This April, one of Inman’s most popular recurring theme months returns: Back to Basics. All month, real estate professionals from across the country share what’s working for them, how they’ve evolved their systems and tools, and where they’re investing personally and professionally to drive growth in 2022. It’s always smart to go Back to Basics with Inman.
Are you receiving Inman’s Agent Edge? Make sure you’re subscribed here.
In an environment with rising interest rates, limited inventory, and possibly fewer transactions than last year, it is safe to say the real estate market is shifting.
No matter what the market does, there are always agents who have growing businesses. The following are seven steps you can take in this shifting market to ensure that you thrive.
Re-engage your past clients
The foundation of any successful real estate sales business is referrals. Real estate referrals can come from friends and family, but the easiest place to generate referrals is from your past clients.
Maybe your business has been so good that you haven’t taken the time to stay in touch with your past clients. Now is the time to re-engage those relationships. You have good news to share with them: their home’s value is up!
I would encourage you to make a list of all your past clients. Begin a program to speak to five of your past clients per day until you’ve spoken to all of them. These conversations should be relationship-driven. Ask questions about their family, their work, and at some point, simply ask if they still love their house. The deeper the relationships, the more potential you will have for referrals.
If you truly believe your business is built on relationships, make building and deepening relationships your business.
Review your expenses
When times are good, we tend to spend more money and become lax on our evaluation of how effective that spending is for our businesses. Now is the time to make a list of the monthly expenses for your business. Evaluate whether they are effective, efficient and worthy of your investment.
Some expenses can be eliminated, while others may need to be decreased or increased based on their efficiency. The reviewing of your expenses should not only lead to the elimination of expenses but the deployment of funds from one place to more efficient strategies.
When you inspect your expenses, you can expect them to serve your business better.
Refocus on the fundamentals
What was it that led to your early or past successes? What were the specific activities you did that led to your business’s growth? What worked for you in the past will likely still work for you today.
When you first began to find momentum in your business, were you time-blocking your schedule to make prospecting calls? Did you host an open house every week? Were you buying online leads or farming a neighborhood?
By refocusing on the fundamentals, you can see your business expand while other agents are seeing contraction. This leads to a compounding effect on the amount of market share you are taking.
Go back to the basics of your business, and continued growth will follow.
Respect exiting agents
The real estate business has a natural flow of agents coming into the business, and as markets shift, we naturally have agents exiting the business. One way to continue to add new clients to your business is to become the referral partner for the few agents who are leaving the business.
Many of these exiting agents have built relationships with people who will be buying or selling in the coming months or years. Most of these exiting agents will share on social media a new job they took or a different direction they are taking.
Become the resource and agent of choice for exiting agents to find additional deals and new relationships for your business.
Refresh your online presence
Has it been a while since you have refreshed your social media accounts? This is a great time to make sure your real estate marketing program includes fully updated and refreshed social media profiles.
Updating your real estate social media? Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Get a new headshot, and make sure it is the updated photo on all of your social media platforms.
- Check all links to your website to make sure they are linked correctly.
- Create an updated profile bio for all platforms that makes it clear that you are an agent and clarifies the markets you serve
Once you have your social media platforms set up properly, focus on optimizing your Google My Business page. Google is the No. 1 search engine in the world and Google My Business provides a free way for you to control the first thing potential clients see when they Google you.
If you do not have your page set up yet, here’s how to set up your Google My Business page — put it in place as soon as possible.
If you have yours set up, take the following steps to optimize the effectiveness:
- Answer every question Google asks when setting up your profile to make sure Google has everything needed to connect you with potential clients.
- Focus on reviews. Request as many reviews as possible from past clients. The more reviews you have, the more confidence potential clients will have that you have the experience to professionally handle their buying and selling needs.
- Focus on uploading as many photos as quickly as possible. The magic number that we’ve found is 100 photos on your page. These can be a mixture of photos from the community you serve, businesses in your local area and photos of reviews you’ve received on other websites.
Your online presence is important to your business today, and that value will only increase in the future.
Renew your mind
Renewing your mind and expanding your knowledge base is always a good idea, but in times of transition, the agent who is the most professionally prepared can gain market share. Study your current market, and know your local numbers better than anyone else.
Read books on marketing and sales to increase your ability to serve your clients. Watch videos, and listen to podcasts from industry experts so you can be the most highly trained and qualified real estate sales professional in your market.
Your business can only grow to the level your knowledge has the capacity to handle. Expand your knowledge, and your business will follow.
Remember your why
Why did you decide to get into this business? Was it the unlimited income potential, the fact that you can decide on your income level and schedule, or maybe you were drawn to the ability to help people find the security and peace of mind that comes from owning their home? Whatever it was for you, focus on that.
Your why will sustain you when a friend lists their home with another agent. Your why will give you the perseverance to keep moving forward when a closing you were counting on falls apart at the last moment. Your why will give you the boldness to continue prospecting when you don’t feel like it.
Tap back into the positive emotion of why you got into real estate, and your momentum will continue to be positive.
If you focus on these strategies and the market keeps performing at record levels, you will win. If the market shifts and transactions are harder to come by, you will win if you execute the strategies above. The agents who suffer during market shifts are those who are unprepared and that stray from the fundamentals.
You didn’t get in this business to survive. You got in this business to thrive. Take action now and your continued success is assured.