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Think of Your Business Generation Like a 401k – Writer Debut

Please welcome Jonathan Benya to the Agent Genius family! Jonathan has been licensed for three years but has skyrocketed his career from newbie to holding at least 25 listings at any given time, using blogging and social networking to bolster his hold in Southern Maryland. Jonathan works alongside his family at their brokerage and stands out in his market for his honest blogging and his keen analysis. Please welcome him in the comments!

3491395689_fe1d2050fbHow do you plan your business goals?  Do you invest all of your marketing time and money into short term goals, hoping the market continues to flow in your favor?  Or do you try to balance yourself more, investing into long term plans as well, preparing yourself for the next shift in this volatile real estate market?  It’s a task of constant self examination, necessary for the development of a strong Reator.

I consider my lead generation methods to be more than just an attempt to gain immediate business.  I build my business towards the clients I want three years from now as well as the clients I want three weeks from now.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating ditching the 401k or blowing the nest egg, but consider this: your business plans should be more than just a way to make money.  They need to be a preparation for where you want to be in the future!

Planning For Your Goals

Just like your 401k requires different planning for different goals, your business should be run much the same way.  When I got my license, one of my long term goals was to find an opportunity to exclusively represent a home builder.  Chances like that don’t come every day, so as I built my short term business, I kept my long term goals in mind, waiting for the right time.  I built a strong stable of listings (both residential resale and land), familiarized myself with the process of how construction loans worked (and drove the lender for my buyers crazy, God bless her patience!), made myself a fixture at county development and planning meetings (Speaking up in support of development projects certainly didn’t hurt), studied other agents methods of selling new homes (and thought about how to do it better), and spent many a late night in my office making sure I was doing as much as possible for my clientele.

Short Term Returns

Being able to list homes and gain business immediately was simple.  I started back in early 2007, before the bottom fell out of the market, so I started by calling FSBO’s, contacting expired listings, and of course, blogging.  While that worked out well for the short term, it was very time and labor intensive, and as the market shifted, more and more of those potential clients were underwater, unable to move, and falling into foreclosure.  Market forces were making my lead generation less profitable.  Just like you would a 401k, I had to shift my marketing time and money to other potential client pools (such as short sales and foreclosures) in order to keep business going.

Long Term Returns

All the while, I was continuing to build towards developing a reputation as an agent that could handle representing a builder.  Those best laid plans paid off when a builder who knew of me from people I had met at planning and development meetings called me.  Within 48 hours I set up a meeting to see if I could earn the business.  I got the business, my listing portfolio doubled, and my buyer volume increased substantially thanks to the additional exposure.

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The key ingredient to it all was the time I spent over a period of two years positioning myself to be able to handle that sort of client.  The challenge to it all was making sure that I didn’t solicit another agent’s client (a MAJOR breach of the NAR Code of Ethics!).  Local builders grew to know me, and when one decided he was unhappy with his agent, he was the one to pick up the phone and call me, not the other way around.  It took me two years to create the relationship, but it was well worth it to be able to double my listing volume as well!

Your Business Needs to Be Your Retirement as Well!

The typical Realtor doesn’t enjoy the benefits of, well, benefits.  Being self employed, we’re on our own when it comes to planning our financial future.  Our current business plans need to not only support us today, but our tomorrows as well.  If you’re working with foreclosures as your primary business, that’s great!  What are you going to do when the well runs dry?  How valuable is that CDPE designation going to be in five years?  Are you going to be ready for the next big change?  We’ve seen massive market shifts in the last few years; the key to success is preparing for when the next shift comes!

Written By

I'm a Realtor in Southern Maryland. I grew up surrounded by the RE business, spent time as an actor, worked as a theatrical designer and technician, and took the road less traveled before settling down in real estate. I run my own local market website at and when I'm not at the office or meeting clients, I can usually be found doing volunteer work, playing with my 3 rescued shelter dogs (Help your local Humane Society!), or in the garage restoring antique cars.



  1. MIssy Caulk

    January 22, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Welcome to AgentGenius Jonathan.

  2. Kathy Jerzak

    January 22, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Great first article.

  3. Kathy Jerzak

    January 22, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Great first article – look forward to more.

  4. Ken Brand

    January 22, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Cheers Jonathan, looking forward to more gems.

  5. Jonathan Benya

    January 22, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Thanks so much for reading! I’ve been a long time reader here, and I’m thrilled with the chance to contribute!

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