There are thousands and thousands of licensed Realtors in the US. Many are “solo agents,” meaning they are on their own. They show homes, market their business, lead generate, order signs, and work with buyers and sellers. Though I named several tasks they do, it is minor in comparison to ALL the responsibilities they truly have. Not that long ago, most Realtors went the way of the solo real estate agent. There was no Social Media, the Internet, YouTube and more to take into consideration when marketing your business. The ability to network, send out TONS of direct mail, door-knocking, and even have the largest advertisement in the local paper were some of the main marketing techniques. In today’s real estate climate, “Teams” seem to be taking over as the most efficient way to expand your real estate business to huge proportions. Does the solo real estate agent have a glass ceiling or are there ways to break the glass ceiling?
The Hard Part of Being a Solo Agent Is…
Well, there are many tough parts. Yes, you answer to yourself, but that is the issue…you are a one-person business. I know many successful solo Realtors, but they tell me that working 70+ hours a week and sacrificing time with family and friends is hard. When the kids go to bed, you have to add photos for your listing, complete more paperwork, get buyer sheets ready for the next day and much more. You are one person doing the work of 3 or 4 people. Over time, this can become very stressful, as your business grows. Hence, where the glass ceiling tends to come into play.
Time is Money
With the only certain amount of hours in a day and days in a week, time becomes your friend and enemy. If your goal is to double your production or do 15 more transactions than the year before, where do you fit in the extra time to make that happen? A good rule of thumb when thinking about expanding by creating a team or making an admin/marketing hire is this…take how much money you made the year before or YTD, and divide that by 40hrs a week (I know you work more). Figure out your “hourly wage” and decide what tasks you should be doing and what should be outsourced. If your hourly wage is $125 an hour, would you pay someone that amount of money to input a listing, order signs, manage your CRM, etc? Of course not. Figure out what it is YOU do best and those are your tasks.
- Lead generating
- Showing homes
- Negotiating contracts
- Following up with past clients
- Talking to the Lender and Title Company (and other vendors)
- Attending Listing Appointments
- Buyer Consultations
The list can go on and on. I would advise–making a list of the items you want outsourced and hire that person(s) to handle it. Yes, it costs money, but you will know when it is time to take that step. Letting buyer leads go by the wayside because you are too busy? That is when it might be smart to hire a buyer’s agent to handle those opportunities. As you can see, it grows and grows, and so does your business. More money coming in means more to spend on marketing, events, online/offline exposure. THIS is how solo real estate agents become huge producers.
Grow Through Leverage
In the end, the top agents do more business by doing less. I know that sounds strange, but they focus on “hiring the right people” to handle their marketing, transaction management, deal flow, and other admin work. That frees up time so they can go make it rain. Let rainmakers do what they do and outsource as much as you can. With that said, it is important to still be involved in the transaction process and oversee everything. If a client is unhappy or they never hear or see from you, then things fall apart.
In today’s advanced real estate world, it has become increasingly harder for a solo real estate agent to do everything necessary in the job. Conduct lead generation, follow-up/retain clients, manage CRM, transaction management, interact with all parties, offline and online marketing, run all social media channels effectively and I could go on and on.
The days of running a one person show and doing it really well at high levels are coming to an end. Not that the Realtor is less effective, it’s that so much of the job is more than simply writing and negotiating contracts. Are the days of the solo real estate agent numbered? No…there will always be solo agents, but as we have seen the very top/high producing agents, have expanded beyond themselves and into teams that delegate tasks to increase productivity.
When I talk to my highest performing (by numbers) they tell me how they did it, was leveraging their time and creating effective teams that offset the weaknesses of others and allow them to focus on creating and maintaining the business.
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