Updated: Sep 5
Congratulations on passing your RES exams!
Completing the course and exams weren't easy but no matter how hard it was for you to pass – brace yourself.. the next part will be even harder.
You might even be directionless on the exact steps to take next.
Or you are the gung-ho type, you might want to just hit the ground and start running.
Real estate can be your golden opportunity but you need to treat it as a business.
Your business. And like any business – ups and downs will happen.
Importance of Creating a Business Plan & Taking Action
The number of appointments you make will directly correlate to your future transactions.
You will need to formulate on your sales & marketing plan.
1) Decide On Your Goals
As an agent, your commissions is directly based on the transactions you handle.
If you decide to earn $500,000 in commission, you can directly derive the number of transactions that you need to do to hit that goal.
Work backwards and break down the steps into smaller steps.
So what transactions will you go after? Buy, sell or rent?
Getting more listings is a common strategy. A well-marketed quality listing can build and grow interest.
You get interested buyers. You might also get interested sellers who are impressed by what you do.
And interest can also result in both buyers and sellers getting into the picture – and slowly building up your network.
2) Decide your target segment & be aware of the challenges
It is very easy to obsess over these questions and then fail to take action.
Do not fall into this trap. Be decisive and commit to taking the first few steps.
The key questions to ask yourself:
Who will you go after?
Do you plan to serve primarily buyers or owners?
Do you plan to attract landlords or tenants?
There is a saying in real estate:
“Listings are king in the resale market and buyers are king in the new launch market.”
Each market has its own objectives.
And its objective will have its own sets of benefits and challenges.
Objective #1: Secure More Owner Listings for Resale Properties
To secure more owner listings for resale properties, the time-proven formula is through GTA (Geographic Target Area) based consistent marketing.
The challenge is to build awareness of your personal brand in your GTA – where eventually you reach the point of being able to enjoy – consistent AND automatic listings generation.
Like all marketing, it takes time to build up a brand.
The quickest way to get started will be through direct prospecting and these days, many of us are turning to social media ads and videos alot more than other mediums.
Objective #2: Project Marketing To Attract Buyers
In project marketing, the game plan changes as you will be looking for buyers.
The most effective marketing channels today have mainly gone towards SEO, PPC & social media ads due to "push" and search based marketing.
Hence, to excel in marketing of new launches will require knowledge and greater application of technology platforms.
Residential Properties vs Commercial / Industrial Properties
Residential properties has much greater volume and wider appeal.
On the other hand, commercial and industrial are specialised – usually you will have to deal more with investors and business owners than home-seekers.
For the mass market and mid-tier residential properties – your weekends will be when most of your viewings happens.
For commercial/industrial properties – your weekdays will be when most of the activities happens.
In all segments, there is money to be made. I have personally seen million dollar per year agents in the HDB, resale/new condos market, shophouses market or even the industrial property segment.
The key here is in FOCUS.
Most agents are reluctant to give up opportunities and allow themselves to be pulled in all directions.
It is impossible to excel in all segments simultaneously and you will be wise to buckle down and focus on just 1 segment.
An analogy i like to share is: The difference between a specialist and a general practitioner (GP) is that one knows alot about a little while the other knows a little about alot.
And it is no surprise that society rewards the one who specialises, and he earns many times more than the one who generalises.
As an agent, you would do best to carve out a niche and branding for yourself ASAP in the segment of your choice.
Avoid "butterflying" around as, in years to come, you will regret having not build up much of a reputation in any market.
Your Time Will Be Limited
Your other pressure will be time.
Be very keenly aware about how much of your time is focused on revenue-generating activities.
You are not an employee – your time is within your control. Decide how to spend your working hours wisely.
For agents focusing on residential properties, your time will be spent mostly at:
- areas with amenities
Most of these areas are accessible via many transportation options.
Commercial properties are usually located in highly trafficked areas too. Depending on which segment of commercial – agents will be spending their time at malls, shophouses zones or office districts.
These areas are fairly accessible places but with higher transportation costs.
For industrial properties, they are usually in less accessible places and require agents to have their own mode of transport.
Some might take you as far as Tuas or deep in B1/2 industrial sites that aren’t close to shelters or train stations.
When i first started out, i made the mistake of taking up any and every listing i came across.
At one point, i was doing a room rental in Stirling Road, bungalows in Braddell Heights, dormitory beds in Woodlands and serving buyers all over Singapore.
This lack of focus, coupled with the fact that i was not driving yet, was the reason i almost dropped out of real estate all together as i struggled to manage my time well, and didn't make an income for 6 months.
It is important to understand that any leads we generate should be "recyclable".
Example, if all my listings and activities were to be focused in just one district, i would easily be able to swing buyers to other nearby properties that i know of.
And any effort in branding and advertising would enjoy greater economies of scale and reinforcements that i couldn't have enjoyed in the example of how i started out.
3) Formulate your marketing plan to target your focused demographics segments
80% of the Singaporean population stay in HDBs. The HDB segment can contribute significantly to increasing your volume of transactions.
The HDB paperwork might be more challenging when compared to the private property segment – but this is your opportunity to learn and expand your experience.
Within the HDB resale segment – you can go deeper.
You can choose to go after:
- HDB Downgraders
HDB Upgraders and HDB Downgraders
The HDB upgraders are a growing segment that are becoming more aware of the limitations of their HDB flats.
Hence the idea of upgrading to a private property can be attractive – if you know how to bring your message across.
Here you can consider doing door-knocking at those HDB flats that has just hit the MOP. It costs zero dollars and lets you test your pitch immediately.
HDB downgraders might also be a potential segment as Singapore has a growing ageing and greying population.
The idea of monetising your HDB flat for retirement is also attractive – again if you know how to bring your message across to your target audience and understand the macro and political reasons why this is so.
If you are planning to get more listings, you can also consider going after the private residential resale market.
Think about how you can bring your message to the residents of private condo developments – will flyers still work best?
Door-knocking is impossible at private properties – so consider other ways to reach out to them.
If you plan to sell new launches, you need to consider how to attract buyers.
Zero Cost Marketing vs Paid Marketing
As a new agent, you might want to keep your costs low. That’s why door knocking at HDB flats and roadshows at HDB estates are popular.
Both roadshows and door knocking are methods of cold prospecting – it is hard work but provides great returns and learning experiences in a short amount of time. It help to train one in humility and courage.
As a business, do not be afraid to spend on marketing costs. An effective lead generation strategy is a form of investment that can give you a lifetime of returns if done well.
I know of agents who made a mid life career switch to real estate and were not comfortable with investing in their business as they did not have to do so in their previous job.
This mindset will prevent you from doing well as money invested in your business is in fact helping you buy time and accelerate success.
In real estate, either you spend time or you spend money to generate leads.
If you choose only to spend time, you will soon hit a bottleneck scaling up your business when you reach your maximum capacity.
Hence, investing money in marketing and a leads generation funnel is crucial to crossing over from the average income to million dollar income category.
Offline Methods vs Online Methods
For example, giving out flyers for geographic regions that has hit 5-year MOP. With effective copywriting and good design, your flyers can give you increased response.
Hence, you must not be slipshod in designing and writing or use cheap/low quality materials. It is the first impression people will have of you and it must present you as a professional.
Today, online marketing has become more prevalent and widespread. FaceBook, Instagram and WeChat marketing has proven to be effective and helpful for many agents.
If your budget is limited, you can choose to focus on low cost activities like telemarketing, door knocking and roadshows first.
But remember, as you progress and start to earn, always invest more into your business for marketing and advertising. These help you in having consistent prospecting and leads generation so that you can spend time on income generating tasks like viewings and closings.
4) Seek Mentorship & Support
You have to keep this in mind. You are a beginner. Give yourself time to grow and increase your experience.
If you do make mistakes, learn from it and forgive yourself.
Beginners will always need guidance and support.
I have been in this line for more than 14 years now and have seen promising agents fail and the most unlikely agents succeed.
There will be plenty who join and there will be plenty who leave.
What is important is to adopt a continuous learning mindset and to have a coach to guide you along.
I also discovered that one of the best marker for success is a sense of humility.
The agents who achieved the most success were those who were:
- open to learning from anyone regardless younger or older
- determined to overcome all obstacles
- and focused on executing required tasks
All said, a good mentor will be able to coach you, keep you on track and accountable – making sure you are able to ride through rough patches (a certainty in sales) and embark on the quickest possible path to success.
All the best! = )
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Stuart Chng, Senior Associate Executive Director of OrangeTee & Tie, is a renowned leader and personality in the real estate industry.
He adores music and can play a few instruments decently without upsetting his neighbours. When not doing so, he enjoys pillow fighting with his son and coming up with silly puns which barely amuses his wife.
Professionally, he is a licensed real estate agent, investor, team leader, speaker and columnist for several property newsletters and blogs and is often quoted in media interviews on 938FM, Channel 8, PropertyReport, PropertyGuru and other publications.
Throughout his career, he has helped many clients grow their wealth through selecting great property investments and managing their portfolios actively. Read his clients' reviews here.
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P.S. Interested to take up the property agent course? Find out how to get your property licence and be a real estate agent in Singapore!
P.P.S. Passed your RES Exams? Find out what steps to take next to quickly reach your goals!
P.P.P.S. Find out which real estate agency to join after passing your exams!