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Some of the best real estate agents in the business today know how important it can be to go outside your comfort zone in order to keep, and retain, profitable clients. Getting stuck in a rut with the same strategies that only bring you moderate success isn’t the best way to earn more; instead, challenge yourself to get comfortable with being awkward and taking chances.

Here’s what top-performing agents and brokers suggest for getting outside your comfort zone:

  1. Embrace Social Media
    It’s not an option to avoid social media in today’s real estate landscape. The best real estate agents find a way to learn social media and embrace it, even if it means they spend some time at the beginning unsure of what they’re doing.

“What I did to go outside of my comfort zone when I started in real estate was to set up my Instagram account,” says Shelton Wilder, a Malibu agent who’s made waves in the real estate industry on her own terms. She also committed to starting a weekly video series that she uses to engage her clients and prospective clients across all social media platforms.

“That was really hard at first, but now I do it every week,” she says. “That consistency has helped me grow my Instagram presence as a real estate expert. That has paid off by letting me get in front of potential clients so that they can get to know my personality and see how committed I am to real estate. It also demonstrates that I work every day on my business.”

  1. Focus on Referrals
    It could feel awkward to constantly be chasing referrals from people who know you or past clients. No one wants to give the impression that they’re too pushy—yet, the best real estate agents consistently report that referrals are a strong source of business.

Fallane Jones of The Property Girls Team says they’ve recently decided to automate more of their business, so they can spend more time developing high-quality leads.

“We are automating most of our processes and internal systems so that we have more time to focus on the one thing that is the most important to our business: our sphere,” she says. “In the past, our business came primarily from online leads. Internet leads have notoriously low conversion rates and are not always loyal to you. Your sphere already knows you and loves you and is an untapped source of business and referrals.”

Your sphere, however, does take time to develop, and it can be awkward.

“I’ve always been hesitant about approaching my friends and family about real estate out of fear that I come off as ‘sales-y,'” says Jones. “I think the fear of being rejected by someone you know is also a fear for most agents.”

In the end, she thinks the quality of leads and the work experience is worth the initial fear.

“There’s no doubt that working with the people you already have a relationship with is so much more enjoyable,” she says. “When our sphere refers us to their family and friends, these people we meet already have a higher level of trust in us. We can spend less time explaining how we will offer value and more time exceeding their expectations.”

  1. Present Your Expertise
    Some people naturally excel at branding themselves, while others have a hard time telling their story and conveying their expertise to others. Amy Herman, who has worked in New York City real estate since 2002, has been quoted in many major publications to establish herself as an expert in her field, but she knew the next step for her was public speaking—something she dreaded.

“I needed to break through and speak to influential people, as I look at my boss who does it all the time, and people truly value when an expert in their field presents information and answers questions from an inquisitive audience,” she says.

So, the next time an opportunity to get in front of people and share her knowledge found her, she took it.

“I had really positive feedback,” she says. “I was unexpectedly asked to present again the following morning on celebrities buying and selling their real estate.”

What the Best Real Estate Agents Have in Common
Top-earning real estate agents have core strategies that help them earn more. Plus, they have a common trait: the willingness to keep taking steps that are further and further outside their comfort zones as they reach for bigger and better goals. Extend your reach a bit more and you may just find yourself pulling yourself out of the rut.

Tom Davidson is the general manager of Real Estate Express, a national leader in online learning for pre-licensing, continuing education and professional development. Davidson has nearly 15 years in the real estate industry. From sales training and product development to growing the business, his multi-faceted background encompasses crucial functions to a successful career in the field.

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