We get lots of inquiries from agents looking for a change — they’re tired of buyer leads, tired of doing the same things hoping for a different result. One of our clients, Bart, just arrived after a decade in a referral-type coaching program, and his results are starting to drop. He doubts himself, but what’s actually happening is that his training is outdated. Think about all the change in real estate over the last decade — shouldn’t your strategy have changed along with it? Wouldn’t any policy that hasn’t changed be at risk of becoming outdated?
Charles Schwab once said, “When the going gets tough, the smart leave,” so don’t assume that what you were doing yesterday will work the same way in the future. Real estate is a constantly changing business, with seasonal shifts and a rapidly fluctuating marketplace. You cannot go through your career with blinders on, being complacent, assuming that you don’t have to change and grow along with the market. Is it time for you to leave behind what used to work but no longer produces results?
One of the biggest challenges for agents these days is the belief that they can’t become a listing agent — or a perception that they’re not “ready” to take listings. This idea is perpetuated by listing agents themselves because they don’t want the competition. Another issue is simply that many agents lack the training to take listings effectively, and many brokerages lack a good “listing agent boot camp” to get them started. This is an issue we’re addressing in detail below on Real Estate Coaching Radio:
Buyer burnout: When it’s time to become a listing agent
Why focus on listings versus buyers?
1. Think about the motivation of the client. Give me an example of a buyer who has to buy. There’s no such thing — they can always rent. One reason buyers are frustrating is because they can always back out and decide to rent for a few months if they run into any challenges. If you focus on buyers, you’re focusing on the end of the business where there is the least amount of client motivation.
What about a “have to” versus a “want to” seller”? Ask yourself the question, “Is keeping the house an option?” For most sellers, it’s not. Relocating executives, divorce decrees, new children in growing families … there are lots of reasons that create “have to” sellers. When you look at seller motivation, 90 percent of the time it’s based on a “has to sell” motivation. The reason we focus on sellers — specifically “have to” sellers — is because they are motivated. As a listing agent, you must focus on “have to” sellers.
2. Listings create leverage. When you get down to it, when you have a house with the right seller, and you list that house in the MLS, it’ll sell itself. As a rule, one single listing-side transaction is almost always equal to two transactions because it puts you in contact with buyers and helps you generate spinoff business.
3. Listing agents don’t have to purchase buyer leads. When you have a listing, even if it’s not the best, you will generate buyer leads for it. You will not have to spend thousands of dollars purchasing those leads from Zillow or Trulia — they will arrive as a response to the listing you’ve already posted.
4. Being a listing agent gives you more freedom. Listing agents have regular working hours, along with more stability, more predictability and more time. You’re not running buyers around, and you’re not spending all of your time generating leads. You’re not spending all your time driving buyers around, either. You have consistent cash flow, which means you can do regular financial planning.
How to get started as a listing agent
1. Establish your mindset. Buyer agents are doing physical labor — listing agents are doing mental work. You need to have your prelisting package, listing presentation, and all of the things that go along with winning the listing and effectively listing the home. It requires honing your skills.
2. Know how many listings you need. The number of listings that you need to drive your business is what we call your “magic number” — the number of listings you need to have at all times. The “magic number” is something that we talk about all the time, and agents tell us that it gives them an epiphany.
If you have 10 listings at all times, how many of those listings will sell right out of the MLS? Probably about two — which may generate an average commission of $7,000 each. If you work on autopilot, without pushing yourself, you will be making around $14,000 a month. If you have a team, maybe you need more than that — but having a team helps you to generate many more listings.
The key to the magic number is working those numbers backward, on average, to determine how many listings you need to maintain consistently to generate your desired level of income.
3. Understand momentum. Once you’ve committed yourself to these listings, the next question is how to get there. How long does it take?
Well, you need to realize that the biggest challenge to getting to those listings is reaching that initial magic number. That may require a lot more effort at first, but once you’re there, it’s easy to maintain your magic number of listings by adding one here or there as they sell off.
In other words, it takes a lot of fuel to get your plane up to cruising altitude — it means learning new skills, perfecting your presentation and generating those listings. It takes real work — but once you’ve reached “cruising altitude,” you can level off, and it gets a lot easier. Remember, once you’ve reached your magic number, you only have to replace what sells. But there’s no reason you can’t take more listings and increase your average income.
Ultimately, what this comes down to is duplicatable, predictable income. Instead of living as a hunter-gatherer, wandering around in the forest with your spear, hoping that a deer will walk by, you’ve evolved into a farmer — you can predict what you’ll have to eat next week because you’ve already planted the seeds.
Remember, listings generate buyer leads. Zillow and Trulia know this — that’s why they put your listings on their websites. Why spend your money to buy those leads when you can just as easily list homes and generate commissions from the listings themselves — as well as from all the buyers that you meet along the way?
Tim and Julie Harris have over 20 years’ experience in real estate. Learn more about their real estate coaching and training programs at timandjulieharris.com, or tune in to Real Estate Coaching Radio every weekday at realestatecoachingradio.com.
Email Tim Harris.