What New Agents Need to Do to Succeed

How am I going to find clients? What should I say? How can I compete with experienced agents? What should I do when I don’t know the answer a client’s questions? Here’s what new agents need to do to succeed in real estate.

Byron Van Arsdale, my husband and co-owner of RealEstateCoach.com, sat down with me to discuss the basic coaching tips that lead to new agent success. Byron is a former broker owner, has trained over 2,000 business and life coaches, and has coached new agents for over two decades. Here’s what he recommends. 

Your job description

Your job description as a real estate agent boils down to six words: “generate leads, convert leads, close transactions.” Your goal is to assist your clients in making the best possible decisions about their real estate transaction. Training and coaching work hand-in-hand to help you achieve this goal.

The Two Most Important Things You Need to Do to Succeed

Training tells you what to do and how to do it, coaching focuses on creating high performance.

Van Arsdale explains:

Coaching is about the six inches between your ears. To succeed, begin by taking small daily action steps that allow you talk to people about real estate. 

Second, ask lots of questions. When you carefully listen to what the other person says, this creates a sense of rapport. This results in them really feeling you understand what matters most to them. This builds the trust that leads to transactions. 

I don’t care how long you have been in the business, taking daily action steps and asking questions works every time, in every price range, and at every level of experience.

Always ask questions that begin with the words “how” or “what.” For example,

  • What do you love about your neighborhood?
  • What have you enjoyed about living in your home?
  • What recreational activities do you enjoy?
  • What do you like about your neighborhood or local area?
  • What features from your present property would you like to have in your next home?

Use these training tips to jump start your business

From my perspective as a trainer, the three most important things new agents must do first are master the contracts, learn the inventory, and set up their CRM.

To have people start conversations with you, wear your name badge whenever you are in public. When strangers see your badge they almost always ask, “How’s the market?”

Reply by asking about their price range, location, and if they’re interested in buying or selling. If the person is a potential buyer, offer to send them a “Market Update” for the area (order one of the free reports from NARRPR.com). If they are a potential seller, add a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) along with the NARRPR.com property report.

Stumbling across deals

Americans are moving approximately once every 10 years. That means one out every ten people you talk with will be buying or selling a home in the next 12 months.

According to NAR’s most recent Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 80 percent of sellers hire the first agent they meet with face-to-face. (We don’t know yet if “face-to-face” today also includes Skype and Zoom meetings.) Van Arsdale explains how new agents can gain an advantage over experienced agents in two different ways:

  • One of the reasons having conversations is so important is that many agents fail to stay in touch with past clients. If you’re the first agent they speak to when they’re ready to list, you have a 75 percent chance of getting the listing.
  • A lot of top producers talk about how they’re number one, how many deals they do, or how many years they’ve been in the business. They’re all about “me-me-me.” Instead say, “Enough about me. I would like to learn more about what’s important to you.”
  • When you ask questions about what matters to the other person and you take notes on what they say, you show them how you are completely focused on them. This is what leads to the connection and trust that results in transactions.

Get used to saying, “I don’t know.”

No matter how long you have been in the business, it’s impossible to know everything. Van Arsdale points out how new agents have a huge number resources to rely upon when they don’t know an answer to a question. When you don’t know the answer to a question simply say,

I need to check on the answer to your question. Can I get back to you later today or first thing tomorrow morning?

If the person needs the answer right away, this usually means they’re ready to transact now.

Resources to contact include your owner-broker, manager, a mentor or trainer, experienced agents from your office or Board of Realtors, as well as vendors from title, escrow, and mortgage. If it’s a legal question, call your state association’s legal hotline.

Examples of questions to ask include:

  • My prospect asked about “XYZ,” what would you tell her?
  • I have no idea how to figure this problem out—what should I do?
  • My clients want this provision in the contract. How would you word it?

You have “transferrable skills”

Van Arsdale also reminds new agents they have “transferrable skills” from what they have learned in other parts of their life. For example, anyone who has raised children has dealt with temper tantrums, acting out behavior, and problem-solving—all skills you will put to good use in real estate.

Also, be sensitive about bogging down your manager or broker-owner with questions. Nevertheless, if you really can’t find an answer, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.

You’re unique—ignore the naysayers

New agents are often excited about trying something new. Be prepared to have some experienced agent tell you, “I tried that, and it didn’t work.” Van Arsdale advises,

Every agent is unique. What works for you will be different from what works for someone else. I believe it’s always it’s always important to ask about other people’s experiences. Listen to what they say, run it through your own filters, and ask yourself, “Does this work for me?” 

What I’m talking about is focusing on your strengths. This is one of the reasons curiosity and asking questions is so important. When you build your business on what you enjoy doing and do that well, your business will be sustainable for many years to come. On the other hand, if you try to force yourself to do something someone else says you “should do,” you’re not good at, or hate doing, that approach simply won’t work.

Van Arsdale’s final piece of advice is:

If you’re taking daily action steps and asking questions focused on the other person, you are doing exactly what is necessary to build a strong foundation for a successful business for many years to come.