Editors Note: Mary Beth Downing is a southwest Ohio real estate agent for Keller Williams Advantage. She became a realtor in 2018, and won a “rookie award” while with Coldwell Banker. For 2021, she closed roughly $4.7m in transactions and finished third in her brokerage for production. In this article, which follows our post on how realtors can improve their mailers, Mary Beth shares some of her tips for success. 

Mary Beth DowningI began my real estate career in 2018. One thing that I thought was important, from the outset, was to run my business different than that of other agents. This is due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of realtors make little to no money in their career. I didn’t, therefore, see the point in running my business in the same manner as those who lose money. I am not saying that my approach to my business is “the right way.” Instead, I can attest only to the fact that it works for me. With that said, I’m excited to share a few of the things that have helped me to do well. The three points I’d like to address are a) the need to make your business a full-time job, b) the importance of focusing on your existing customers first, and c) how I feel my approach differs from that of the typical realtor.

The most important part of finding success as an agent is making it your full-time job. I run into quite a few realtors who are working part-time at their business and, as a result, struggle to find success. These same agents often aren’t sure as to why they’re struggling. When you stop to think about it, however, someone who only works part-time at a typical job is likely to acknowledge that they make little money because they don’t work many hours. Running your own business is no different. Also, many of the people who take a part-time approach fail to recognize that real estate is a year-round business. By this I mean that many think that certain times of the year (such as the holidays) are slow, so they don’t put any time into their business. First of all, most areas are large enough that there will still be people moving during this time. Second, this time can be spent sending out mailers, and cold calling people, in order to have listings lined up for busier times. It is very important that you work at your business full-time and year-round.

The second point I will make is the importance of focusing on your existing customers before putting effort into finding new customers. By this I mean that if there is anything you can be doing for an existing client, it should be completed before you put time into trying to get new customers. The reason for this is simple – putting time into your existing clients make it more likely that you will “wow” them. This, in turn, makes it more likely that they will become a referral source. It’s far too hard to find a fresh lead for every transaction that you will enter into. By making your clients happy, and turning them into referral sources, you become more likely to turn one lead into several transactions. A large part of my business has been from referrals and repeat business. One can achieve this by making their current clients a priority.

The last point I’ll make is that I have not followed the approach espoused by many agents. I have not made any effort to “get my name out” to friends, family members, and other known contacts. Also, I have never attended a networking event as a realtor. My focus has been on building up my web presence and taking a data-driven approach to direct mailers. By having a website that features IDX integration, I have been able to provide my clients with a branded search portal and, importantly, the software I use automates follow ups. Also, my mailers have focused on neighborhoods where people are more likely to want to sell their homes, as opposed to areas which are targeted arbitrarily. These approaches have helped me to get fresh leads. The quality service I provide has then turned those leads into referral sources and/or repeat customers.

Again, I am not suggesting that my approach is “perfect” or that it is what all realtors must do. It is simply what has worked for me. Modern Website Design has been a vital part of my web presence and has helped me to grow my business.


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