Agents typically follow one of these four basic approaches in the quest to achieve real estate success:
Become a workaholic. More than 80 percent of agents who generate a reasonable income achieve their success by turning their careers into a seven-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day job. They answer business phone calls day and night, they make themselves constantly available to prospects and clients, and they work on-demand with no restraints.
Buy clients. The second-most frequent pathway to success is to buy business through massive marketing campaigns. Some agents buy or brand their way to top-level real estate by investing in billboards and bus benches with their names and faces on them, thousands of direct mailers, expensive ad schedules, and all kinds of promotions. Others
buy their way to the top by discounting their commissions. By offering themselves at the lowest prices, these agents eliminate the need to emphasize their skills, abilities, and expertise.
Take the shady road. Another avenue to real estate financial success is to abandon ethics and just go for the deal and the resulting money. Unlike the vast majority of agents who advise and advocate for their clients, agents who take this route choose not to be bound by ethics or any codes of conduct. They put their own needs first and put their clients’ best interests in distant second place. Fortunately, these agents are few and far between.
Mining gold from your professional services business
The best professionals provide ongoing services to clients who wouldn’t think of taking their business elsewhere. These professionals develop reputations and client loyalty that reside in their company names, even after the
founding professionals move on to other ventures or into retirement. Doing more than just earning an income and building a clientele,these professionals build an asset that they can sell, which allows them to receive compensation from the value of the successful businesses they’ve built.
As a favorite example, my father was a dentist for 30 years. When he decided to retire, he sold his practice to another dentist. He sold his building and equipment, but most importantly, he sold his patient roster, which raked in the majority of the money he received.
A real estate agent who builds a well-rounded,successful business can enjoy a similarly lucrative sale. In fact, your objective should be to build the kind of business that you can sell at the completion of your real estate career.
I worked with a coaching client a few years ago as she prepared her business for sale. She tracked lead-making strategies, lead conversion rates, client satisfaction, listings, buyers,and net profit. Then for two years, we worked together to improve all the facets of her business until they were fine-tuned to perfection.
She was among the minority 5 percent of all agents who built a truly well-rounded business. The result: Her real estate practice sold for well over $1 million. How’s that for a goal?
Build a professional services business. The fourth and best pathway is to create a well-rounded, professional services business not unlike that of a doctor, a dentist, an attorney, or an accountant. Fewer than 5 percent of all agents follow this route, yet the ones that do are the ones who earn the largest sums of money — some exceeding $1 million annually while also having high-quality lives and time for friends and family. Plus,when they’re ready to bow out of the industry, they have a business asset they can sell to another agent. (See the upcoming sidebar, “Mining gold from your professional services business,” for more details on creating an asset you can sell.)
This is the route I urge you to follow. Each of the following chapters in this book tells you exactly how to build your own professional service business.