What is your goal for your real estate business?
Maybe you want to:
- Double your production volume.
- Work fewer hours for the same take-home pay.
- Hire agents to your team.
- Own your very own company.
Your ideal business might seem out of reach right now, but that’s no reason to give up on it. If you keep focus and put in the work, you’d be surprised at what you can achieve.
That was the consensus at this year’s Side x Side event, when hundreds of the most successful agents in the country gathered at Disneyland to share strategies for how they built their dream businesses.
Here are some takeaways from the conference you can apply to your business right now.
1. Believe your dream is possible
To achieve your business goals, you must first believe your dream is achievable.
“You have to have conviction that what you set out to accomplish is possible,” said Side CEO and co-founder Guy Gal during his opening panel with fellow co-founders Ed Wu and Hilary Saunders.
“You have to have conviction that what you set out to accomplish is possible.”
– Guy Gal, CEO and co-founder of Side
Guy explained that five years ago, back when he, Ed, and Hilary were running Side out of Guy’s apartment, he believed the company would succeed. He knew there were outstanding agents who wanted to create their own companies but lacked the support to do so, and he approached every day with confidence that this model would be met with high demand.
“If you lack that conviction,” Guy said, “you’re going to have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. You’re going to struggle to apply yourself with enthusiasm to the task at hand.”
If you treat your aspiration as just a pipe dream, you won’t be motivated to put in the work to make it possible.
2. Have as many conversations as possible
Real estate is a relationship business, and relationships are built on conversations. Don’t focus on attracting leads at the expense of genuinely connecting with people.
“Think about it this way: Every online lead coming your way is probably cheating on you with nine other agents,” said Kiana Rodrigues, founder of Olani Properties, in the session titled Online Leads: What You Need to Know for Success. “To build that trust and show them that you know what you’re doing, you have to engage in a quality conversation.”
And remember: A “like” is not a conversation.
“Your number one goal on social media is to start conversations,” said Sharran Srivatsaa during his keynote on the Social Media Money Machine. “It’s not how many likes or views you get, it’s how many people start a conversation with you via direct message. That’s the only goal that matters.”
So if social media is part of your lead generation, recruitment, or growth strategy, make sure to focus on engaging with people one-on-one — otherwise, you could build a platform that gets tons of engagement but very few actual conversations.
As Sharran reminded the crowd: “All conversion happens in conversation.”
3. Don’t be afraid to spend time now to save time later
No matter your business goal, being more productive with your time will likely help you get there. But keep in mind that in some cases, you have to spend time in order to save time.
Nancy Reynolds, founding sales partner at Rainmaker Real Estate, shared her detailed plan for going through disclosures with her buyer clients in the session titled Your Guide to an Outstanding Buyer Consultation.
“When I’m working with a buyer, I set up a 60-minute call with them on the first couple of houses they put offers on so we can talk through the disclosures,” she explained. “I make sure to tell them all of the important things, in detail, that they will need to know if they choose to buy this house.”
The more familiar with the process her buyers get, the shorter the calls need to be. And the more the buyer understands the process, the fewer questions they have later on down the line.
“It saves a ton of time because we prepare them for everything upfront,” said Nancy. “And they come out of the process feeling really educated and empowered — which means there’s a much stronger chance they will refer business to me in the future.”
In the session titled Build Your 2022 Social Content Calendar in 45 Minutes, Tiffany Pantozzi — founder of Align Real Estate — shared a similar spend-time-to-save-time strategy. Tiffany recommended creating social media content in bulk and then using that content throughout the month, rather than trying to create something new everytime you want to post to social media.
“If I’m shooting a video at a listing, I’ll make sure I also get shots of myself in different outfits around the house,” said Tiffany. “Then I’ll repurpose those shots for different content throughout the month. A content day is a busy day, but it’s worth it because you can create so much all at once.”
That could mean offering intensive buyer consultations, bulk-producing content, or searching for a strategic partner like Side to take some of the work off your plate entirely.
“At some brokerages, you’re having to ask: ‘Where are the postcards? How do I use the CRM?” said Genie Irish, founder of Costa Modern Real Estate. “You have to connect the pieces all by yourself. At Side, you don’t have to do that — you have this whole backend supporting you, and you can more easily cut or delegate tasks.”
4. Set clear and realistic expectations
Whether you’re working with clients, staff, or fellow agents, always be sure everyone is on the same page about what to expect from the relationship.
“When I onboard new agents, I make sure everything is laid out in writing,” said Lauren Moseley, managing director of sales at Real Estate Experts, during the session titled The Ultimate Onboarding Playbook. “We make it explicitly clear that we expect them to use our listing management service, for instance. That way we’re all aligned — we know the agent came here to run fast, and we’re not going to get stuck picking over pennies on our way to dollars.”
But setting expectations is just the first step — you also have to position yourself to meet those expectations. In the session How to Win More Listings with Renovations, Jessica Waggoner — REALTOR® at District Homes — shared her strategy for ensuring she exceeds her clients’ expectations when undertaking renovations.
“It’s my job to make clear to my clients that if they don’t listen to me, they’re probably going to sacrifice some of their sales price,” she said. “And one thing I do to make sure I’m always meeting my clients’ expectations is I’ll pad my estimates by 10-15%. That way, when I come in under budget — which happens almost every time — they’re thrilled.”
“It’s my job to make clear to my clients that if they don’t listen to me, they’re probably going to sacrifice some of their sales price.”
– Jessica Waggoner, REALTOR® at District Homes
5. Keep an eye on market trends …
In his keynote titled Your 2022 Housing Market Forecast, economist Rick Sharga delved into what agents should expect from the post-pandemic market:
- Historically low housing supply will continue to put upward pressure on home prices, but for now market signs are not pointing towards a housing bubble. Assuage your buyers’ fears and reiterate that we are not heading for a repeat of 2008.
- Supply chain issues will continue to increase the price of new construction projects. Set and reinforce pricing expectations with buyers interested in new-home construction.
- Interest rates are likely to continue to rise, which may subdue demand and begin to push the housing market to a more normal cycle. Point to rising interest rates to help convince sellers to list sooner rather than later.
- As rental prices skyrocket in many markets, it will start making much more financial sense to buy than rent. But at the same time, renters paying these ever-increasing fees will have more trouble putting together enough money for their down payments. Demonstrate to first-time buyers how much they will save buying versus renting, and be prepared to offer creative financing solutions.
If you stay on top of these trends, you can ensure your business is well-prepared for the coming year’s unique challenges.
6. … But don’t let them distract you from the big picture
Ultimately, as Guy Gal said in his welcome address: “The only constant when it comes to the housing market is change.”
“The only constant when it comes to the housing market is change.”
– Guy Gal, CEO and co-founder of Side
The market will always fluctuate. Stay informed, but don’t get so lost in the weeds that you lose sight of your dream for your business.
“It’s all too easy to spend your time worrying about what’s happening in your market and lose sight of the big picture,” said Guy. “But the big picture is so important — it’s what orients us. It’s what allows us to grow and succeed.”
Headliner Gwyneth Paltrow — Oscar®-winning actress and CEO of goop — echoed this sentiment in her conversation with Side’s co-founder and chief broker officer, Hilary Saunders.
“When you get really tactical, which we all have to do, you can lose sight of where you’re going and where you’re leading people to,” said Gwyneth. “I always try to keep my eye on the bigger picture.”
Don’t keep your head down and hope that by the end of the year, you’ll discover you’ve managed to double your production. Whatever your goal may be, you need to always have an eye on it and know what steps you’re taking to achieve it.
7. Tie your dream to something greater
Lastly, don’t be afraid to dream even bigger.
In her keynote on Becoming Bigger Than Your Place, Mimi Nartey — director of community and philanthropy at GLOBL RED — explained that the real estate industry is uniquely positioned to lead the charge on creating societal change.
“As real estate agents, you help create the communities that are the foundation of our society,” said Mimi. “And your success is a call to leadership. That’s why I’m asking you to develop a vision that’s bigger than yourself.”
Weaving philanthropy into your business doesn’t just benefit society, it can be a huge differentiator for your business — proof that you are truly invested and embedded in your community.
Your greater vision could be as formal as starting a charitable foundation, as Mimi and her husband Kofi Nartey have done at GLOBL RED, or as informal as purposefully donating your time back to your community. The key is not to separate your community work from your real estate, but to think about them as two sides of the same coin.
“I want you to take control of the narrative about where you belong,” said Mimi. “Yes, you belong at the top of the real estate industry. But I think you have another place, a bigger place, as well — one of belonging, humility, intuition.”
“Yes, you belong at the top of the real estate industry. But I think you have another place, a bigger place, as well — one of belonging, humility, intuition.”
– Mimi Nartey, director of community and philanthropy at GLOBL RED
Your dream for this year might be to hit a certain number of closed transactions, or take a real vacation without losing income. It might even be to start your own real estate company.
Whatever your dream may be, if you stay focused and keep these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to achieving it.