Are You A Local Guru
The way agents sell real estate and what is expected from agents has changed dramatically since I moved from property sales to property media. Being a negotiator isn't enough anymore. If you want to survive, you HAVE to do more.
These days, vendors expect agents to offer them not just expert information on the market (that's a given), but people today are now also expecting local knowledge. It goes without saying, all agents can provide general information and can tell you the schools and some shops, but it takes a local expert to have the ‘inside’ scoop.
So, how do you get seen and position yourself as a local expert?
There are some simple things you can do to make sure you’re top of mind in your local area and position yourself as a trusted advisor with potential clients. This list of by no means comprehensive but it should be enough to get you started.
BUILD YOUR AREA KNOWLEDGE
Learn as much as you can about your local area. It will work wonders to position you as a local expert. Your clients expect information, so make sure you can give it to them.
You likely already make sure you know all the latest data applicable to your area (including median prices, auction clearance rates and vacancy rates), and information about recent sales and buyer behaviour.
It's not only vendors that want information from you. Potential buyers also expect this information and more. This is the information that will make them choose Kiama over Coolangatta for example. So make sure you know as much information as possible about the area. Where is the closest bus stop? How far away is the nearest supermarket? Is there a park around the corner? What new local restaurant has just opened (even better, eat there yourself and give it a review) The list is endless. Being able to demonstrate intimate knowledge of the area will impress your clients and potential clients.
CONNECT WITH MEDIA
It seems like there's never a day that goes by that real estate isn't in the news, so get to know the reporters at your local newspaper, radio station and other media outlets. Find out how they work, what their deadlines are and how they like to receive pitches, what type of stories are they after at the moment?
Once you know these things, you can start to build a solid relationship and feed them story ideas.
Become your own PR agent. Got a unique property about to come on the market? Why not have a little editorial piece written about it?
Don't just think local. What's happening in the national and state level real estate news? How does it impact your local area? What developments are approaching, what infrastructure has been budgeted for in parliament?
Remember, local media is always looking for news with a local angle. And see who’s currently providing expert real estate commentary. You can be that expert! Once people start to read your opinions in local media, they’ll begin to see you as the local expert. Once you're the expert you become the "go to" agent in the area for all things real estate and when that happens, it's time to buy a new desk because you're about to employ a P.A you'll be so busy.
GET A MEDIA PROVIDER
Ok now that you have all the information on the area how are you going to deliver it in a way that people will not only see it but pay attention to it and even better, expect and wait for it!
Whether its a podcast, youtube account that you vlog to, Instagram TV or newsletter whatever medium you choose has to be done professionally. Aline yourself with a professional media provider who can cater to what you're trying to do and who will help you with ideas and content. There's a lot of work to do here and you're not a superhero. Finding the right person to work with is paramount in getting this right. Does that person give you articles like this to share topics that you might not have thought about *hint hint* ;-)
Don’t just advertise in your local community, get active in it. Smiling faces on billboards, bus stops and letterbox drops that wind up in the bin are one thing, but showing you actually care about the community you work in is another.
Pick a local cause – or two, three or even more! – and support it. A real estate agent supporting the local sporting team, school, hospital or charity will turn heads in a way traditional advertising does not. This is all about showing you’re more than just the local real estate expert. This is about showing you're actually a part of the area you work in.
CREATE A LOCAL NETWORK
One of the best things you can do is build your network of other local experts.
Who are the solicitors, accountants, doctors, plumbers, electricians, tradespeople and other businesses that can provide valuable input into your network? Think about all those businesses that can provide your sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants with the services they need.
Anyone in business has heard about a circle of a sphere of influence. Do you have one? BUILD ONE!
Interacting with a network of professionals who provide services and trades to the local community can work a treat for you. Not only will you be able to provide valuable referrals to your clients, but those in your network want your business as much as you want theirs.
Once you've done these things, you must ensure you're providing the right information to the audiences you've built.
There's no point updating your tradespeople on your recent listings or talking the ear of another volunteer at a kids' soccer game about the last five houses you've sold over the reserve. You have to pick your target and tailor every message to suit the relationship and what you both expect out of it.
If you are all take, your community relationships, local area knowledge and media connections count for nothing (because no one will want to talk to you... Brutal, but true).
Take the time to understand what each connection wants, needs and feels, and work to meet their expectations. In doing so, you'll build a reputation for always delivering on your word.
That trust is worth a million listings.