So let’s just cut straight to the chase: there is a major dilemma, a problem, in the real estate agent business. And that’s that there’s no planning! See, a lot of people get into real estate, and they continue to do so. Hundreds of thousands every year come and go from this business, but the real problem is that nobody’s telling them when they arrive that this is not a job, it’s a business.

Selling real estate IS a business

You see the words ‘independent contractor’ should tell you the story right up front. I don’t care whether you working for a major company, or you’re working for mom and pop, or eventually you hang your own shingle. You see, this is a business, and without a plan, a business has a very high likelihood of failing. Now see the first time I heard that, as an entrepreneurially spirited agent (there’s a big difference between that and the true entrepreneur), was from a book written by Michael Gerber called The E-Myth. Now the premise of The E-Myth is that there’s a lot of us that just all of a sudden realize we are unemployable. So we want to go off and start our own business, and we look out there we see what? Real estate everywhere. It is one of the most basic human needs: shelter. It’s right up there on the hierarchy of needs: food, air, water. Hey where are you from, where do you live – it’s shelter. But see, we missed that point, that this is a basic human need, and we think because of that miss that this is going to be easy. Oh I’ll just talk to a few of my friends and family and they’ll introduce me to people that need that shelter and I’ll sell them a house! Sounds great doesn’t it?

What’s your goal?

But the problem is, what is the goal? Is the goal for you to go out and sell a few houses? Because you’re unemployable and you think not having a boss that it will somehow become easy? Well what you don’t recognize is that you just stepped into a business without a safety net.

Build a safety net

So let’s talk about how to begin to build that safety net. Well first, you get clarity on the vision. What kind of an entrepreneurial venture will this be? Is this something that you want to land on a specific spot, GCI-wise, gross commission income? How many transactions, how many clients, how many agents, etc. It’s one thing to have a very clear image of what this business will be in your head, and that’s the requirements and actually the skill set of the true entrepreneur, to dream it. But then you have to get in touch with that real manager, that blueprint, that real hardcore wireframe if you will, that you can stick to. You need a plan is the bottom line.

You need a strategic plan

So what plan do you start with? Think about it in terms of building a house. The entrepreneur has this beautiful vision, but then if they were to run down to the local hardware store and grab some hammer nails and wood and start to bang away, the town would come and shut him down! No blueprint, no signed off engineering plans. So let’s think about a small real estate agency, or big for that matter, in that same context. Let’s sit down with the first plan and that strategic marketing. In strategic marketing, you need to know a few things very clearly. First of all, tying in that financial goal, GCI gross commission income and profit, and bringing it in and saying’ okay where am I going to do this?’ Now that might sound like it’s obvious, but if you spread yourself too thinly, geographically speaking, you’re really going to hurt yourself. So step one in strategic marketing is to define the geography. The second part is to say to whom do I want to market, who is that ideal avatar, that real clear picture of my perfect client. Of course I know no perfect client exists, that’s not the way it is, but dream! Be selfish in this moment for marketing, because this is going to be your money, blood, sweat and tears, for that matter of your guerrilla marketing, going after that avatar. So be very specific about who it is, and then you can begin to craft your message. Next, you want to make sure you make those media decisions that will help you not go broke. So we have geography, buyer, seller, avatar, and then media distribution. So people want to talk about newspaper, print, they want to talk about online and they get all discombobulated because they’re starting at the wrong end of the plan. You see, without a plan, that’s exactly the challenge. So remember the key point here is your strategic marketing plan has to include market, message, media in that order so you’re set up correctly.