Wendy Dessler, Negosentro | Skyscrapers don’t rise overnight, but only one floor at time. But they can still rise rapidly and have a big visual impact on the urban terrain. And it’s the same way in the real estate industry: new start ups can and do sometimes make a rapid rise and “disrupt” the industry’s “status quo.”
But neither do tall buildings (or highly successful real estate businesses) rise automatically. Instead, there are specific steps you need to take to give your new start up the best possible chance of growing into a future industry giant.
Here are 10 such tips, which you can use to get your real estate start up “poised for success:”
1. Get Your Website “Up To Industry”
A subpar, or “sub-industry standards” real estate website is a huge albatross hung around your fledgling realty business. Without powerful search engines, 3D virtual tours of listed homes, high-quality flip-through picture books, detailed information at the site visitor’s fingertips, and quick access to online chat, you’ll be leaving clients (and money) on the table. Finding key strategies to improve your ecommerce site is a non-negotiable in today’s business environment.
2. Become an Expert at the Hyper-local Level
It’s way too easy for online house hunters to find the information they need, at the macro-level and even at a semi-local level. What they are looking for in a real estate agent is more than just stats and general trends. You have to become a local expert, fully familiar with your “stomping ground” down to the nitty gritty details, including helpful advice on realty realities that are “hard to quantify.”
3. Help Landlord Fill Up Their Units
Besides helping buyers and sellers of houses and commercial property meet, also expand into the apartment business. Find landlords willing to pay you to get and keep their complexes maxed out. And offer them extra advice and services, like introducing them to Sublet Alert, which will catch illegal subletters who advertise online.
4. Invest in Quality CRM Software
Once you begin to generate a sizable client base, you will find the pen and paper method inadequate and time-consuming. Today’s customer relationship management (CRM) software keeps it all organized for you, develops your list of contacts,and better enables you to nurture your leads and follow up on past clients.
5. Get Involved in the Community
Referrals are key to the growth of any real estate business. And aside from past clients and other realtors, you can often get referrals by developing relationships in the local community. Attend local events, sponsor local sports teams, get to know area homeowners and business owners. You often catch as much “realtor magic” by rubbing shoulders as by more direct approaches.
6. Create Some Positive Publicity
For a monthly fee, you can typically tap a local publicist who will introduce you to reporters who will mention you as a noted source in real estate related stories. Plus, you can pitch stories on real estate trends and happenings to journalists – and if you make in interesting enough, they’ll often bite and do your advertising for you.
7. Get Social Online
Establish a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other popular sites, where you can peak the interest of potential clients or those who know them and will give them word. Spend some time answering questions and interacting with prospects on social sites too. Post new listing, buying/selling tips, and your own profile. It can pay off.
8. Never Turn a Client Away
One of the biggest mistakes new realtors make is to simply turn away clients cold-turkey. Even if they aren’t fitting into your niche or are out of your usual price-range, you can co-list them with another realtor for a 50-50 commission split. Plus, even low-paying commissions can get you referrals. So never “send a client packing.” It’s bad business.
9. Follow Up On Past Clients
Following up with past clients by a house warming gift and card when they move in, a quick call or email a couple months after closing, or with a monthly newsletter, is smart business. You will frequently gain new clients this way, and you will get feedback from previous clients. And ensuring past clients remember you (without annoying them!) can increase the likelihood of their using you again should they need a realtor again in the future.
10. Hold and Attend Lots of Open Houses
It costs you almost nothing to hold an open house, and yet, it often pays off in sales, referrals, and meeting new prospects. And don’t neglect realtor-only open houses either, because you can often meet people who can send new business your way (and you their way), and again, ¾ of your clients are going to come by way of referrals of some kind.