. They’re afraid that, although they are making sales now, will they be able to keep it up? When will the “feast” end? How will their bank account look next month or the month after?

Real Estate Companies Fear This, Too

The fear of the feast or famine cycle is not only confined to solo agents. Real estate companies of all sizes share the same thoughts in the back of their minds. “Times are good now, but will it last?” Smart real estate teams dedicate a large amount of resources towards lead generation and have systems in place to create a steady flow of new business—partially as a result of this fear.

In fact, entire teams of real estate ISAs (inside sales agents) are hired to ensure that business is being generated and that the company has a steady supply of qualified leads to keep them going in great times and not so great times. Having inside sales agents is a good step towards creating a predictable system for converting leads, but it is not necessarily a guarantee.

What Is a Real Estate ISA?

At Smart Inside Sales, we like to explain the role of ISAs to our clients in terms beyond the general view of appointment setters or lead scrubbers—ISAs are skilled real estate professionals who are highly trained, skilled, and dedicated to their craft in the same degree as an outside agent.  The advantage of the ISA is that they specialize in the initial tasks of lead generation, lead nurturing, and setting listing and buyer consultation appointments.

Basically, a real estate inside sales agent is a lead generating and converting ninja who, as opposed to an outside agent, conducts their craft over the phone instead of in person. They are first point of contact with your real estate company and are responsible for getting new business in through the door.

The basic structure of a real estate inside sales role is:

  • ISAs receive inbound leads and conduct rigorous outbound prospecting to uncover leads.
  • ISAs scrub leads, determine motivation, timing and ability.
  • ISAs set the listing and buyer consultation appointment for an outside agent.
  • ISAs also maintain a nurturing database of leads and work that database to produce future appointments.

But even if your real estate team has an ISA or multiple ISAs; if they don’t have a tried, tested, and proven system for converting leads, then you can’t be sure of a steady stream of new business.

How to Escape the Fear of Not Being Able to Generate Business on Demand

Whether you’re a team with ISAs or a solo agent, the only way to have total control over your business is to feel confident that you can consistently bring in new sales. This means you need a lead conversion system that is both reliable and predictable. Depending on your situation, you, your agents, or your ISAs need to be the master of scripting, dialog, objection handling, and closing. Plus, you have to know how to receive, manage, categorize, and nurture leads so they don’t get lost forever in your CRM.

You can generate all the new leads you want, but if you don’t know how to effectively and consistently convert them, then the time and money you sunk into getting those leads was for nothing. That means you have to know how to talk to them, how to overcome objections, when and how to close, and how to keep everything organized.

This is where Conversion University comes in.

Conversion University teaches everything we know at Smart Inside Sales. It’s a comprehensive training program for real estate agents and ISAs that gives you the tools to set 20, 30, or even 40 new appointments every single month. What’s more is that the agents and teams who work through this program are able to do this on demand with predictability.

Most real estate agents fear that the good times will end. The skills and training you receive through Conversion University make it so that they won’t ever have to again.

Conclusion

The biggest fear that real estate ISAs and agents have is that they can’t predictably create new business. That every time they pick up the phone it’s a matter of luck whether they can set the appointment or make the sale. That it’s out of their control.

The way to overcome this and gain that control back is to have the right training and put the proper system in place.