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The rule of 5 for guaranteed success in real estate

Success in real estate is inevitable if you consistently implement the right strategies. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen.

What if your success in real estate could be guaranteed? I believe it can be guaranteed when certain actions are done consistently.

The Rule of 5 was pioneered by New York Times best-selling author John C. Maxwell. The rule states that if you have a tree in your backyard that you wish to cut down, and you have an ax, you will be able to cut the tree down by following the simple Rule of 5.

The plan involves picking up the ax daily, striking the tree five times, and then putting the ax down until the next day. The next day you pick up the ax, strike the tree five times, and put the ax down again. If you strike that tree five times day after day, eventually the tree will come down.

The size of the tree will determine how long it takes for the tree to come down. If it is a big tree, it will take longer, but the question is not whether the tree will fall, but when the tree will fall. I’ve found the Rule of 5 applies to the real estate business as well. If you have a clear goal and consistently do certain tasks, you will find success in real estate.

The following are the five daily activities I see that lead to your proverbial real estate “tree” coming down.

Rule No. 1: Sharpen your ax

Sharpening your ax is a reference to preparing yourself as the most professional agent you can be. Just as a sharp ax makes each strike on the tree more effective, a professional agent who has prepared himself for opportunities will be more effective.

The daily discipline of seeking ways to improve, sharpening your skills, and becoming a better agent will not go unrewarded. Everyone you come into contact with will begin to recognize you as the local expert and your expertise will attract your ideal clients.

If you’re not sure what to focus on, here are a few areas where you can improve yourself:

  • Know your local market statistics as well as any agent.

  • Read and study effective ways to serve your clients at a higher level.

  • Model your business after agents you admire in other markets that you can follow on social media or YouTube.

  • Develop a listing presentation that is rock solid.

  • Find a mastermind group, mentor, or coach that can help hone your processes.

  • Focus on developing skills that play to your strengths and differentiate you from other agents.

Success always starts with preparation and consistent improvement.

Rule No. 2: Speak to one past client or person in your sphere of influence each day

The consistency of speaking to one past client or person in your sphere of influence daily compounds over time. If you’re wanting to speed your success up, more than one a day is advised, but the consistency of the activity is important. This daily activity leads to consistency, and it will help you avoid the ups and downs most agents face in this business.

These can be simple check-in calls that have very little to do with real estate, but a lot to do with deepening relationships. This could also be meeting them for coffee or lunch. The important part is to stay in touch with them, and by doing so, to stay top of mind when the opportunity comes for them to send you a referral.

These are the foundational relationships for your business. Invest time in these relationships and they will help your business grow.

Rule No. 3: Add value to 5 homeowners every day

This is a “swing of the ax” toward a specific targeted group of potential listing clients. It is widely understood that the agent who controls the listings controls the market. Based on this understanding, adding value to homeowners every day is crucial when building a thriving business.

The first step is to have every homeowner in your database receive automated emails letting them know about homes that have come on the market, gone under contract, or have sold and that will affect the value of their home. These automated emails can be set up through most websites or your local MLS.

The automated emails are foundational, but the personal value-adds are where the true opportunity is found. Here are a few ways to add value to these five homeowners in a more personalized manner each day:

  • Calling to see how they are doing and to find out whether they still love their house

  • Calling with information about a home that just sold in their neighborhood that will affect their home’s value

  • Calling with information about a home in their neighborhood that just came on the market that might affect the value of their home

  • Emailing an unsolicited CMA with an updated valuation of their home

  • Calling with details on how changes in the market are affecting their home’s value

If you’re limited in the number of homeowners you know and you’re not sure how to generate these conversations with homeowners, check out this article with 22 ways to find homeowners and listing opportunities.

Rule No. 4: Add value to 5 potential buyers every day

Adding consistent value to potential buyers is another core function of a thriving real estate business. Just as with homeowners, we should have systematic emails automated through our website or MLS letting them know about homes that come on the market meeting their search criteria. This is the baseline, but to reach the next level, personalized communication is needed.

Here are a few ways to add personalized value to future buyers:

  • Showing property

  • Calling with info on a just-listed home

  • Scheduling buyer consultation appointments

  • Checking-in to see if they’ve seen any homes online that caught their eye

  • Emailing a personalized screen-record video (with tools like BombBomb or Zoom) going over the details of a new listing

  • Sending an unsolicited video walk-through of a new listing meeting the buyer’s search criteria

If you are struggling with finding potential buyers to speak with, this video goes over 22 ways to generate buyer leads.

Rule No. 5: Add people and value to your database every single day

A growing database is a healthy database. Do you have a systematic plan in place to add people consistently to your database? If not, now is the time to build a system that will generate new leads for your database.

Here are a few ways to consistently add people to your database:

  • Buying leads from online sources like Zillow or

  • Generating Facebook or Google Ads leads

  • Holding open houses

  • Leveraging circle prospecting

  • Knocking on doors

  • Adding friends and family

  • Adding people that you do business with like your dentist, accountant, or any other service provider

The more people you add to your database, the more people you will have the opportunity to do business with. Opportunities increase when you add consistent communication to growing your database. Yes, focus on adding people to your database, but don’t forget the need for consistent communication.

If you’re unsure how to generate leads for your database, this is an article that explains 40 lead generation strategies agents are using right now.

Your success in this business is inevitable if you consistently do the things that lead to success. By applying the Rule of 5 to the activities listed above, your business can’t help but grow.

By Jimmy Burgess

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