Building Relationships Is Key for New Agents

November 17, 2020

Industry top producers say that during an agent’s first five years in real estate, they should connect with a mentor, learn from rejection, and build confidence in what they have to offer clients.

During “Zero to 60 MPH: Surviving and Thriving in Your First 5 Years in Business,” a session at the National Association of REALTORS®’ virtual 2020 Conference & Expo, panelists representing three markets with three different price points delved deeper into what has helped them succeed in their particular market.

For some new agents, making that very first sale can be a tough task, and all three agents agreed that determination coupled with next-level service are the keys to making your first four to five sales. Jairo Rodriguez, a salesperson with Keller Williams Team Realty in Woodland Park, N.J., said his first few sales came from old school methods: cold calling, door knocking, and reaching out to residents of the neighborhood where he was living. Rodriguez, who earned his real estate license in 2015 and who works with homes that have an average price of $480,000, offered this advice to new agents: Don’t give up.

“I received 47 nos right in a row,” said Rodriguez. “I learned from each no and applied it to my next try.”

Nicolette Mascari, now an agent with Compass in Wellesley, Mass., started in a different place. After leaving business management and marketing and earning her real estate license in 2018, she joined a team that she could lean on and learn from, and her first lead and closing came from that team.

But the next four to five sales, she said, came from her sphere and from carefully crafted, personalized marketing. When Mascari started her new venture at Compass, she made sure to inform everyone in her circle of friends, family, and acquaintances that she was looking for clients. “I sent all the people I know a well-thought-out email,” she said. “I let everyone know I was open for business.” Mascari is now helping clients buy and sell homes with an average price of $900,000.

Karissa Thompson, whose average price point is $135,000, also reached out to her sphere to get her first few sales, and she added another piece—social media. Thompson, an agent with The Real Estate Agency in Auburn, N.Y., who obtained her license in 2016, said that using Facebook and LinkedIn to highlight her dedication to customer service and going the extra mile for her clients was what helped her close her earliest sales. “I let them know that I have a bulldog reputation,” she said. “I said, ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to find you a great home and get you to the closing table.’”

Once those early sales come in, however, the next challenge is to build a steady business, and all three agents agreed that forging relationships is key to developing a steady stream of leads. Thompson credited involvement with her local REALTOR® association with helping her build up her network. “I went to conferences, joined committees. I met a lot of people,” she said.

Rodriguez said a mentor from his brokerage and involvement with NAR’s Young Professionals Network gave him experienced people he could turn to—both when things weren’t going well in his business and when he wanted to take his business to the next level. And even though real estate is a competitive business, other pros really will help you, Rodriguez said. “There are plenty of houses around,” he said. “Your share will be there.”

Mascari noted that getting involved in her community by volunteering and socializing with local moms helped her market her business in a soft, “not pushy” way. She was able to build up a steady business by joining a “Mommy and Me” group, volunteering for play dates, and bringing doughnuts to group events. “We’d all moved from the city into the suburbs,” she said. “I would just say, when you’re ready, let me help you sell that house and buy a bigger one.”

Above all, the three agents agreed that a genuine love for real estate and a belief in yourself can sustain a new agent during those critical first five years. Mascari advised looking for what makes you unique. “Be sure of what you can offer,” she said. “Say to yourself, ‘I’m not going anywhere.’”

Thompson seconded the sentiment. “Keep your confidence,” she said, “and you’ll continue to rise to the top.”