The real estate market today is about as predictable as the weather, and such uncertainty can stifle some real estate professionals' attempts to develop new business. But it doesn’t have to be this way! During cooler periods, such uncertainty is the perfect opportunity for resourceful agents, such as you, to launch old school marketing and client relationship efforts.
If you sit around and think there's not a lot of business because of the economy, then surprise, surprise - that's what's going to happen!
Be forewarned that this won’t happen overnight. Developing new business requires creativity and skill – both of which you can capitalise on using the following tips.
Know what you’re about
Getting a clear image of your business is the first step to a successful marketing program. After all, if you are unsure of your direction and offering then you can’t expect your target market to know either! Try marketing your business as the local expert in real estate. People want to talk to the expert.
Speak a similar language
If you're going to do the right job for your clients, then you need to be them. The better you understand the industry you are in, the better you can be of service to them. Educate yourself on topics that may at first seem to be too peripheral to make a difference, but can be of tremendous use when applied properly. I personally know of a real estate sales manager who is taking an interior design course. As well as being able to arrange her furniture in a more aesthetic manner, she has picked up a few tricks that she can pass onto clients when staging their homes.
In short, craft your services based on their needs. Far too many agents jump right in, pick up the phone, and start making cold calls when they really don't know what the prospect wants in the first place. If you do it that way, you're going to be seen like any other agent. Be different!
Even simple but necessary marketing becomes a problem for agents during a tight economy. The key is to get into the mindset of the customer and ask yourself, “what do I need?” Once you know have an idea, target the local market and offer your advice. Demonstrate that you are an expert without the need to tell them that you are an expert! Public appearances also give you the opportunity to stay visible in the community and garner new business. Ask to become a voluntary speaker at local groups.
Revisit old clients
Maintaining contact with previous clients is just as important as attracting new ones. Customers and clients need to be reminded of how great your services are, and if you don't do it, they'll soon forget! When you do that, you lose the business that you worked so hard for in the first place. Aim to stay in touch by sending previous and existing clients a newsletter that targets customer needs accompanied by a personalised cover letter. Really successful agents don't do a lot of front-end marketing anymore; they add people to their database, and they maximize on keeping in contact.
Get those referrals
Don't be afraid to ask for a referral if you've done a good job for an old client – you’ve earned it! An equally important thing to remember is that when clients give you referrals, heap overwhelming thanks on them.
Time is money
If you're not responding to your clients' needs quickly enough, then another agent will. Time is money when you're running your own business. For example, although it can be more expensive, direct-response mail marketing can be better than cold calls
Technology has done wonders for altering the perception of time in the real estate industry. The ability to turnaround deals is incredible. Some negotiations can involve getting plans, a proposal, and a response all in a day.
Be technology savvy
To be successful in real estate these days means that you will need to understand how technology can make business more efficient. Many agents are starting to prefer the e-mail marketing method – sending mass e-mails to subscribers. Software can be purchased that enables you to send mail out to specific market segments and manage and online database. Brochures can also be sent in digital format to prospects and sellers.
Polish your people skills
Real estate is a very people-orientated business. You need to be responsive to clients' needs and questions and treat them with respect and give them good service. In a downturn, take the time to go the extra mile for each client.
The more you give, the more you get. If you are open, and sharing in ideas, the more people are willing to be open with you. Make sure that you maintain good quality relationships with your existing clients.