Real estate is an attractive field to many. With real estate continuing its run as the leading investment choice, and the relatively low cost of entry for professional education and certification to entrepreneurs, it’s the perfect blend of accessible and high-reward. However, launching and growing a successful real estate business takes more than a putting up a few signs and starting a Twitter account.
The low barrier to entry and high earning potential for realtors means you’ll face a lot of competition from other professionals. Your challenge will be to stand out from the crowd, gain exposure and have a clear, reliable value proposition that differentiates you from your competitors.
Here are five ways you can offer value to clients and grow your brand:
Excel at the human experience
Real estate is one of the few remaining areas where a live, real world, interpersonal interaction still is expected and appreciated over virtual services. Since most realtors are well aware of this and make an effort to appear pleasant and outgoing, you may find it a challenge to stand out from the crowd on this point alone. Self-presentation is important, and you’ll want to come across as polished and professional, but not inaccessible or intimidating. Aim for authentic, genuine interactions to build trust and connection. Listen to your clients and focus on their needs. This isn’t as much about coming across as always happy or artificially warm, as it is showing clients that you’re taking the time and energy to pay attention and truly care about meeting their needs.
This is also harder to communicate to prospective customers, since advertising tends to default to being too slick. Social media can be a good way to communicate more of who you are and make a connection, rather than posed glamour shots and over-crafted ads.
Reduce the friction
While the human touch is important, keep in mind the importance of being sensitive to your client’s needs. Respecting their time, energy and attention is critical. Their goal is to sell or purchase a property. Your goal should be to help them get comfortable with the next step in their process as quickly and painlessly as possible. If they come away from the sale or purchase of their property feeling like that was a surprisingly easy and pleasant experience, they’re likely to share that experience and organically grow your business in the process.
The primary ways for you to reduce friction for your clients will be to invest in automation, communication and customer service. Going above and beyond to offer excellent property details and photographs, easily searchable databases and clear, timely communication not only makes existing clients’ lives easier, they can be marketed as distinctive features and benefits to prospective clients.
Pump up the bonuses
One way of providing value is to literally offer defined benefits or bonuses in your real estate package. Adding a home warranty is a great way to boost your reputation and for clients to find out what is covered and respond with a sense of trust and security. Customer retention gifts are another strategy, with bonuses for referrals, sales etc.
Double down on trust
This point is pretty simple. Do the extra work to fully understand the history and state of a property, financing, the market, and anything else that could impact your client’s experience. The goal is no surprises. People are generally afraid that their realtor’s are just out to make money however they can, so showing that you’re working hard and being thorough on their behalf is reassuring and appealing. For prospective clients, being able to point back to stories of times you did due diligence and caught a potential snag is a great way to market, so keep good records as your business grows and use those as examples in blogs or live pitches.
Target your market
Niche often outperforms generic, and you can’t be all things to all people. Consider if there’s a specialization you can focus on. It may be a market sector, or an offshoot of your personality or interests. This makes you the go-to solution for people interested in a certain type of property, or a certain type of interaction, and also helps define your brand.
Building a successful real estate business is all about providing clear value to clients. For existing or previous clients, you want them to walk away from every encounter feeling like they had a great experience that met or exceeded their needs. For prospective clients, you need them not only to notice your business, but to take a sense of the value you could be adding to their world away from whatever interaction they have with your brand.