The fundamentals of being a real estate agents

July 11, 2022

Back-to-Basics: How to succeed as a real estate agent today

Let’s talk about the fundamentals of being a successful real estate agent in the market that we’ve shifted into. And let me tell you this, the market is not done shifting. If you are worried now, wait until September or October gets here.

So, as early as today, let’s get our basics straight so we can better prepare for success in a shifting market.

Time Management

The very first thing you need to get a hold of in this shifting market is time management. I still use the old school calendar/journal where I write down everything I’m going to do. You can do that, or you can go digital with Google calendar—just get that time management down.

This is probably going to be the most important piece to this because how you manage your time will determine what time you prospect, who you call, who you follow up with, what time you take off, are going to work out, are you going to read or learn, are you going to be with your family?

You have a lot of activities to plan and juggle, and getting a hold of how you use your time will help you make time for everything important you need to show up for. And I strongly advise that you write it down so you don’t forget anything, or let anything important slip through the cracks.


The second one, you’ve probably already guessed, in fact, some of you might have thought it would be number one. That is your mindset.

Things are going to get tougher. I want you to be prepared for that. Continue to feed your mind with constructive information that helps you learn, grow, and inspires you to have a positive mindset. I read things like How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius written by Donald Robertson.

These are the things I’m consuming on a daily basis because I know I am being hit left and right by different things. I have to make sure that I am the rock, the stability for my clients, my family, and my business.

If that is waning, guess what? You’re going to show up not your best self, and everything else you approach including calling, connecting, and meeting people, they’re going to feel like something’s off. Plus, you won’t be able to give a 100%.

Lead Generation Prospecting

I spoke recently with Bill Pipes, and he told me that real estate is a prospecting business. It comes down to lead generation. It doesn’t matter how you do it, whether through social media and attract, go out there and hunt, or pick up the phone and call—All that matters is that you pick something that works for you, and start doing a lot more of that.

Lead generation looks different for all of us. If you’ve got past clients, great! Connect with them and engage with them through social media, by phone, or by text. But if you don’t have any, then prospecting would probably look a lot more like how I started: door-knocking, cold-calling, calling expired leads—you have a lot of opportunities there.

Expireds are going through the roof now because a lot of homes aren’t selling, there are a lot of price decreases, and sellers are saying “Hey, I can’t sell my home, I’m out.” They will continue to double, maybe even triple, throughout the rest of the year.

So, you better be practicing. What does prospecting look like to you? I’ll just throw that question out there for you to think about. 

As for me, in the stage where I’m at right now, with the team, the brokerage, and our business, prospecting for me now is very different than what I used to do before. Now, it looks more like reaching out to my past clients routinely, using the hop method that I created, reaching out to people we meet at open houses, Google PPC (pay-per-click), Facebook leads, some mailers—that’s a lot of money that we spend.

But if you are just starting off, you don’t have that luxury, so you have to go get that business or you have to attract that business through social media. The thing is, you need to show up—and it needs to be on your schedule, plus you need to have the right attitude about it.

Attitude is important, especially if your focus is on social media: You only got 1.8 seconds to get people engaged in your content. Make sure that your content is value-driven, and show off your best self (in an authentic manner). Because what they see will reflect how they perceive you and how well they will receive your message. If you don’t like me, you’ll end up scrolling somewhere else, and it is the same thing with you and the consumer.

It comes back down to the energy you are giving.

But you’ve got to prospect, and add that to your calendar. Remember that for a neutral market, you’ll need around 3 to 4 hours or more a day on lead generation prospecting! You got to be ready for that. You need to earn being in here because you’re going to make a career out of this if you do it this way.

So, prospect in however way that you want and works for you. Just make sure you go deep on this and put in the hours daily.

Effective Follow-Up

If you are going to do the work, why not follow up effectively as well? You’ve heard this before in so many different ways: The money is in the follow-up. Follow-up and nurture are where the leads transact 8 to 13 months later.

It is true.

I mean, if you’re going all-in on social media and expect a return quickly, it is probably not going to happen. If you are buying online leads, the turnaround overall in a year looks pretty good, but if you just dwindle that down to a 30-day window, it is not going to look as great.

Same with mailers. We’ve been mailing for years, and it took years to break through. The same is true for farming and open houses.

This is why whatever you decide to do when you put that much effort into prospecting, you better put in the exact same amount of effort on follow-up. Why? Because that is where you start seeing the money come in.

In the follow-up, you connect deeper. And guess what? If you follow up and it is the same spammy message that you’re giving out because you’re not feeling good, or thinking “Do I have to follow up today?”—That’s what your consumers, friends, and past clients will end up feeling when you are reaching out.

Think about the energy that you are bringing to the follow-up.

Work on Your Skills

When I say skills I mean listing presentation, tonality on scripts of the dialogue you have with people, the buyer presentation, in fact, all types of presentations including the data on the current market. Know your numbers for the market. How many homes are popping up? What is the absorption rate? What do the trends in pricing look like?

Your presentation skills are important. I’ve done about hundreds, maybe even thousands of listing presentations, but out of everything, I’ve only busted out my listing presentation around 10 times. The rest of them is just normal conversation. I communicate and I know what to say, because I prepared, and if they have questions, I prepare the documentary and relevant data for possible questions too.

We typically send out the pre-listing presentation beforehand, so by the time we get together for me to present, they are ready with their own list of questions as well, and we can go through it more smoothly. We either lock it in on the same day or follow up and lock it in at a later time.

You need to have three things down: your presentation, your pitch, and your objection handlers. And don’t make it sound like a used-car salesman. Nobody wants that.

The trick is to listen and connect with people on an authentic level.

Pricing the Property

I think we all forgot how to price property because the “pandemic frenzy” had us putting homes on the market and they would sell within 3 to 5 days. Now, if a home doesn’t sell in two weeks a lot of agents start freaking out. Instead, think “How do I reach out to the seller and how do I go through this pricing strategy?”

Make sure you have a pricing strategy and explain that down to the seller you are representing. Say something along the lines of “This is what’s going to happen next and if it is not selling, let me bring you the data from the local MLS. Here are the national stats, and here are the local stats.”

You are just the messenger, but it helps to run down the data with the seller together.

Learn More on Negotiation

Negotiating could be learning more about how to price the property correctly from the very beginning, or making sure that you have the right messaging to the people you’re taking the listing on or the buyers you are helping.

A lot of this stuff, we didn’t talk about for years, and now it is becoming important.

Pay attention to the words that you are using, how you present them, and how you connect with people to gain their trust so that they believe you because these things are crucial.

Final Thoughts

These are the fundamentals. These are the things that can create a career for you if you do these consistently over the next few months. That means the prospecting that you decide to do—open houses, door-knocking, cold-calling, expireds, past clients, sphere, social media—need to be inside of your calendar.

It is time to brush up on the basics as the market shifts back to normal.

You need to have solid time management, and it has to be strategic: What are you doing in the morning to get ready? What are you doing in the evening to prepare for the next day? This is your business and your life. When I say time management, it needs to include everything that you’re going to do including the time that you’re putting into your mind, for your health, and for your loved ones.

Because at the end of the day, everything we’re doing here wouldn’t matter if you’re all broken inside.

Remember this: You are just not doing enough but YOU are enough. You’ve got it in you, you know what to do, and where to find the answers. You’ve done great before, now it is time to get consistent, and it starts today. With the market shifting into a more neutral market, it is going to get a little harder, so get ready, and start working on these things today.