What I Wish I Knew When I Started the Business

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

Building your real estate business from the ground floor up can be frustrating. You know the analogy of how do you eat an elephant ? One bite at a time.

Funny Gray Elephant clipart         It can be an overpowering task if you don't know where to begin and what to do.   Five get started tips to help build a solid foundation to your business.

  1. Build up a data base.  Select a contact management program that works for you and is in your budget.  You might want to make sure that if you are not going to use Top Producer or a similar real estate software at first then make sure that your files are compatible to be transferred over in just a couple of clicks. To begin select how you wish to categorize the names (Christmas list, sphere of influence, friends from past work, etc.)  Also decide how you wish to rate them 1 - 4 on the level of 1 being very familiar with them to 4 being just got their card no face to face, etc.  As you enter your categories you may wish to tag with this number system for use in mailouts, etc. As you enter your names in the system break down the task to a time period each day devoted to this task or so many names a day until it is accomplished.  Make it an easily obtainable and realistic number so you don't dread the task and just simply do not do it.  Also make a decision after you have the data base uploaded of how you are going to obtain new meaningful contacts and commit to adding those to the data base in the future as well.  #1 Rule - commit to keeping this data information current and purge out those contacts or re-categorize those that you need to work on or remove.
  2. Hand Written Notes- each week begin with a list of people you will write a hand written note.  in the habbit now.  Select a realistic number of notes you will write each day/week.  Have scripted some lines you will want to include in each note.  Remember the idea is to just say hello, thank them for something, or just thinking of you.  It is not time for a novel but just a quick hello touch. 
  3. Open Houses - great way to get exposure.  If you do not have a listing then borrow one from an agent to hold open with the owner's permission for you to host.  Be prepared with knowledge of the home, area, competitive listings, etc.  Devise a way to capture their names, maybe enter their name for a drawing for a small gift card to a coffee shop or restaurants.  Get their email and offer to send additional information about homes that meet their criteria.  Keep in touch! 
  4. Commit to education - go to classes, learn from experienced agents, be around the office.  Offer to help an agent with tasks or shadow one that is a great leader and teacher in the office.  Ask questions.  Keep a notebook of each day and record your To Do Lists, telephone reminders, notes, etc.  Date the pages and retain the notebooks.  Make copies of pages you need to have handy but don't remove the original for the notebook.  This is a great habit to form for documentation you made need in transaction, etc.  You may wish to dedicate pages to just a listing or client for record.  It is very important to keep good records of what you do, conversations.  You never know when these will come in handy to give proof of a situation.
  5. Get Involved - select a couple of groups to join and become involved.  Be sure it is a group that you will enjoy and will 100% participate.  You will not gain from just being a name on a roster, the benefit is to network, gain knowledge, give back.  Don't over commit or you will drop out or being known in a negative manner to others if you do not do your part.  Enter the members in your data base. 

By employing these five steps you will be leap years ahead in the business by implementing good systems, organization and exposure not only to good business habits but to others as well.  A solid foundation is what supports the framework of success.




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  1. Mike Hughes 01/29/2009 08:25 PM
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Paul S. Henderson, REALTORĀ®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Connie, Most of us learn from our mistakes and profit from those lessons, I know I have...

Jan 28, 2009 09:49 AM #11
Melva Reid
Exit Realty Optimum - Halifax, NS
Exit Realty Optimum 902-403-5420

A good habit is just as hard to break as a bad one.....consistency pays off! Thanks for a great post!

Jan 28, 2009 11:38 AM #12
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Connie, all great practical points and glad you too believe in handwritten notes.

Jan 28, 2009 02:02 PM #13
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Connie, these are ALL excellent tips that, if adhered to, WILL keep you in business!  Embrace a plan and stick to it if it works for you, if not, tweak, tweak and get it right.

Debe in Charlotte

Jan 28, 2009 02:32 PM #14
Kelsey Barklow
Hurd Realty - Johnson City, TN

Purging or recategorizing contacts is the hardest for me. I think that if I remove someone, I might be losing a sale next week. I guess I need to get over it and move on. Thanks for the good post.

Jan 28, 2009 02:32 PM #15
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

Connie I think this depends on your clientele.  I have a high tech based clientele, so I wouldn't do handwritten notes, but what I do is have separate groups based on interests.  I have a dog lovers client group and when something happens that is dog related I shoot them an email.  For example when the EPA issued a warning about some dog treats, I sent the link to them about it.

Same thing, just paperless.

Jan 28, 2009 02:56 PM #16
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

Yes.  The database is numero uno.  At least for me.  I'm trying to figure out exactly which form to use.

Jan 28, 2009 03:53 PM #17
Roland Carrillo, PhD - Mortgage Consultant
Cary, NC

Good advice we should all follow.  Having a database from the start is key, as I learned going back and building one after the fact takes a lot of effort.  I always kept one in some form, in a notebook, in Outlook and on spreadsheets... but then converting it into a CRM system was a project.  If you are committed to this business its best to get some form of database software at the start and most importantly use it!

Jan 28, 2009 03:56 PM #18
Bruce & Mary Smith
Savannah Lakes Homes - McCormick, SC
REALTORS, Savannah Lakes Village McCormick SC

Hi Connie - We'd all have a better business is we had all the information then that we do now!

Jan 28, 2009 11:19 PM #19
Pam Simpson
Bob Leigh & Assoc., LLC - Senatobia, MS
GRI, Broker-Assoc.

Connie-excellent advice.  I am going to schedule a time to do the hand-written notes.

Jan 29, 2009 01:20 AM #20
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

The best way to be a newbie is to stay open minded and get a 'coach'.  You can't rely on your broker to help you enough, besides they have their own business to attend too.  Forget about the open houses - total waste of time unless you want to memorize the sellers furniture placement!  Broker Open House - total waste of time entertaining other 'starving' artists calling themselves Realtors.  Broker Tour is good for you - gives you a chance to see your marketplace and get familiar with it first hand.

Jan 29, 2009 03:19 AM #21
Connie Goodrich
Keller Williams Realty - McKinney, TX
CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas

I guess it depends on the part of the country you live in and the marketing results that work in your market place.  I contend when your business is down you should try opportunities, it far exceeds sitting on your hands or phone waiting for business to come to you.  Done right, all activities have exposure and purpose with opportunity. 

Jan 29, 2009 03:49 AM #22
Diane Allen

Connie, I like the idea of handwriting a note to keep in touch.  Although we are in a highly technical workd, I think the handwritten note shows that you have taken more thought and effort in keeping in touch


Diane Allen, Rose and Womble Realty, Chesapeake, Virginia

Jan 29, 2009 03:54 AM #23
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Connie,  I'm still convinced that my open houses are the most important marketing I do.

Jan 29, 2009 07:58 AM #24
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thanks Connie, hindsight is always accurate.  Picking the right mentor and guide in this business can be critical to a new agents success.

Jan 29, 2009 07:59 AM #25
Sheldon Neal
Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Maywood, NJ
That British Agent Bergen County NJ

OK Thats it ! Your posts are too good for me to miss !

 ..... you have a new subscriber :o)

Another great - helpful blog entry !

I cant wait for the next one


Jan 29, 2009 03:10 PM #26
Norma Crouse
HER Realtors - Pataskala, OH
Norma Crouse

Great information, thanks for the blog.

Feb 01, 2009 10:21 AM #27
Paula Dollard, ABR, CRS, CHMS
Bunbury & Associates Realtors - Madison, WI

Wonderful tips & also great reminders for those of us who have been in the business for awhile!  One of the best pieces of advice I had when first starting in the business was to get my CRS sooner than later & have found this to be a great benefit. 

Feb 02, 2009 09:03 AM #28
Thom Abbott
MyMidtownMojo.com |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

Connie....great tips for those starting, but even those of us that have been in the biz for awhile, can always use a kick in the butt to remind us!


Feb 04, 2009 01:56 PM #29
Winter Baserva
Seasons Realty Group of PalmerHouse Properties - Atlanta, GA
Realtor -Homes For Sale, Atlanta, GA

I would add, DON'T GIVE UP!

Mar 05, 2009 03:56 AM #30
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Connie Goodrich

CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas
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