Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Darryl Davis

As we continue to watch the unfolding of change and challenges in our industry, what we know is that the real estate agents who not only will survive — but also thrive — will be those with advanced skill training.

With the National Association of Realtors reporting it’s largest decline in membership in a decade, the message is clear: Adapt and enhance your skills or risk falling behind. We want to share some key strategies for success with a focus on training that agents must embrace in 2024 to excel in today’s ultra-competitive market.

1. Comprehensive skill training

Top-tier training in communication, negotiation, and marketing skills is the first must do. Agents who want to stay ahead, stay compliant, and stay in business can’t rely on old skills and strategies.

This should be the year of training — as much as possible. Seminars, webinars, workshops, courses, mentorship programs — all of which can help shorten learning curves and give you technical and relationship-building advantages as well as additional confidence to meet prospects and clients armed with knowledge and skills to do the best possible job for them.

2. Mastering digital marketing

In an increasingly digital world, proficiency in digital marketing is crucial. Agents should focus on creating a strong online presence with solid branding, leveraging social media with a balance of personal and business posts, and utilizing digital tools to reach and engage with a wider audience.

However, don’t use these tools to replace the human connection, but rather to enhance those connections.

3. Effective networking strategies

As they say, it’s all about who you know. Building and maintaining strong networks of agents, vendors and clients alike is more important than ever. Agents should actively engage in industry events and local community activities, developing these connections for opportunities and referrals.

4. Utilizing advanced technologies

Embracing technologies, such as artificial intelligence, can significantly enhance the buying and selling experience for clients. Regardless of your experience (or lack thereof) with these advanced tech tools, agents should take the time to learn how to use them. There’s no shortage of training and options!

5. Exceptional customer service

Outstanding customer service remains a cornerstone of real estate success and the hallmark of a great agent. Agents must focus on building trust and long-term relationships through attentive, empathetic, and personalized service, especially in the wake of the negative press that has been so prevalent recently.

Transparency, advocacy, communication and honesty are game-changers. Being a great agent is more than a successful transaction. It’s cultivating connections that withstand the test of time.

6. Strategic marketing techniques

As you know, (but not all clients do), selling a home is more than just sticking a sign in the yard. It’s about getting as many buyer’s eyes on it as possible. Agents need to employ specialized marketing techniques and have a solid understanding of the target audiences. Agents must also understand how to use data analytics to create more effective campaigns.

7. Effective time management

Time management is more than just balancing multiple clients and listings. Balancing prospecting, lead generation, social media posting, and reaching out regularly to past clients are all imperative.

All of these things require excellent time (and life) management skills. Agents should use productivity tools, such as a CRM and automated social media posting, as well as prioritize tasks to maximize efficiency.

8. Lead generation and client retention

Generating new clients doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as easy as wearing your name tag in public and striking up a conversation or two.

Simple conversations in line at the market, the bakery, and even Home Depot can turn into amazing new clients and referrals.

Maintaining strong relationships with existing clients means staying top-of-mind. Once again, this is where a CRM and systems can help even the busiest of agents keep contacts from falling through the cracks.      

9. Staying informed on market trends

This industry can change on a dime (and has), and agents should stay abreast of market trends and real estate news to coach their clients accurately and adjust strategies for conducting their business.

Agents who don’t have a clear picture of what is happening in the market will quickly fall behind and be left without answers when news-savvy consumers have questions. 

Related reading: 49% of agents sold either 1 home or none at all in the past year: CFA

To be a top-performing agent in 2024, prioritizing skill development will be your best way to adapt to the changing market. Remember, success in real estate isn’t just about sales numbers. Serve, don’t sell. Coach, don’t close.

Although those may seem like semantics to some, they have made all the difference in how consumers perceive and communicate with our members. No one wants to be “sold” in today’s world. They want advocates and trusted resources and to know that the professionals they align with have integrity levels they can count on. 

This year, stay committed to your personal and business growth, be agile and ready to adapt to our evolving industry in whatever form it takes, continue to provide exceptional value to your clients and keep them first and foremost in your business. After all, this is a people business, and they need you more than ever.

Darryl Davis is the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars.

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