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The Secret To Building A Successful Real Estate Business

You. I know what you want. You want the same things in life as I do. To start or build a real estate business that gives you purpose. To make enough money to fuel a more-than-comfortable lifestyle. To be happy. To feel in control. To grow. To spend more time with the people you love.

But deep down, you know you’re not on a sustainable path to get there.

The secret to real estate success is really quite simple. But before I get into that, I want to tell you a story.

A Tale of Two Real Estate Agents

Two agents started their careers the same year. They were both in their early 20s and both in a city that was new to them.

Their first year, they both sold about 20 homes—which was not too shabby, considering they didn't know anyone and had to rely solely on door knocking and open houses.

In their second year, their approaches began to differ. The first agent became fascinated with marketing, lead generation, internet technology, and other mass produced automation that he felt allowed him to "work smarter." The second agent continued knocking on doors and getting involved in the community.

During those first few years, the first agent got off to a quicker start—but both agents made progress and earned a living.

The first agent got so good at marketing and using his CRM that he became a consultant to a nationally known real estate coach. He also did consulting for a national franchise, and he was even recruited by an Internet company. The second agent didn’t even have a website; he just knocked on doors, met people, remembered people, and got more deeply involved in the community.

After about 10 years in business, they were both doing 50+ transactions a year. The difference was that 90% of the first agent's business was new clients brought in through marketing. The majority of the second agents' clients were repeats and referrals.

Then the Great Recession hit. The first agent doubled his marketing budget, blanketing the TV and the web. It didn’t matter. His production dropped like a rock.

The second agent did the simple things, day in and day out. His production stayed steady and he has never done less than 60 transactions in a year since his 5th year in real estate. And almost all of his business comes from his CRM database of people. These days, he's doing more than 100 transactions a year.

The first agent was me. I failed. But I learned a valuable lesson about how to build a sustainable real estate business.

Focus on the fundamentals

Don't get caught up in the gadgets, technology, marketing, lead generation, jargon, and vision boards. Don't fall for the "get rich quick" schemes touted by consultants, speakers, and coaches who have never actually put any of what they're preaching into practice.

The best real estate coaches will teach you the fundamentals. Start with the basics, and go from there.

No Wrinkles

No one understood the importance of fundamentals better than John Wooden, the legendary coach of the UCLA Men's Basketball team from 1948 to 1975.

His first day on the job, he walked into the locker room and asked the players to take off their shoes and socks so they could practice putting them on.

The teammates just looked around at each other, smiling and laughing. Putting on their shoes and socks was not something new to these young men. Surely the new coach was joking.

He was not. Coach Wooden said:

"Now pull your sock up in the back, pull it up real good, real strong. Now run your hand around the little toe area ... make sure there are no wrinkles and then pull it back up. Check the heel area. We don't want any sign of a wrinkle about it ... The wrinkle will be sure you get blisters, and those blisters are going to make you lose playing time, and if you're good enough, your loss of playing time might get the coach fired."

Can you relate to this idea of small things affecting your performance? What about the time you had the best intentions to have a productive week—and all it took was one bad night’s sleep to throw you off track?

John Wooden went on to win 10 national championships and become of the most revered coaches in US history. Indeed, small things are everything.

Practice daily habits

It's not enough to simply understand the fundamentals. You also have to put them into practice. Every. Single. Day.

Coach Wooden's basketball players smoothed out the wrinkles every single time they put on their socks and shoes. And you have to implement your fundamentals every day. 

Call 10 past clients every day. Meet face-to-face with 2 prospective clients every day. Meet 3 new people every day. Go on a 30-minute walk every day. Sit down for dinner with your family every day. These are just some of the fundamentals that are the building blocks to a sustainable business, as long as you continue to do them every single day.

We Are the Sum of Our Days

Being an agent is wonderful, and it’s an important role in society. It’s one of the few industries left that allows us to be independent and not be a cog in someone else’s wheel. We have a beautiful career opportunity and, if approached with the right habits, it will give us everything we ever wanted.

So practice the fundamentals, and practice them every day. Your days will add up to become your life.

Dave Crumby

Dave is the Chairman of Firepoint / Realvolve, a state-of-the-art customer relationship management (CRM) platform built expressly for real estate agents. Dave began his real estate career as an agent in 1996. Dave authored in 2013 the book titled 'REAL: A Path to Passion, Purpose and Profits in Real Estate’ that has since become a best seller. The book features Dave's experience and the wisdom of other successful real estate leaders, such as the CEOs of Zillow, Trulia, Better Homes and Gardens, and many others.


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