How to Grow Your Real Estate Business: Everything You Need to Know
Real estate: it’s easy to break into but hard to stick around long enough for success. Hands up, who’s heard this before?
We’re willing to bet nearly every agent has heard that phrase at some point.
Growing a real estate business is no easy task, and it’s not for the weak-willed.
Winning at real estate involves cold calling, endless proposals, and, if you’re lucky, a few high-value sales.
In this article, we’ll share top tips and best practices for how to grow a successful real estate business. Plus, learn from some expert realtors with over 20 years in the biz.
How to Grow Your Real Estate Business
Follow these eight steps to grow your real estate business sustainably.
Define Tangible and Measurable Goals
Without a clear target to shoot for, gaining traction with your business will be hard. So, before you do anything else, choose and set some goals.
Ultimately, what do you want to achieve with your real estate business? A specific annual income? A better work-life balance? Think about where you’re currently at with your business. What are your current strengths and weaknesses? How is your performance month to month?
Whatever you want to achieve, make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Let’s review what each of these means in the context of real estate:
- Specific: You need to know exactly what you want to achieve. For example, “I want to sell four residential homes in Boston in the next 12 months.”
- Measurable: A measurable goal makes it much easier to track progress. For example, “I want to sell four residential homes by increasing the number of open houses I hold by 50 percent.”
- Attainable: Set goals you can realistically achieve. Unrealistic goals can increase stress and burnout and demotivate you from staying on track.
- Relevant: Every goal should contribute to the bigger picture of your business. For example, “I want to sell four residential homes by increasing the number of open houses I hold by 50 percent to build out a larger client base and increase my local knowledge of the area.”
- Time Bound: Identify how long you need to achieve a certain goal. Without defined timelines, you increase the risk of procrastination and demotivation. For example, “I want to sell four houses in 12 months.”
Have you set SMART goals? Great, now break each one down into actionable steps.
For instance, to increase the number of open house events you hold, you may cold call homeowners looking to sell their properties. Or you may spend the afternoon posting flyers through homeowners’ letterboxes in one area.
Conduct a Market Analysis
Now you know your core goals and how you will accomplish them, it’s time to understand the market you’re working in. You need to define your target market by gathering market data and information from the area in which you’re working.
Your target market is the people or businesses most likely to need your services as a realtor. These could include:
- Existing homeowners
- First-time homebuyers
- Real estate investors
- Property developers
- Commercial property owners
Of course, you can’t know your target market without gathering some market data and analysis. You need to spend time analyzing the local and national real estate market.
You can do this using Zillow’s Housing Data. Research the average home value and purchase price for different property types.
Next, do some market surveys. These could be as simple as asking homeowners about their plans. Are they planning on selling or buying property in the next few months or years?
Lastly, analyze your real estate industry competitors. What are the most successful realtors doing to attract potential clients? Do they organize plenty of in-person home visits? Are they active in neighborhood events? What are their marketing campaigns like? This will help you better understand what’s required to succeed in your local neighborhood.
Develop a Strong Marketing Strategy
Try and sell to everyone, and you’ll sell to no one. A solid marketing strategy reaches your target audience and highlights why you’re the neighborhood’s go-to real estate professional.
The best way to get started is to define your ideal customer profile. For instance, working with commercial real estate investors is totally different from working with a first-time buyer.
Each buyer category requires a whole different set of considerations and industry knowledge. They each have different needs, concerns, and goals. To connect with prospects, you need to understand their pain points, problems, wins, and ultimate goals.
For example, a first-time buyer may need more reassurance throughout the buying process than a seasoned investor. In the same line of thought, an investor may expect deeper industry knowledge.
Create a set of buyer personas that match your target audience. This could include first-time buyer Fred and property investor Ian. Outline their demographics, interests, career levels, property experience, and family goals–then use that info to shape your marketing efforts.
Establish a Unique Value Proposition
At its heart, real estate is a lead generation business. Real estate agents need to lean into their personal brand to build a steady pipeline of leads. Start by creating a personal real estate website outside of the one on your brokerage’s site. To connect with your target audience, create an identifiable social media presence too.
If you’re overwhelmed by platforms, LinkedIn is a great place to connect with potential prospects and generate leads.
Select Marketing Channels and Strategies
Ninety-seven percent of all buyers use the internet for their home search. No longer a nice-to-have––all existing and new agents need a web presence to attract and engage potential online leads.
An SEO-optimized website is essential to generate real estate leads and grow your business.
Remember, your site needs to connect to your calendar and customer relationship software (CRM), so leads don’t get missed. You also need to make sure your contact information is readily available and easy to find.
Maureen McDermut, a successful Sotheby’s realtor with over 20 years of experience, explains how investing in a strong online presence has helped with her brand and marketing her properties. She credits a large part of her success to her digital marketing efforts.
“I understood that most real estate buyers look at homes online before they even think about scheduling a private showing or attending an open house,” she says.
“So investing in professional photography and videography, staging, and social media marketing of my listings was key. From there, using a listing as a key marketing piece was important, which helped with lead generation.”
Psst... You want to know how to excel at real estate prospecting? We've got you covered.
Expand Your Network
Relationships are everything in sales–and that includes real estate.
The National Association of Realtors reported that 63 percent of sellers found their agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor, or relative or used an agent they had worked with before to buy or sell a home. And 89 percent of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others.
Maureen of Sotheby’s explains how prioritizing relationships has boosted the success of her business.
“I found building a strong relationship with my clients has been one of the best drivers of my business,” she says. “I couldn't tell you the number of clients that I have helped buy and sell multiple homes over the years. But this is all due to the strong relationships I develop with them.”
How do you build relationships and expand your network? Referrals are your new best friend.
To get more recommendations, focus on increasing referrals with past and existing customers.
How do you do this? Here are a few ideas:
- Offer referral gifts
- Give thoughtful client gifts
- Actively request referrals
- Ask for referrals on your website
- Host an annual meet up of past clients
- Send holiday cards or calendars to past clients
Don’t forget to put yourself out there and meet new people. Attend (or even host) networking events to connect with local business owners. Host happy hours and networking events. Always have a business card ready if people want to stay in touch.
Always give as much as you take, and remember the Law of Reciprocity––the more you interact and engage, the more likely you are to stick in their minds.
And you want to stay in their minds in case they ever want to buy or sell property in the future.
Expand Your Service Offerings
Think of your real-estate business as a living being. Over the years and months, it will evolve to include new offerings and services. So always keep your finger on the pulse. Regularly assess market trends to identify potential service offerings.
Ask yourself, “Is there more demand for commercial or residential properties in your area? Are there more first-time buyers or retirees searching?”
Don’t be afraid to pivot your business and work with new clients with different needs. Always develop a value proposition for new services and a go-to-market strategy.
Monitor Your Progress and Define Your Further Goals Accordingly
Remember when you set your SMART goals? Good, because they’ll help you figure out if you’re on track or falling short. Track your performance by setting measurable KPIs. What kind of KPIs? Here are a few:
- Active listings
- Number of inquiries
- Inquiry sources
- Value of inquiries
- Customer feedback
Keeping an eye on these KPIs will help you stay on top of your SMART goals. You can also use a CRM to manage your pipeline and identify trends among your clients.
Maureen of Sotheby's explains how using a CRM helps her better nurture leads.
“It was very important to utilize a CRM, and I was an early adopter of CRM technology. Nurturing leads and preparing them for purchase was a key way I was able to work my sales pipeline and secure even more business,” she says. “I have used a few different CRMs over the years, as new industry-specific platforms are being released often, many with new and helpful features.”
CRM data is super helpful for evaluating if you’re hitting current goals. You can set more accurate objectives based on whether you’re reaching KPIs and overarching goals.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Your Real Estate Business?
The answer is it depends. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And the same goes for any successful real estate business. It takes time to see real traction.
Sebastian Jania, the director of Ontario Property Buyers, explains that striving to knock service out of the park every time is the key to long-term real-estate success.
“I found that what's made the biggest impact in my business has been serving sellers like none of my competition does,” he says.
“I've focused on delivering exceptional value to sellers and really understanding what they need out of someone purchasing their property and how we can come up with the most customized offer for them. By doing this, we've delivered much more value beyond a simple cash offer.”
Here are five best practices to help you drive successful and sustainable growth.
1. Setting Realistic Expectations
One of the best ways to build a successful real-estate business is to set realistic expectations and consistently meet your goals.
If you want to build a successful business without burning out, you will be in it for the long haul. So be realistic about what you can achieve in a set period of time. There’s nothing worse than setting overly ambitious goals only to realize they’re impossible to reach.
Jasen Edwards, a licensed real estate agent and coach at Agent Advice, explains that to be a good real estate salesperson, you must be willing to consistently improve things without becoming distracted by what others are doing.
“Stay focused on the basics of your craft, and don't let others convince you that you're missing out if you don't build a huge following on TikTok or another up-and-coming marketing channel,” he says.
“Follow the basic steps, and you'll quickly build a good reputation. Talk to people and bring up the real estate topic. Listen to what they say and notice if they crave a life change. Propose a meeting to talk about the change. Then run a professional appointment. Ask for a signature, and do it all over again.”
2. Assessing the Starting Point
A seasoned real estate pro with 15 years of experience will have different goals from someone who started six months ago. Before you set any goals, think about where you’re starting from. Then build realistic goals from that foundation.
So if you’re starting from scratch, consider the time involved in taking your real-estate licensing exams. Then the time involved to set up your website and marketing plan and start work at a brokerage. Always factor in extra time so you’re not running behind schedule.
3. Timelines for Developing and Executing Growth Strategies
The best plans and growth strategies take time to execute. So whether you’re creating a content marketing plan or aiming to get more word-of-mouth referrals, consider the likely timelines you need to get these items done.
Always remember that most things take longer than we think they will.
Curious about AI's role in achieving content marketing success? Read on.
4. Regularly Track Progress
How do you know if you’re meeting goals? Through solid tracking systems, of course.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) help agents review their progress in meeting goals. As we mentioned earlier, by using KPIs, you can find areas where you’re excelling and see those that need some improvement.
So set aside time each week to check your short-term goals. Then for bigger picture initiatives and long-term goals, review these monthly and quarterly.
5. Continuous Learning
It’s never too late to learn something new. You should always challenge yourself to learn new skills. Upskilling is often the difference between you and a competitor. So dedicate time in your schedule each week to learn new skills.
Agents who commit to learning new skills can better adapt and grow their businesses in a constantly changing environment.
Still trying to figure out what to learn? Your new skills don’t have to be real estate related. You could take a search engine optimization (SEO) course to help your website rank better. Or you could try using social media platforms to grow your personal brand.
Grow Your Real Estate Business and Achieve Lasting Success
Growing your real estate business doesn’t have to feel like climbing Mount Everest. The trick is to be realistic and break your goals down into actionable steps.
When you’re starting out, prioritize creating a network and building a solid local reputation. Then, when you’re ready, set some tangible goals and establish your KPIs. And remember, never give up––determination goes a long way in real estate. So stick with it even if it’s not always easy.
Of course, the right CRM can make growing a successful real estate business much easier. So sign up for a free 14-day trial of Close today and see how much time you can save.