9 Next-Level Tips for Your Real Estate Business
The real-estate market is highly competitive, and the percentage of agents who fail is staggering. After five years, just 13 percent who started the journey remain. There are numerous reasons this is the case, and mounds of data and commentary exist—lack of a consistent routine, failure to generate and nurture leads, and inability to stay up to date on the latest trends, among others.
Getting this right is extremely important. With over 1.3 million agents across the U.S., competition for clients is intense; many markets have hundreds or even thousands of agents vying against each other.
For agents looking to take their real-estate business to the next level, there are a few things that you can do.
1. Partner with other agents.
While there might be initial aversion to partnering with another agent, 50 percent is better than nothing and moreover collaborative partnerships may yield a larger network for you.
2. Host open houses.
When business is slow, one of the best things to do is to host a lot of open houses. These don’t cost you any money, and they help you generate more leads and provide you with greater knowledge of the neighborhood and local market.
3. Maintain relationships with former clients.
Communicating and staying in touch with former clients should be a critical activity for an agent. David Kramer, an executive vice president at Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, California-based real estate firm, recommends that agents buy lunch for former clients four times a week. He contends these produce about a 10 percent return on investment (ROI), four times more than blanketing neighborhoods with postcards, which have about a 2 percent ROI. Other suggestions include sending market updates, just-listed cards, just-sold cards, and birthday and holiday greetings. And back to open houses, sending former clients open-house notifications can be a big plus.
4. Tap business contacts for leads.
Agents typically have a broad set of business contacts—attorneys, inspectors, brokers, and others. These contacts may know of potential buyers and sellers who could be potential clients. Just as it is important to nurture former clients, it is important to nurture your business contacts. Send them holiday and birthday greetings, include them on your just-listed and just-sold cards distribution, and send them your market updates.
5. Use a professional business address.
Some real-estate firms or agents may use their home addresses for their business. This is a mistake—whether legal liabilities or professional impressions. Virtual office addresses such as Davinci Virtual Offices are a great alternative and there is a long list of reasons why a small business should use them. And for agents seeking to build a presence in multiple neighborhoods, virtual office addresses provide you with the ability to have an address in each of them.
6. Leverage day offices and coworking space.
Agents are constantly on the go, and going back to the home office or realtor office may not make sense (time is money). And for agents who work from their home offices, you may find your work-life balance is out of whack and/or your home environment (kids, construction, spouses, et al.) is encroaching on your professional success. In these instances, day offices or coworking space may be a great option. Plus, the chance to collaborate and network with other professionals working from the same day-office facility or coworking space may afford you with a new list of leads.
7. Use professional meeting rooms for client meetings.
For commercial real-estate agents, client meetings must occur in a professional setting—and one that comes with built-in presentation tools and administrative services (e.g., notary services that are at your disposal, faxing, etc.). But the same is true for residential agents as well. Coffee shops are noisy and lack privacy. Your clients deserve—or more likely demand—better. And even if you have a physical office with a great meeting room, the location may not always be convenient to your clients; this is where on-demand rented meeting rooms like Davinci Meeting Rooms can be a real advantage.
8. Tap virtual assistants.
Real estate is a hectic business. It is difficult for agents to juggle everything they have in the air at the same time. And not every phone call, email, or text is a priority. Virtual assistants like Davinci Live Receptionists take the burden off agents when it comes to fielding incoming calls, taking messages, forwarding urgent calls to your phone and those that are not to your voice mail, scheduling meetings, making outbound calls, and other activities. Suddenly, rather than spending the bulk of your time in reactive mode, you can focus on developing and nurturing leads, staging a home, and connecting with former clients. (Get a list of the 25 tasks an entrepreneur can outsource to a virtual assistant.)
9. Build a great digital presence.
A compelling website that is optimized for search (SEO) can go a long way in attracting new clients that an agent would not have found otherwise. Taking a shortcut and creating a subpar website is a mistake that cannot be underestimated; an estimated three-quarters of potential clients will make judgements about your professionalism and credibility based on your website. Of course, the same can be said of your social media channels. Inappropriate comments, images, or videos on social media can be the death knell for an agent-client relationship before it ever begins.
Success in real estate cannot be boiled down to one or two things. It is an aggregate of multiple activities—a mindset that is unwavering in its focus. Agents who embrace the above recommendations put themselves in a much better position to succeed than counterparts who fail to do so.
One interesting compilation of tips and advice for real estate agents is here, which features 18 comments from different real estate agents on how they were able to build their business. There you'll find many agents recommending what's been listed here (such as partnering with other agents, maintaining relationships with former clients and tapping business contacts), as well as some other ideas.