How to Compete With Top Agents, Even When You’re New

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Alexis Craig

Alexis Craig

By Alexis Craig

My family hates playing board games with me. I’m really competitive. They like to say, “It’s just for fun,” but I’m not buying any of it. I play to win.

That mindset is present in every aspect of my life, especially real estate. I have this obsession with becoming the best — with developing unapologetic mastery in the real estate industry. Ambitious? Yep, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

As a result, one of my favorite things to do is to pull back the veil of top real estate agents and SHOW you how to compete with them. Today, I’m going to show some of the strategies I’ve used to compete with top agents. They work even if you’re brand new. Let’s dive in.

Stop Looking For The Magic Bullet

It’s not your fault. Our industry is plagued with marketers who understand the power of a magic bullet. That’s why we see headlines like, “THE NUMBER ONE MARKETING TACTIC YOU MUST DO!!!!”

Barf. I get these calls every single day. People promise to catapult my business by managing my social media, handling my SEO, or writing articles for me.

A lot of agents claim they want to be successful. They reach out to top agents and ask, “How do I become a top agent? Tell me the SECRET?” The truth is that there isn’t a secret. A ton of agents release content telling you EXACTLY how to do what they did.

But as soon as people find out a top agent had to make 35 cold calls every single day for a year or produced an article every single week for two years, they immediately make excuses.

  • “Oh, I could NEVER do that. I don’t have time.”
  • “I don’t know how to write. I failed English class.”
  • “You don’t understand. I have a family. Who could work that much?”

What do you honestly think top agents are going to say? “Oh well, it came down to this one social media post that I made?” Agents get extraordinary results from extraordinary actions.

We think there must be some secret because we’re looking for a magic bullet. But there isn’t one. There is NO MAGIC BULLET.

@OpenClipart-Vectors, 2016.

@OpenClipart-Vectors, 2016.

Be Original

When you’re the same, you get drowned out. And when a homeowner can’t see the difference between you and the Joe down the hall — who always has mustard stains on his shirt — they make their decision on price or number of homes sold.

You aren’t going to be able to compete against top agents by being the same as everyone else. Find a way to be unique and different in a way that your market loves.

To separate myself from every agent, I send all qualified leads a surprise package in the mail that includes information and a gourmet cookie. The package costs me about $12 to mail. At best, my competitors are sending thank-you cards.

Ask yourself, “How can I stand out in a way that makes me the clear winner?” A majority of the time it comes down to better follow up, better marketed services, being relatable, or building deeper relationships.

Start Small and Pick a Niche

The biggest mistake I made when I started real estate was trying to do too much too soon. I see agents take out Zillow ads, cold call every expired listing and FSBO, take out ads in publications, and attend every networking event.

Yes, you need to work hard and do a lot. But you also need to target your efforts. With limited time and money, you need to target a specific group of people.

You can drive all of your time and money into this group. Quickly becoming a dominant player in that market. You can beat out top agents who are spending their money across different groups.

Let me give you an example. One of the groups I targeted early on were foster parents. As a foster parent myself, I could easily reach this market. I went to support groups, a lot of my friends are foster parents, etc.

This was a market that few real estate agents could touch because they aren’t a foster parent and don’t understand the first thing about fostering.

Here’s a simple method I use to force other agents into picking a niche:

[Criteria 1] + [Criteria 2] who need to sell (or buy) a home.

For example:

  • Newlyweds in Grand Ledge who need to buy a home.
  • FSBOs whose homes are above $300,000 who need to sell a home.
  • First-time homebuyers with established credit score above 700 who need to buy a home.

The niche you pick should be a market you can serve. As a woman who got married at 18, I don’t have much in common with a 30 year-old bachelor. In fact, I try to structure my business to repel that market.

While I can’t say I don’t work with these people, I can control how much of those people come into my business by choosing NOT to market my services in certain media, the language I use, the services we offer, and the images on our websites.

Competing against top agents isn’t about finding a magic bullet. It’s putting in the consistent results. I know it’s not what most of us want to hear. That’s fine. But for those of who want to take action and are willing to put in the work, then I’ve created a cheat sheet for you that will help you pick your market.

The cheat sheet includes exact steps for finding a niche market so that you can compete against the top dogs. Learn how to target by qualities that are important to you and work with the type of customers you want. Get the FREE cheat sheet today.

Alexis Craig, founder of Mocha Homes, leads a team of real estate rebels in Lansing, Mich. Connect with her at or


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Comments 2

  1. A brilliant, relevant article… thanks so much! It’s really helps hearing these facts again! We tend to forget that it’s doing the Basics and Hard Work that create results!
    Thanks again!

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