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One of the key reasons that many get into real estate is for the opportunity to control their own destiny. There’s certainly a monetary factor to that, and success can be measured to some degree by volume of houses you’ve sold and amount of commission checks you’ve cashed. However, a lot of those things are dependent upon factors you can’t control.
Rather than emphasizing specific numbers-related metrics, you can determine your success and gauge how close you are to it by defining and working towards goals that will bring rewards that ultimately define achievement by the things you create.
Let’s look at success from a perspective that combines financial reward, sustainability, growth, and reduction of work output. As we walk through these, consider how you can change your work style as well as your outlook, and imagine how these goals might provide you with the focus to ultimately achieve better professional and personal results.
Sign #1: You no longer have to chase leads
Leads are the lifeblood of our profession, but obtaining them is an ongoing process. Rather than operating in a way where we get leads, follow up on them, then get more and keep functioning in this kind of loop, it’s better to have a regular stream of leads always coming in.
Yet, we REALLY know we’ve hit a major success milestone when we have a system in place that not only continuously brings in leads, but nurtures them throughout their entire life cycle until they finally result into a closed deal.
Successful Realtors put some form of automation that ensures lead flow into place to guarantee they’re providing value from “click to close.” Doing so ensures your name and business are regularly front and center for potential customers through email and other forms of digital outreach throughout the duration of your relationship with the client (which, hopefully, is forever).
Automation gives you freedom, and that’s among the more valuable indicators of success.
Sign #2: Your “side hustle” is no longer necessary
As we’ve mentioned previously, the customer journey takes between 11-27 months before a customer actually closes on a house. When you’re starting out, that can be a lot of time before you earn a dime, and there is likely a need for you to maintain a regular paycheck. Moving out of the side gig and focusing just on your real estate business is a hugely important goal.
This is a success metric that delivers in two ways:
- The ability to support yourself solely as a real estate agent means you have a sustainable job (albeit one you still have to work at constantly) and you no longer have to juggle different activities just to make ends meet.
- Your efforts can be concentrated solely on building your business and creating a great experience for your customers.
Sign #3: You’ve created an ongoing source of referrals
Trust me, at some point, you will start to receive more calls than you have to make. This is when the referral machine starts to kick in as well as the result of your dedicated effort over countless years to keep clients so happy that they sing your praises to others.
Essentially, they will be doing a good deal of marketing for you, and that results in you benefiting from the network effect. An outcome of this kind begins to feed on itself if you continue to deliver excellent service; happy customers help you create more happy customers, who keep creating more and more potential clients.
Once you’ve achieved this, you can de-emphasize some of your costly and time consuming lead-generation efforts in favor of focusing on building on the relationships that have been successful for you.
Sign #4: You’ve built a team
This isn’t about empire-building, but if you have a good team collaborating with you, you can cover more ground, list more houses, acquire more clients, and have a larger presence in your market.
The key to doing this is to spend time thinking about building a business rather than just selling. This also includes knowing when to keep it in-house and when to outsource – such as hiring a team that contacts and converts leads for you :). It may take some time away from just selling, but over time you’ll be able to cast a much wider net in pursuit of more deals. By scaling your business and focusing on management of a team, you’ll have more closed deals and a bigger pipeline to show for it.
Sign #5: You’ve established a brand
Your ultimate success as a Realtor comes down to the reputation you’ve built. Once people recognize you and associate your name with trust and reliability, you’ve got a lot of your work done for you.
Think about how people associate brands with things that are important to them: Johnson & Johnson makes people think of a company that looks out for them; Apple helps people feel innovative and cool; Nike equates with fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
Similarly for you, you have to cultivate more than just a pretty face. You’ve got a lot of competition in your market, but if you consistently go above and beyond in terms of customer service and treat clients with the utmost respect, word will spread that people can rely on you to support them through one of the biggest life decisions they’ll ever make.
In addition, as you build a team you’ll start to attract others who want to be part of your success, so the residual benefits start to add up. Among potential partners, clients, and others, you’ll be seen as a blue chip, go-to real estate agent who gets the job done right.
We define success in a variety of ways, but ultimately they should nourish your personal interests, make use of your skills, and provide you with financial reward. As a Realtor, you have an opportunity to create your own path for success, as defined by you. Sticking to a framework that uses the five yardsticks we outline here can help you achieve both those career AND personal goals while also providing you with a rich and fulfilling life experience.