How to be a successful real estate agent today is different than it was even just a few years ago – in some ways.

It’s a new world out there and sometimes it can feel like everything has turned upside-down and nothing is the same. New agents don’t know where to get started and even some experienced pros are starting to get the feeling that everything they used to know isn’t relevant anymore.

Yes, some things have changed, but not that much. That’s why I feel compelled to address what it takes to be successful in real estate RIGHT NOW. In this blog, I’ll share the eight essential things it takes to thrive in today’s market. The answers are the same whether you just got your license or you’re running a big team.

But before we start, let’s look at why these things are important to know…


What Percentage of Real Estate Agents Fail?

NAR reports that 87% of real estate agents fail within the first five years of starting their business. And the majority who leave after those five years don’t leave because they made too much money – they leave because they didn’t make enough.

That’s a tough statistic to hear, right? Well, it’s a stark reality. But as someone who has been a professional in this business for over thirty years, I know not just what you have to do to be a part of the 13% that survives but the 1% who dominate and build generational wealth.

Which brings us back to the question… Why do most real estate agents fail? The answer is that they didn’t live by these eight rules of all successful agents.


How to Be a Successful Agent, No. 1: Get Your Finances Together

One of the primary reasons for real estate agents failing is financial strain. Mastering your financial situation is vital for success in this field.

To start, clarify your internal motivations. What are your expectations and production goals? Often, the disparity between our needs and goals creates unnecessary stress. Identify your essential financial needs and establish those as a baseline, then set achievable objectives.

For instance, calculate your monthly household expenses: rent or mortgage, family needs, pets, groceries, and all other outgoings. Let’s imagine this amounts to $24,000 annually. Then consider your work-related costs, let’s say it’s an additional $8,000 annually, totaling $32,000 needed for survival. Evaluate any supplementary monthly income, like a partner’s earnings or rental property income.

After subtracting these outside incomes from your total expenses, you might arrive at a figure of $0 for now. If your average commission is, say, $8,000 per sale, you might realize that selling one house every three months can cover your survival costs and maintain your business. This realization should instill confidence. Grasp your essential costs and use them as a foundation for setting your business goals.


How to Be a Successful Agent, No. 2: Have a Business Plan

This one is tough to place on a numbered list because technically almost everything on this list should be a part of your business plan, but if you don’t put them all together into a single guide to follow, you’re going to get lost.

True professionals always have a business plan. It is their guide through the chaos that gets them where they’re going. You wouldn’t venture into the jungle without a map, so why would you try to run a real estate business without one?

If you don’t have your real estate business plan for this year, I’ll help you build one in this webinar recording.


How to Be a Successful Agent, No. 3: Prioritize Lead Generation & Follow-Up

You don’t have a business if you don’t have business. Leads are your business and that means that they need to be flowing in all the time, even when you’re in the trenches of managing transactions.

Dial in your routines for prospecting and marketing and the cadence of your touch points.

  • Call at least 5 people every day.
  • Send a weekly email newsletter
  • Incorporate CTAs into all your content
  • Send out regular CMAs and do Annual Equity Reviews
  • Always be hosting Open Houses


How to Be a Successful Agent, No. 4: Have a Strong Online Brand

Your online presence is your digital storefront, which today is more important than your physical storefront. Having a strong brand online not only lets people know that you’re in business but it showcases who you are and the reasons that people should hire you.

Any truly successful agent will be consistently posting and updating these things:

  • Website
  • YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook
  • Google Business Profile

And of course, all of those come back to the greatest brand-builder of all – VIDEO! If you’re not getting on video regularly then you are depriving yourself of the chance to build “know/like/trust” at scale!


How to Be a Successful Agent, No. 5: Embrace AI & Technology

The people who scoff at AI right now are like the ones who scoffed at the internet or social media when they first came on the scene.

Take this point very seriously… You will eventually cave in and be forced to adapt as AI becomes a regular part of life and business. Why not become an early adapter and integrate it into your business right now so that you’re already leagues ahead when everyone else is catching up?

AI can help in just about every situation: organization, systems implementation, sales scripts and objection handlers, training, chatbots, and more. But where AI really shines is in your marketing content. You can now produce a lot more content, a lot faster, and far beyond your skills in any area.

Embrace it!


How to Be a Successful Agent, No. 6: Provide Exceptional & Valuable Services

Today, helping someone to buy or sell a house isn’t enough. The services you provide and the feeling you leave your clients with are what count for everything.

First off, it’s about making them feel safe and guided through the process. Establish yourself as the Knowledge Broker that they’re lucky to have found to help them save money and avoid hassle. Address all of their concerns, preferably before they even have them. That’s just the basic essential.

Next, you need to figure out what makes you special. How do you go above and beyond for your clients? Do you host client appreciation parties, gift pop-bys, giveaways, or free ancillary services such as moving equipment? These things aren’t necessary, but you should have something unique that makes your clients feel special, cared for, and in good hands.


How to Be a Successful Agent, No. 7: Continually Develop Knowledge & Skills

Real estate is always evolving, which means that you should be too. You’re never too good or making too much money to not have to keep developing.

There is a reason that agents with a Tom Ferry coach make 10x the industry average commission – it’s because they’ve dedicated themselves to continually getting better, learning more, and sharpening their skills.

That’s what I’m all about, and it’s why hundreds of thousands of top achievers turn up to our events every year and attend our regular webinars.

At a very minimum, you should:

  • Attend a webinar every week
  • Read KCM and keep up with the latest market data every day
  • Attend two events a year (ideally one every quarter)
  • Read this blog and watch my podcasts every week


How to Be a Successful Agent, No. 8: Always Be Growing

You’ve heard the saying – When you stop growing, you start dying.

That applies to the point above about developing your knowledge, but it also applies in a much more literal sense of your business… You need to keep expanding!

The future is in teams, and you can’t hope to ever retire if you’re doing this alone.

Figure out your plan for expansion.


These Are Just the Basics

Of course, these eight things aren’t EVERYTHING that’s required to succeed in your business, but they’re a pretty good start and you’re not going to achieve your dreams without any of them.

I hope that this has been helpful, and remember, if you ever need us, we’re just a phone call away.