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If you’re looking to scale your real estate business this year, you may find some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.

In our recent Voice of the Real Estate Agent Report, over 1,000 real estate professionals from around the U.S. shared insights on the biggest opportunities for growth in the next year. Specifically, we looked at how these opportunities translate into earnings.

Responses to the survey show that the top opportunities to earn more this year focus on three key areas:

  1. Build a Strong Referral Network
    Fifty-six percent of respondents said that referral growth is the most surefire way for agents to realize profitable gains in their business this year. More than 92 percent of top-performing agents in the study attribute their professional success to their strong referral base. These top performers gain most of their business from repeat clients.

Where does that leave those who don’t yet have a portfolio built to rely on repeat business? Two opportunities rise to the top: community involvement and growing your local market knowledge. Those who climbed to top-performing status grow their referral base through community efforts. They engage in volunteer opportunities and network in both professional and community venues. They cultivate referrals by working side-by-side with neighbors.

The second key to growing your client referral base is growing your local market expertise. Focus on becoming the go-to resource in the community by publishing blogs, videos and social media posts that truly help others.

  1. Embrace Digital Marketing and Social Media
    Thirty-two percent of agents recommend increasing online marketing to grow your business. Across every segment measured, agents unanimously warn against ignoring online marketing and social media opportunities. Some responses cross over into a broader concern for the profession’s ability to keep up with evolving technology. Most agents shared that they don’t embrace digital and social media marketing because they don’t have time to invest in the area, they don’t know where to start, or they simply prefer to not have a digital presence.

If you’re not skilled in this area, you can build a mentor relationship or enroll in continuing education and professional development courses to help you gain the skills and comfort you need in this space.

  1. Manage Your Time
    Twelve percent of agents indicate that time management is the most important aspect of earning more this year. Sometimes that’s easier said than done given the competing priorities in the day and the life of an agent. Respondents who are successful in owning their time rely on several habits, including building out their team, automation and taking a “whole lifestyle approach” to their time, which means they plan their real estate schedule into their lifestyle versus the other way around.

You can download the full Voice of the Real Estate Agent Report at The report shares tips and best practices from real estate professionals spanning all markets and specializations.

Alexis Petersen is the director of content at Real Estate Express, a national leader in online learning for pre-licensing, continuing education and professional development. For the last six years, she has been educating real estate professionals on how to successfully launch and advance their career. She’s also a seasoned marketing veteran, with nearly 15 years of experience.