Not every agent goes into real estate planning to build a seven-figure business. But if that’s an option…why wouldn’t you go for it?
That said, the idea of bringing in over $10 million a year might seem unrealistic in today’s market, with inventory at record lows and sellers waiting for mortgage rates to come down.
And yet….there are agents right now—in 2023—who know they’ll be bringing in seven figures (or more) by the end of the year. And some of them started out thinking the same thing: “How is that even possible?”
In yesterday’s Marketing Monday, BAM Creator Tom Storey provided a proven blueprint for selling 100 homes a year and building that seven-figure business pretty much every agent dreams of.
He also shared the doubts he had as a new agent regarding his own ability to generate that kind of business.
When I got into real estate 10 years ago, the thought of ever being able to produce this much business was wild to me. I just didn’t think it was possible. I’d look at other people and think, ‘Okay, they can do it, but there’s no way I can ever do it.‘ And then, slowly, over time, you put the pieces in place. And you fail a lot along the way, but then something starts to click, and it’s working.
From there, he shared the game plan that has evolved over the span of that decade, to show how he gets leads, as well as the thought processes and structure that enables him to consistently gross over seven figures a year.
Four things successful agents have in common
So, what separates successful agents from those who are struggling to get by? As Tom has gotten acquainted with a growing number of top-performing agents, he’s noticed they tend to have the following in common:
- They all have systems—and while every agent’s system is slightly different, the best agents develop a system, apply it consistently, and upgrade it as they go.
- They have leverage—leverage of their time by bringing in administrative staff and leverage of their money by adding to their team.
- They wake up every single day and focus on listings—and on everything they can possibly do to get more of them.
- They know how to generate leads.
Number four was Tom’s main focus for the rest of the video, which broke down exactly what you need to focus on to maximize the flow of leads who are ready to transact—or who will be ready within a year or two.
After all, the difference between agents earning seven figures and those who are struggling to get there is that successful agents are very good at creating opportunities.
Agents for whom seven figures a year feels impossible may be great at servicing leads provided by their team or brokerage, but they’re not skilled at generating leads on their own.
The good news is that’s 100% fixable. Every agent can get better at creating opportunities. And the way to build that skill is to focus on the three main lead categories:
- Your database
- Strategic alliances
- New business
These are people who already know, like and trust you. Too many agents are so focused on adding to their database that they forget to nurture relationships with the people already in it.
You do this by communicating with them regularly—not to ask if they’re ready to transact or if they know anyone who is but to deliver something of value to them. You could send them a market update with a current CMA on their property or a clear, helpful breakdown of a scary headline that could potentially cause them to make a decision they would regret.
Keep in touch and be consistent in delivering value. Otherwise, those clients you helped with a previous transaction are likely to forget your name (data from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) can back this up) and, when they’re ready to buy or sell, go with another agent they’ve talked to more recently—especially if that agent has done a better job of keeping them in the loop.
Don’t assume these clients will automatically call you up when they’re ready to transact again; even if they were happy with you before, there are plenty of other agents ready to earn their loyalty.
The same goes for referral business. People in your database aren’t automatically going to refer you to others just because they had a good experience with you. They might, but they’re far more likely to if you’ve been consistently delivering value to them on a regular basis since then.
Assume your database has no reason to recommend you over an agent they just met in their neighborhood—maybe at an open house they recently attended.
Do this: Create a 12-month plan for staying in touch with your database. Always have a reason to contact them with something they would likely find helpful or at least interesting.
Tom’s example is a homeowner guide he sends out in January, packed with “everything you need to know about owning a home,” including numbers for electricians, home insurance, dog walkers, etc. That homeowner guide is also available in digital form on his website, but his database gets a physical booklet to keep in their homes.
That, in turn, gives him a reason to contact them, confirm that they received the booklet he sent them, and ask if they have any questions about it.
Rule of thumb: If you have 100 people in your database, you should be doing a minimum of 15 transactions out of those 100.
And if you’re looking at 1,000–2,000+ people to connect with, that’s too many to focus on: whittle that list down to your “A-list”: people with whom you wouldn’t hesitate to stop and have a conversation if you met them on the street or in the grocery store.
These could include mortgage lenders and other non-agent real estate professionals, but what we’re talking about mostly here are other real estate agents. Twenty-five percent of Tom’s business comes from agent-to-agent referrals: people moving to his market who were referred to him by agents in other agents across North America.
Along with having a plan in place for your database, create a plan for other agents. Tom sends out a monthly email to his referral partners, which could say something like, “Here’s one thing I’m doing right now in my business that is getting really good results.”
Also, make it a priority to go to as many real estate conferences as you can—and not just to go and hand out business cards (which will 100% end up in the garbage—and probably one of the bins at that real estate conference).
Focus on building relationships and, just like with your database, delivering value.
Do the same on social media. If you look at your following on Instagram, for example, probably 80% of those following you and engaging with your content are other real estate agents. Share what you’ve learned, comment on their posts, have conversations, ask and answer questions.
Like you, most other agents would rather refer business to agents they know, like, and respect—especially those who’ve demonstrated the ability and readiness to step up, engage, and deliver value.
Do this: Print out a map of the United States or Canada or all of North America, and pinpoint all the different markets, making a note as to which agent would be your referral partner for each market. Then send each of those agents a short video saying something like, “Hey, it’s [Your Name]. Just wanted to touch base. We have clients once in a while that move from my market to yours. I was curious, would you like to be my referral partner in that area?”
And, just like that, even if you don’t yet have a lead for them, if they have a client wanting to move to your market, they’re probably going to think of you first when asked what agent could help them find their next home.
In Tom’s video, he suggests not putting too much focus on this until you figure out your repeat and referral business from your database and strategic alliances.
But when you get to this step, he recommends focusing on the following lead gen strategies:
- YouTube—especially these four types of videos (***link “YouTube” to YouTube strategy blog: “# Tips for agents getting started…”***)
- Direct mail—which, done right, can be very effective
- Tried and true old school tactics like cold calling and door knocking
- Open houses—especially if you invite the neighbors
When you wake up in the morning as a real estate agent, your goal is to meet more people and book more appointments.
Tom’s theory is that if you get four opportunities, one of them (on average) is going to work out. Because life happens, and you can’t control everything. So, if you want to sell 25 homes a year, find 100 opportunities. Want to sell more than that, find more opportunities.
If you keep telling yourself, “One out of four of these will work out,” you’ll be motivated to keep doing the work that brings in new leads. And consistently applying effective lead gen strategies is what will eventually separate you from agents who are content with doing the bare minimum.