The real estate market is competitive. You want your real estate business to stand out from the competition and attract loyal clients — but how? Whether you are a new real estate agent or an experienced broker hoping to grow your business, there are several tips you can follow. These are our top eight tips for real estate agents.
1. Develop a Business Plan
A business plan is a written record of your company’s plans for growth. For new real estate companies, a business plan is necessary to request start-up funding and organize all important elements of your company. For agents or brokers who have been in business for a while, a business plan is still vital for success.
Think of a business plan as a living thing. It should grow and change as your business develops. Business plans provide you with a clear map for expansion and give you insight into each fiscal year.
A business plan is made up of the following components:
- Executive summary
- Company overview
- Product or service information
- Marketing and sales plan
- Financial information
- Organizational team
Your real estate business needs a plan to achieve success.
2. Set and Measure Goals
As you created your business plan, you probably did so with specific goals in mind. Setting and measuring goals are the best way to track your progress and know where you need to improve.
Business goals typically fall into one of four categories:
- Service: These are goals associated with the quality of service you offer clients. How can you provide better service?
- Social: Social goals come from your company values and mission statement. How do you want to give back to the community?
- Profit: These are financial goals, usually measured in percentage of profit you hope to reach by a specific date.
- Growth: These are goals for your company’s growth, whether through additional employees, a second location or something similar.
Begin setting goals by creating a list of all the reasons you started your real estate business. Was it for financial gain? To fill a need within your community? To offer a unique approach to sales?
Next, ask yourself where you want to see your business in three, five and ten years. Consider each of the four types of goals listed above.
Once you have created these lists, analyze your current situation. Consider conducting a SWOT analysis. In what areas are you meeting or exceeding objectives? What areas need improvement? Now, set short-term and long-term goals to get you there. Make sure your real estate goals are specific, realistic and measurable.
Once you have set these goals, you must have a method for measuring your progress. Do this using key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are a measurable, quantitative metric used to track goals.
For real estate, some goals you might set are generating a specific number of leads by a certain date or increasing your single-family home sales by a percentage.
3. Know Your USP
Your USP — or unique selling point — is what sets your real estate business apart from your competitors. Your USP is the reason a client should choose to work with you over all else. Maybe it’s a unique method of sales or a high-quality product you offer that none of your competitors do — whatever it is, find it. Once you know your USP, you can use it in your marketing strategy.
One thing to keep in mind when figuring out your USP is the difference between service expectations and benefits. A client expects you to sell their property promptly and for a fair price. Those are not unique selling points. They are service expectations. A service benefit, however, is something that a client may not necessarily expect from a real estate business but encourages them to choose you to handle their sale. For example, maybe your business’ real estate agents have more combined selling experience than any other agency in your city. That is your USP.
4. Develop a Budget
Creating a current budget that you manage throughout the year is vital for keeping your business afloat. An annual budget should include:
- Projected expenses
- Projected income
- How expenses and income interact
- Adjustments as needed
Once you have your yearly budget in place, stick to it. Record all expenses and income and make adjustments as needed.
5. Build Trust and Advise Honestly
Trust and honesty are the keys to building a positive brand reputation for your business. Clients want a real estate agent who understands their needs, sympathizes with their concerns and speaks openly with them about the process. Be straightforward about your process with clients. They respect and trust you more for it, and it will make the process go as smoothly as possible if everyone is aware of the details.
One way to do this is by always being responsive and willing to help your clients. This might look like taking the time to sit with first-time home buyers and walk them through the process step-by-step or working with a client to keep a beloved home in the family after a difficult loss.
6. Listen and Learn
Listen to all feedback you receive from clients — both positive and negative. Read reviews of your business and take note of recurring issues. For example, if several four-star reviews cite response time as lacking, try to increase your response time. If multiple reviews praise your business’ customer service, use that as a selling point. Being aware of what your company is doing well and what your company needs to improve on is necessary for creating a plan of action to move forward.
One way to gather this valuable information is to conduct an exit interview with clients. Ask questions such as:
- Where did our company meet or exceed expectations?
- What could have made your experience better?
- What made you choose our company?
Use this information to learn and improve.
7. Learn How to Negotiate Well
Negotiation is a valuable skill for real estate businesses. Both new agents and seasoned brokers can benefit from brushing up on the art of negotiation.
- Do your research about the property, current marketplace and current prices.
- Offer value. Beyond a fair price, what else can you offer to set your offer apart?
- Build rapport with your counterpart before you begin negotiations.
- Find limits early to frame the rest of your offers.
- Practice active listening during the process.
- Ask open-ended questions throughout negotiations to learn valuable information.
- Aim for collaboration instead of competition. “Win-win” solutions are more beneficial to you, your competitor and your client.
8. Market Properties Effectively
Here are some tips for marketing your properties effectively:
- Stage the home: Do this yourself or hire a design professional. A staged home helps your potential clients visualize themselves in the space. At the very least, be sure to de-clutter the house before taking photos or conducting tours.
- Write useful descriptions that appeal to buyers: Write descriptions that are useful but also emotional and actionable. Include necessary information, like square footage and number of rooms, but do so in a way that grabs your reader’s attention. One way to do this is by appealing to emotion.
- Tell a story: Find your property’s story and use it as a selling point to frame the property’s features. For example, was the home handbuilt by the seller’s grandfather? Were holidays celebrated in the eat-in kitchen each year? Maybe a celebrity once owned the property, or the house used to be a bed and breakfast for weary travelers. Whatever your property’s story is, tell it.
- Use social media: More than three-quarters of real estate businesses (77%) have a social media presence — and there is a good reason for it. And nearly as many Americans (72%) use some sort of social media. That is an enormous amount of potential.
Photos are the first impression your client will have of a property. High-quality, edited photographs and videos can mean the difference between a client expressing interest or moving on to the next listing. Hiring a professional photographer is the best way to ensure your photos and videos are professional and tell a story.
For maximum effectiveness, use a combination of high-quality photos, videos and virtual tours.
Contact Real Estate Exposures for Top-Quality Photos and Videos
What makes Real Estate Exposures the best? In addition to still photography and video recording, we offer aerial photos and professional post-processing.
Here’s how our process works:
- Home exteriors: Our photographers go through extensive training to produce the best front view of a building.
- Home interiors: Each interior photo works to entice your viewer to schedule a tour. Colors are accurate, including bright white ceilings, moldings and doors.
- Post-processing: We edit the images with your sales goals in mind. Windows are all see-through and the sky will always be blue. We eliminate poor weather and offer special effects, like twilight conversion. Perspective correction helps ensure that each image is vertical and level. Distortion correction eliminates warped interiors.
Are you a real estate agent or real estate broker looking for professional photo and video services? Contact Real Estate Exposures today.