Successful Real Estate Agents vs Unsuccessful Ones [26 Habits That Differentiate Them]

1.3 million Real Estate Agents in U.S.

The real estate industry is fascinating to me on several levels – 
1.) It’s a commission-based industry that has super competitive real estate agents
2.) It involves the largest and most significant emotional and financial purchase of peoples’ lives.

According to the National Association of Realtors member report, there were 1.3 million Realtors in the U.S. in 2018, all fighting it out for their share of the roughly $60 billion in annual real estate commissions distributed annually.

It’s an industry I’ve spent the last nine years in as an advocate for real estate agents – call me crazy, but as a career salesman myself, I’m passionate about the challenge agents have in differentiating themselves in this hyper-competitive and crowded space.

The real estate industry is truly “feast or famine” and survival of the “marketing fittest.”

It’s a big challenge and getting bigger by the day.

Differentiating a commodity.

Simply stated, real estate agents perform the same exact basic function in the marketplace – they act on behalf of buyers/sellers as an “agent” in the real estate transaction.

To better understand, there are approximately 200,000 active and about 95,000 active brokers agents in California in 2019.

So, what differentiates successful agents from unsuccessful agents?

Are they all the same, are some better?

Let me answer that question with a question. 

Are all Plumbers, Electricians, Physicians, Surgeons, Car washes, Dry cleaners, Coffee shops the same?

Of course not.

That’s why to me, working with realtors is a marketer’s dream.

DIGS was created for the sole purpose of helping top agents differentiate themselves:
Helping uncover their unique value-proposition
Building a strong personal real estate brand in the local communities they serve.

While I have your much-valued attention, let me share:

26 key differentiators between successful real estate agents and unsuccessful agents

  1. If you go-to-market like a commodity, then you’re a commodity.
  2. If you’re out of sight in the local community, you’re out of mind.
  3. Who are you? Why are you doing this? What’s in it for me? Know thyself, be thyself.
  4. Value, consistency, frequency, relevance, audience & story – marketing 101.
  5. Stop interrupting, soliciting, and spamming – it’s the best way to destroy your brand.
  6. The goal is to be sought, not found.
  7. Remember that knowledge is your real source of income – transfer it.
  8. You’re not in the transaction business, you’re in the “relationship for life” business.
  9. Don’t fall prey to the “this” or “that” marketing trap (i.e. “print” or “digital”?).
  10. Don’t start with the marketing channel/distribution, start with your customer.
  11. If you have listings (active or sold,) keep them visible in the community you serve, it’s the best “call to action” marketing content you have and demonstrates performance.
  12. Marketing your brand is an investment, not an expense.
  13. Don’t litter every social media channel with content for the sake of content – make sure your content has purpose and adds value.
  14. Before you ask, give.
  15. Don’t be a marketing island, go to where the real estate attention is being paid.
  16. You’re not smarter than the market, your consumer, or your competitors.
  17. Don’t send out the same bad template email newsletters that every other Realtor sends out, unless you want to stay a commodity.
  18. Don’t be “all things to all people” – stand for something, be authentic, have a point of view & remember it’s okay to be vulnerable.
  19. It’s not about you – in fact, nobody cares about you! It’s all about them.
  20. There are no shortcuts, slow and steady wins the race – stop chasing.
  21. Practice permission marketing (see Seth Godin).
  22. Start with the Why (see Simon Sinek).
  23. Clarify your message, build a StoryBrand (see Donald Miller).
  24. Become a “real estate mayor” of your community (see Gary Vaynerchuk).
  25. Don’t chase shiny new objects (see Warren Dow on LinkedIn). 😉
  26. “The customer is not a moron. She’s your wife.” ~ David Ogilvy
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