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Of all the reasons real estate agents succeed or fail, one element seems especially telling: how they see their role. In my experience, agents who approach their career as a business and not a job are better positioned for success.

We work in a tough, competitive industry, and the battle for buyers and sellers is as fierce as ever. An entrepreneurial, business-based mindset can provide a powerful competitive edge in helping an agent reach his or her professional goals.

Having a business mindset involves four essential actions:

  1. Proactively Building a Customer Base
    Providing an amazing customer experience is essential in today’s marketplace, but all the skills in the world mean nothing if you have no clients to serve.

As a business, establishing a solid base of raving fans is a must. You can’t expect your next client to stroll through the door without an invitation. If you’re not actively identifying and reaching potential clients, you’re destined to failure.

  1. Delivering Incredible Value
    Once you attract customers, you need to follow up and provide them with unmatched value. In a service industry, that means doing it better—a lot better—than the other guy. There’s tremendous opportunity in how you guide clients through the process and smooth out the bumps for them.

As a business, the real return comes from knowing what’s most important to the client—insight and clarity, negotiation, communication, etc.—and excelling in those areas. Elevating the customer experience leads to the 4Rs of referrals—recommendations, ratings and reviews—which all build your business.

  1. Committing to Repeatable Systems (That Work)
    A major difference between the “I’m a business” and “I’m an agent” mindset is the presence of systems. Successful businesses depend on strategic, repeatable, proven systems. It’s one thing to say, “I’m going to sell 10 houses this year,” but another to take specific steps to make it happen. A goal without a system is just a wish.

A good example is devoting an hour each day to prospecting. It sounds easier than it is. The key is holding yourself accountable and executing over and over until it becomes habit. Hint: It takes 66 days of repetition to create a habit, so start now.

  1. Scaling for Growth
    There’s no standing in place or “wait and see” in business. The cost of doing business increases all the time, so if you’re not moving forward and growing, you’re actually losing ground. Want to know the difference between a mildly successful agent and an extremely successful one? One word: scaling.

The most productive agents aren’t doing all the work themselves. They hire support staff or outsource the small stuff so they can focus on the big items that require their attention. And the really successful agents? They often form a team, with every member contributing distinct value.

Scaling to create additional revenue streams is a sign that things are going well. It’s an exciting part of being an entrepreneur.

Adam Contos is CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. For more information, please visit