Top 10 Tips once you have your New Jersey Real Estate License Tip #2: Don’t Be a “Secret Agent.”


February 27, 2020

Getting a real estate license is easy. As New Jersey’s top-ranked real estate school, Garden State Real Estate Academy trains hundreds of aspiring REALTORS® who go on to pass the state real estate exam and get their real estate license.

So why do 80% of new licensees nationwide drop out of real estate within two years?

Lost in the Wilderness.

So many newly licensed agents join companies that are owned and managed by really nice brokers, but who are too busy or lack the resources to offer the new recruits a good training program.

This week’s blog is focused on them. If you don’t have a mentor or company training program to get you started, let us help you with some free advice. In our Tip #1 a couple of weeks ago, we suggested that building a database should be your Job 1, starting even before you obtain your license. Today, let’s take Step 2.

Let people know what you now do.

There are few things that have made agents I knew more angry than when they discover their cousin or aunt just bought a home or listed their home through another REALTOR®. You would think their family member had committed the crime of the century!

After letting them calm down a little, you realize that they either never talked to their friend or relative about their new career, or they did mention it a while ago but did not stay in touch with them on a professional level.

To put it simply, they became a Secret Agent. It wasn’t the friend’s fault; it was the agent’s.

How should I stay in touch with them?

In our previous blog, we talked about the importance of creating a database—and feeding it daily. By now, you should have a database in Excel (or some similar program) of everybody you know. Separate those lists into categories such as family, friends, work colleagues, school friends, previous customers, etc.

You want the flexibility to be able to send customized messages to each group. All you need are columns with their first name, last name, phone number, and email address.

What should I send them?

Don’t wait until the last minute or you’ll risk either being too busy or having writer’s block. I suggest you make up a calendar with the entire year broken into months. Remember the old maxim: To fail to plan is to plan to fail.

Nobody wants to be “sold to.” That’s why we say, “I’m just looking” when a car salesman approaches us in the showroom. Come up with helpful or interesting little nuggets that you can use to fill no more than two sides of a sheet of paper.

As for content, try to include something that subtly drives home the point that you are their go-to real estate professional by saying something like, “Whom do YOU know who might be interested in buying, selling or investing in real estate? It would mean so much to me if you could introduce us to one another!” Try to include a call to action, where they can contact you for something of value, such as a research report.

Make it about them.

Think about the last time you were scrolling through an online site—maybe a news website—and you ended up clicking on something and that led to another link and so on. You began by searching for the week’s weather forecast and ended up printing out a recipe for an awesome-looking pecan pie! Why did you make that first click?

It was because you saw something that interested you.

Make your e-newsletters the same way. Before I bought Garden State Real Estate Academy and was actively running a real estate team, we published a monthly e-newsletter that we sent out to more than 1,000 past clients, friends, family, and our sphere of influence. More than 90% of each issue was on topics we thought would interest the reader, such as:

  • An update of the recent local real estate market sales.
  • Best places in the county to have breakfast (the research was fun—and tax deductible—for that one!).
  • Top 10 tips to prepare your home for sale.
  • How to improve your credit score.
  • Home improvements that have the highest rate of return on your investment, and so on.

It got to the point where if we were a few days late sending out our newsletter, people would call to ask if we had dropped them from our list.

Don’t forget the personal touch.

Newsletters are great. But don’t forget the personal touch. Send a hand-written note 3-4 times a year. Send a birthday card. Drop by and give them small flags to fly on their lawn before the Fourth of July. Invite them to bring their kids to your office for a pumpkin decorating contest. . . you get the point.

Keller Williams has for years urged its agents to have what they call a “33 Touch” campaign. It simply is an organized way for the agent to “touch” their sphere of influence 33 times a year. Those touches could be a phone call, a card, a newsletter, perhaps an invitation to coffee.

If you were to “touch” your cousin or uncle 33 times a year, what do you think are the chances they would list their home with another broker because they forgot you were a REALTOR®? Whatever you do, do something to avoid being the secret agent in their lives!

If you or somebody you know if thinking of earning their real estate license—or of stepping up to become a broker—we’d love to hear from you!

David C. Forward is a licensed real estate broker and instructor and was first licensed as a Realtor® 31 years ago. During his career, David and his business partner sold more than 450 homes in South Jersey.  He is now School Director of Garden Real Estate Academy, has won numerous awards for real estate sales, is a much-requested public speaker who has addressed audiences on six continents and is the author of 15 books. David can be reached at


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