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10 Secrets of Success for Single Agents and Small Teams

May 26 2021

Whoever said that being on a large team is the best way to be successful in real estate might have missed the memo about these powerful single-agent and small team success strategies.

If you're a single agent or on a small team and you feel like you've been spinning your wheels in this challenging market, you're in the right place. In this article we will outline the top 10 success strategies of some of the fastest growing single agents and small teams in the country—and the good news is each strategy is something you can take and implement for yourself for your own unique business and in your own unique market.

Let's jump in.

ylopo 10 secrets

Secret #1: Level the Playing Field

The first thing you need to do as a single agent or small team in order to be successful is find ways to compete with the big guys. Large and mega teams might have more marketing dollars, more agents, and more aggressive strategies, but you can compete by:

  1. leveraging the power of your digital marketing technology
  2. having the flexibility to quickly change as the market does
  3. having the personal touch with clients that the big guys can't achieve

More on numbers two and three later; let's focus on number one. If you have a digital marketing company that can provide you with dynamic advertising, customized reports, artificial ISA intelligence, and other smart tools that optimize your customer experience, you'll be shocked at how fast the big guys stop feeling like a threat.

Secret #2: Don't Get Overwhelmed

With as many hats as you're likely wearing every day to keep your business afloat, not getting overwhelmed might seem like a laughable concept, but it's super important and totally avoidable.
The idea is to start slow. Pick just one thing to implement at a time and allow yourself time to get comfortable with each new thing before you incorporate something else. Creating a new habit can take about two weeks, so plan on a buffer time of about two weeks between each new thing you implement.

The other way you can avoid becoming overwhelmed is to reassess your business. Eliminate unnecessary activities, automate as much as you can, and then delegate tasks are left over that you don't enjoy doing yourself. You might be surprised with how much more time you win back.

Finally, make sure you are time blocking on your calendar and being productive during those time blocks. This time blocking is a great way to hold yourself accountable when you're working as your own boss.

Secret #3: Know Your Numbers

This secret is key and very simply stated. Successful single agents know their numbers and review their numbers at least once per week.

Every night when you get into bed, you should know what your lead generation numbers look like, what your lead conversion numbers like, and know what contracts are closing.

Secret #4: Focus on the Three Rs

As a single agent, it's vital that you focus on the three Rs: relationships, referrals and reviews.

You don't have the organic exposure that a lot of the bigger and more well-known teams have, so you need to focus on providing elevated personalized service—something that the big guys can't compete with.

The biggest focus for you should be relationships. If you put your time and energy towards nurturing the relationships you have with your clients, your friends and the community, business will naturally happen for you. If you continue to focus on building your client relationship throughout the entire transaction and beyond, referrals often happen organically. Reviews, on the other hand, usually have to be manually requested.

Regarding reviews, there are three really important things to remember. First, never be afraid to ask for reviews. Second, always ask for a review in the moment when your client is the most happy and excited about you or the service you're providing; you don't have to wait to be at the closing table to ask for a review. Third, give them easy options for submitting reviews like email, text, or video. If you focus on making the review submission process for your clients as simple and convenient as possible, they will be more likely to do it.

Secret #5: Get Involved

Next, it's time to put your best foot forward and get involved in your community. As a single real estate agent, you know from the last secret that you need to focus on the three Rs. Being actively involved in your community makes up a big part of that. Your goal is to be the person that everyone in your community thinks about first when they have any real estate related need.

How can you achieve this?

There are many ways you can be at the forefront of your community as the local real estate expert, but the most effective way of achieving this is to be present. Make sure you're at local events, socializing, donating your time or money to local charities, talking with neighbors, and even heading up local social groups like a running club or dog walking group.

The more you're around, the more people in your community will know you, like you, respect you, trust you and ultimately refer you.

Secret #6: Advertise Locally

Make sure you're advertising in your local area. Right now, the best two options for local advertising in real estate are with Google.

First, create your Google My Business page. This is where prospective clients will land when they put your name into the Google search engine, so you want this page to be as complete and accurate as possible. One pro tip is to set your business hours as "open 24/7." Most agents will set their business hours to be from 9AM-5PM and all of the people with real estate inquiries after 5PM will be calling you instead of the competition. Don't forget to build out your reviews here as well. Reviews are the first thing people will see when coming to your Google My Business Page and will greatly impact your ranking with Google.

The next way to execute local advertising is to invest in Google Local Services Ads (Google LSA). Google LSA is the highest performing and most cost effective lead source in real estate at the moment. Learn more about what Google LSA is and how it works here.

Secret #7: Don't Overlook SEO

Don't neglect looking at some of the finer and more hidden aspects of internet marketing, specifically SEO. By focusing on your SEO, you can quickly repair and boost your Google rankings.

There are many things that go into SEO and we recommend having a professional help you out if you're unfamiliar—but for starters, make sure you don't have any dead links associated with your business' website.

A common way you might end up with dead links associated with your website is if you use a professional photographer to help you take pictures and create landing pages for active listings and once the listings sell, the landing pages end up being deleted. When a web page is deleted, the web address to that page still exists but leads to a dead site. That dead website is still backlinked to your active business site and will be actively hurting your online ranking. You can fix this common problem by making sure that the links to all web pages that have ever been associated with your business remain active and properly backlinked to your website.

Another thing you can do is make sure all of the photos on your website are properly geotagged.

For example, if you have a professional photographer take your headshot photos and their office is located somewhere else, there's a good chance that the location tied to your headshot photo doesn't match your physical business address. If the address on your website and the geotagged location of your associated photos don't match, Google's algorithm will see this mismatch and it will negatively impact your ranking.

Secret #8: Create Your Own Inventory

As a smaller scale real estate business, you may need to get creative and find ways to create your own inventory, specifically by finding "shadow inventory."

The best way to find shadow inventory is to look for listings that expired over six months ago and try to revive those opportunities. By digging into these particular opportunities, there's a good chance that you'll find someone who tried to sell their home a year ago, failed with another agent, and is willing to give it another shot with you.

For more reading about ways to create your own inventory, check out this other article.

Secret #9: Change with the Market

One of your main superpowers as a single agent or small team is that you're nimble and you can move quickly. A lot of the bigger teams have to move much slower and have a harder time adapting to fast-shifting market conditions.

Always be aware of what is working for you at any given time and what isn't and then don't be afraid to change as needed.

A year ago, a successful single agent may have found the best opportunities to be with buyer clients and new construction. As the pandemic emerged, that agent would have seen that line of business quickly drying up and moving towards a hyper seller-focused market. Proactively seeing this trend, a single agent is able to quickly shift their strategy and immediately start putting their efforts towards gaining more seller clients and listings without missing a beat. Bigger teams, on the other hand, have various bureaucracies to overcome before even thinking about implementing a shift in strategy.

Secret #10: Challenge = Opportunity

The final secret is to remember that each challenge you face will always equal a new opportunity.

It's easy to be negative and get stuck on ideas like, "There's no inventory" or "The pandemic is preventing me from doing business like I used to." While both of these statements might be true, they are short-sighted and hold you back from success.

Instead, try to focus on the potential that each new challenge provides. Try to keep a positive mindset and spend time thinking of ways you can use each unique challenge to reform yourself or your business. You may come out on the other side of it in an even stronger position.

One Last Piece of Advice

Make sure you implement systems and processes into your business. This advice applies to big teams, small teams, and single agents alike.

If you don't have consistent ways of working, organizing, and running your business, you're setting yourself up for failure from the start. If you're open to leveraging technology, you'll only make your life easier in the long run.

Most importantly, whatever systems you choose to apply, make sure the tools and features make sense and are functional for your business. Your systems should be straightforward enough to be something that you will commit to using every single day. Ensure this by determining what your core business priorities are first and then make sure that whatever powerful system you choose wholly supports your core priorities, goals, and principles.

To get more great advice for single agents and small teams, check out this video.