How to become a Successful REALTOR® in BC

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Real estate is a very competitive industry.

There are currently about 23,000 REALTORS® in BC, or roughly one real estate agent for every 208 British Columbians.

And, according to Indeed, the largest job site in Canada, the average tenure of a real estate agent is only 2-4 years.

What makes some real estate agents in BC flourish earning six figure incomes, while others struggle to get a foothold, and drop out of the business after only a few years?

Jason Soprovich, a Vancouver-based Realtor who has been Royal LePage's top selling Realtor in Canada for close to twenty years, shares his secrets to success.

"I believe there is no substitute for aggressive promotion, networking, and a deep comprehensive of market conditions and honed negotiating skills. Success is not measured solely by sales, but by relationships built, continually communicating with clients and by responding to their individual needs' as well as, appreciating the special qualities of the property." (Jason Soprovich Website.)

Successful real estate agents often share similar qualities and skills. Let's have a closer look at some of them.

1. Self-Disciplined, Self-Motivated and Treat it like a business

Real estate requires you think and act like an entrepreneur, not an employee. Successful Realtors treat it as a full-time business, and not a part-time hobby or past-time to make a little extra money.

Generally speaking, you will be self-employed, and your income will be based solely on commissions. Some new Realtors start as a buying agent where the team or lead real estate agent will give you part of the commission. In some cases, you may also start at a base salary plus bonuses. But for the most part you will be responsible for your success and how much money you earn.

"Agents think they will get into real estate and make a lot of money quickly. They are not prepared for the long period of time it takes to build their business. They also don't realize they are starting their own independent business. It is unlike any other business out there," explains Nelene Gibbs who runs her own real estate business.

You will need to be good at managing at your time since there won't be a "boss" peering down your shoulder to make sure you are doing your job.

Often, people who are changing careers from a " 9 to 5 type of job may find a career in real estate to be very difficult since they don't have the stability of regular hours or a paycheck.

2. Good Communications and People Skills

It only makes sense that to be good in real estate you should have good communications and people skills since you will be working with clients from a wide range of backgrounds. According to the BC Labour Market Outlook 2018 Edition, the top three skills and competencies that will be needed for people working in sales and service occupations (e.g. real estate) over the next ten years are:

  • active listening;
  • speaking; and
  • service orientation.

Other valuable skills include social perceptiveness, persuasion, critical thinking, and good judgement and decision making.

Projected Demand for Skills and Competencies by Occupation: 2018-2028

BC Labour Market Outlook 2018 Edition

3. High Level of Emotional Intelligence

Studies have shown that higher levels of emotional intelligence are linked to more successful careers, including those in real estate, and better relationships. Emotional intelligence (EI) means that you are self-aware of, and able to control, your own emotions as well as read, and react with good judgement and empathy to the emotions of others.

There are many instances in which real estate agents need to exercise a high level of EI. Here's a few examples,

  • Can you react calmly when a client is upset at you for not selling their home fast enough?
  • Can you be patient while a buyer looks at the 100th home and still can't make a decision?

Sammy Harper, in her article Are You an Emotionally Intelligent Real Estate Agent, offers some great advice on how to improve your "EI" level.

4. Offer Leadership, Expertise and Knowledge of the market

Successful Realtors know that their clients look to them to provide leadership and advice in which to base their decisions on. They are committed to lifelong learning and keep up-to-date on market conditions in the geographic areas in which they operate in. They read reports, and attend events, hosted by leading real estate, housing and business thought leaders, such as:

  • BC Real Estate Association
  • Local Real Estate Boards (e.g. Vancouver and Fraser Valley).
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
  • Central 1 Credit Union.
  • BC Business, Vancouver Board of Trade, Local Chambers of Commerce

The most successful Realtors tend to be the most informed and knowledgeable Realtors.

5. Client Focused

Successful real estate agents are focused on their clients. That includes both attracting new clients (lead generation) along with providing exceptional service to their existing clients. Most experienced and top-producing Realtors understand the importance of customer loyalty and can leverage their past clients to get future referrals.

"It's not uncommon to work with the children of people I helped with their first home years ago," says Phil Moore, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver President Elect for 2018/2019 and a Realtor with RE/MAX Central in Burnaby. "I appreciate their loyalty and respond with a commitment to always do my best for them."

Top-producing Realtors also invest in a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system so that they can manage all their clients over time. They effectively keep track of all their leads and communicate with them with the right message, at the right time.

6. Implement a Marketing Plan

The top real estate agents invest money back into their business to grow their business. They understand that they need to invest a percentage of their revenue back into their business to generate leads and/or leverage their time by hiring staff. They operate like a small business because that's really what they are.

Top-performing Realtors usually have marketing plan and budget. They are also creative and open to new ways to market themselves, such as online marketing, SEO and social media.

"The opportunity in the digital space is massive and smart real estate agents have caught on," said Morgan Carey, CEO of Real Estate Webmasters. "The most ambitious agents are focusing on their website and online marketing because that's where today's clients are coming from," he added.

A recent study by Real Estate Webmasters reveals the top marketing tools used by many real estate professionals in Canada and the USA along with spending trends.

According to the survey results, 70% of those surveyed had a website, while 38% actively advertise in social media. The next most popular advertising channel was local newspaper advertising at 26% and search engine marketing at 23%. Other advertising channels used by more than 10% of real estate professionals include local sponsorships, magazines, online display ads and door-to-door flyers.

(This quantitative survey was commissioned by Real Estate Webmasters and conducted by independent market research firm Concerto Marketing. It includes data from 300 active real estate professionals in urban and suburban regions, with their location evenly split between the United States and Canada. The research was conducted in October 2017.)

Source: Real Trends, Real Estate Marketing Costs, October 2017

In a nutshell, real estate can be a very rewarding career, both professionally, financially and personally. Successful Realtors share similar traits or qualities, like self-discipline, a strong work ethic, flexibility, good communications and people skills and a high level of emotional intelligence.

They all share a strong commitment to the real estate industry and keep abreast of changing marketing conditions so that they can provide valuable advice and guidance to their clients. And, lastly, they have a solid marketing plan and budget that incorporates traditional methods for getting business, along with new technologies and digital strategies to generate leads.

Many successful Realtors in BC will tell you that real estate isn't just a job to them - it's a passion and a way of life.