With so many real estate agents working in cities and towns across the U.S., it can be a challenge to succeed in the field. Competition is fierce, especially in weak markets where residents may not be buying homes at a high frequency due to recessionary factors such as high unemployment. But even in these markets it is still possible to be a successful real estate agent if you market yourself well and spread the word about your business.
Items you will need
Carry business cards with you wherever you go. If you are a private Realtor who does not work for a real estate agency, order personalized business cards online or from an office store to carry with you at all times. You never know where your next contact or deal will be made. Passing out business cards when appropriate, such as at open houses, real estate events or meet-and-greet lunches, will make you appear approachable and ready to handle business, as well as supplying potential clients with your contact information.
Use social media as a way to market you or your real estate agency. Open a Twitter account and tweet about new, interesting properties on the market. Create an official page on Facebook for your real estate business and ask friends and clients to "Like" your page. On your Facebook page post a bio and links to local properties you are trying to sell. Advertise upcoming open houses on your Facebook wall and engage with commenters who leave notes on your page to demonstrate that you care about your potential clients. Post a few YouTube videos introducing yourself to the public. Use a free blogging platform such as Wordpress or Blogspot to regularly blog about yourself and new developments in your business. Social media platforms can spread awareness about who you are and what you do and may funnel new business your way.
Get to know fellow agents and others in the property field at real estate events, such as conferences or fundraisers. While fellow real estate agents can be construed as competition, they may also help further your career. For example, if a rival Realtor has a client looking for a type of property you may specialize in, he may send the client your way for better expertise in the deal. Real estate events are also an effective way to expose your name and brand to others in the industry, including mortgage brokers and banks.
Educate yourself in real estate laws. Be prepared with answers if a client has general legal questions about a property you have shown, such as zoning rules or county permit restrictions concerning the property. The more knowledge you demonstrate to clients, the more apt they are to retain your services for future business transactions and refer you to their contacts for further business.
Ask your friends, family, clients and business contacts to refer you whenever they know of someone who is looking for a real estate agent. Personal referrals are an effective word-of-mouth since the person referring you is probably familiar with who you are as a person and how reliable you are in the business. Referrals may feel more at ease giving you their business if someone they trust also trusts you.
Continue to hone your skills as a real estate agent. Years after you've started as a Realtor, you can still take training courses and classes to maintain your expertise in the field. The National Association of Realtors offers a variety of certification programs that experienced real estate agents can take, including ones in accredited land consulting and certified international property specialist training. According to Realtor Magazine, a special "designation or certification tells potential clients that you are highly trained in a particular aspect of the business."