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There is no one-size-fits-all way to be a successful real estate agent. Many top agents are outgoing and lively, others are reserved, and then there’s the cool, calm and collected types. While there are many different styles of selling real estate, the most successful agents have something in common—they wisely invest their time in activities that drive results, and also referrals. Here are a few ways you might use your time to your best advantage:

Respond to Your Clients
This is kind of a no-brainer, but your clients should be your No. 1 priority. One of the best ways to show them you care is with your time. If you’re not responding to their calls, emails, texts and tweets in a timely manner, you’re not respecting their time. Speaking of different communication avenues, try to accommodate your clients on whichever platform they prefer. The more you mirror their style of communication, the more trust you will build. Once you’re in contact with them, limit distractions and focus wholeheartedly on your conversation. The best agents are great listeners who can reflect back the goals of their clients. This helps them close the feedback loop so everyone is on the same page.

Get Inspired
We’re never too old to learn new tricks. Being a Realtor® can often feel like an individual’s game; therefore, it’s important to strive to create a collaborative environment in your office. Invest your time in learning from the people around you. Adopt the best practice of asking the top players in your office for a few helpful hints on what it is you may be struggling with, and offer up any ideas you’ve found work for you. People want to be valued. Look for ways to inspire those around you and you’ll be amazed at the amount of optimism that accompanies it.

Hone Your Skills and Define Your Niche
Although a lot of people strive to be well-rounded and good at everything, it is often better to spend your time honing your craft. Identify what makes you stand out from the crowd and invest your time in perfecting those skills. It could be your eye for home decor, your ability to see the gem inside the fixer-upper, your rock-solid knowledge of real estate law and paperwork, or your ability to network. Whatever it is, find your niche and focus on being a rock star at it. Now, define your niche. Branding yourself differently requires you to inventory your skills and share why they matter to your sphere of influence.

Ask for Feedback and Referrals
The best agents take constructive criticism in stride. After the sale, take the time to ask for feedback from your clients. This is also a great time to ask for a referral. If your client agrees to refer people to you, ask them what it was about your service that they enjoyed. If not, ask them what you can do better next time. Whatever the outcome of their feedback, you’ll have gained some insight into how to improve, or even better, some referrals.

In real estate, time is your most valuable asset. Consider daily how you are protecting it, wasting it, or investing in it, and you will set yourself up for success.

Tracy Berger is senior vice president Real Estate Sales, First American Home Buyers Protection.

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