Real estate has always been a notoriously competitive market sector, and the stakes are only getting higher.
In early August, Forbes reported a 30.7% increase in the annual pace of active listings—for the third month. As housing options continue to expand and diversify, sellers face a crucial problem: sharpening their competitive edge without cutting too deeply into returns.
Thankfully, there are simple yet effective measures you can take to make your real estate business stand out in such a competitive market.
Use this guide to up the ante and make your properties more appealing.
What Makes A Real Estate Business Competitive?
Certain factors contribute to any business’s competitive edge.
Leaders can make profit-driven decisions that increase their rates of return. Companies can diversify their reach, expand their marketing efforts, and invest deeply in their niche. But the real estate market is unique: barriers to entry are low, and commission costs and brokerage fees are relatively stable.
Real estate professionals must exercise creativity and flexibility in developing competitive features. The most important feature of a successful business is professionalism and organization.
First, learn to manage your essential responsibilities so you have time to focus on offering more. Use a task toolkit to organize your transaction pipelines and automate basic tasks. Once you’ve organized and streamlined your tasks, ask yourself what else your business can offer.
Researchers have found that most successful real estate businesses offer non-financial services of unmatched quality. While you won’t have to cut deeply into your profits to help your organization stand out, you’ll need to boost the reach and quality of your products and services.
While there are many different initiatives you can try, they will inevitably contribute to the quality of one of the following: products and resources, customer service, and outreach.
Each of the initiatives below offers a quick and easy path to improving one of these three domains, so you can get started now and reap the rewards quickly.
1. Identify Your Niche
The first step to boosting your business’s appeal is finding your niche.
A niche is a particular target market segment that displays specific characteristics. For example, a real estate developer might cater new condominiums to young professionals moving into a growing city.
The principle of niche marketing—identifying and catering to one population segment—is somewhat counterintuitive. Some business owners perceive niche marketing as a means of excluding clients. However, choosing a niche is integral to developing expertise.
Every expert, by definition, has a niche. Expertise results from years of experience in one area, and buyers look to real estate experts for their property purchases. If your client is a senior citizen seeking an older, more established community, they will not seek the same property developer who markets to young professionals.
Finding a niche is one of the essential business success principles— real estate is no exception.
How to find your niche
There are several steps you can take to narrow down your niche.
- Profile your ideal client: think back to your best client or imagine your perfect buyer. Profiling your ideal client is the best way to identify your niche.
- Choose a geographic area: many experts choose a specific location they know and love. You may want to manage properties in the suburb you grew up in or concentrate on bringing quality housing to low-income areas.
2. Build Your Brand
After identifying your niche, it’s time to build a brand with your target market in mind.
There is extensive research to back the power of a solid and memorable brand. What do you think of when you see a drawing of an apple with a chunk missing? What comes to mind when you visit a checkmark on a pair of shoes?
Effective branding not only helps with marketing but also builds brand loyalty. Clients are more likely to remember you and commit to your brand. Good branding will make your real estate business stand out.
How To Build Your Brand
Brand-building is a never-ending process.
You will want to build a brand and then continue to improve, develop, and adjust it according to the needs of your target market. For now, use the steps below to get started:
- Upgrade your business cards: real estate is a business built on connections. Your business cards should reflect your value—don’t skimp on quality. Add a QR code that links to your website or social media.
- Take professional pictures: your photo is the first thing your clients will see. Ensure your profile is up to date and your listing photos are high quality.
- Write strong content: you’ll need text for your website and listings. If writing is not your strong suit, hire someone who can do it for you.
3. Leverage E-mail Lists
Despite the prevalence of social media platforms, e-mail updates are still one of the best ways to keep in touch with your clients.
You can leverage your pre-existing connections to drive sales further and keep your clients looped into any changes. For best results, send a weekly e-mail blast to your subscribers. You can use many free e-mail autoresponders at a low (or no) cost.
Your e-mails should be rich with quality content. Think of what would compel you to open an e-mail from someone.
How To Use Your Active E-Mail List
Use these tips to build an active and effective e-mail list.
- Find an e-mail manager: some websites have e-mail services built into their software. If yours doesn’t, you can use MailChimp or a similar service.
- Send quality content: your e-mails should be 80% educational and 20% promotional. If your clients begin to expect promotional e-mails, they will stop reading them.
- Respond quickly: when a client emails you, respond quickly.
4. Create and Maintain Social Media Accounts
Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to succeed in any industry without social media accounts.
Whether it’s Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook, a social media platform can dramatically widen your audience, generate leads and build brand loyalty.
Additionally, research demonstrates that businesses with robust social media accounts are more likely to experience financial success.
How To Build a Social Media Account
Use the following tips to upgrade your exposure on social media.
- Choose one platform first: if you are new to social media, try one platform first—Instagram and TikTok are the most popular and lend themselves well to marketing and outreach.
- Share quality content: your posts should not be primarily promotional. Capture your audience’s interest and explore topics of interest to your niche.
- Format appropriately: peruse other accounts to understand the platform’s norms, etiquette, and formatting standards.
- Boost viewership: use relevant hashtags and instantly reply to the first few comments so your post reaches a broader audience.
5. Build Relationships
The jury is in: one of the most important contributors to a successful business is the quality of relationships with clientele.
If you work in real estate, you are most likely charismatic and personable—if not, there are easy ways to develop your relationships with clients. Most people look for accessibility and trustworthiness in a real estate agent. Because buying a home entails such high stakes, buyers seek sellers who make them feel comfortable and, well, at home.
Referrals are a massive lead generator for clients, so the better your relationships are, the more successful your business is likely to be.
How To Leverage Personal Relationships
Use the steps below to strengthen relationships with your clients and make your business stand out in an often intimidating industry.
- Find a simple tool to help you maintain contacts: a comprehensive pipeline that organizes and maintains your contacts is a must.
- Go the extra mile: if your client needs something beyond your pay grade, help them anyway. Small efforts have a significant impact and will make your real estate business stand out.
- Give time and attention: give your clients all the time they need to make decisions, answer questions thoroughly, and give your buyers all your attention. Kindness goes a long way in a cutthroat industry.
- Prioritize relationships over sales: although it may sound counter-intuitive, offer to help buyers and sellers choose the best option for them, not necessarily for you. A kind gesture with no expectation of reward sticks to memory.
6. Provide Free Upfront Values and Additional Services
Clients want agents who go above and beyond.
Offering freebies is a great way to entice potential clients and maintain existing connections. You can send your clients a mini-course on navigating property sales or a PDF to help them assess the value of a home.
Additionally, consider offering free services and tools for your client’s convenience.
- Your freebie should not be promotional: give your clients valuable something to them. Don’t send fluff or lead-ins to other products and services; your clients will base their interest on the value of your initial gift.
- Ask your clients what they need: a responsive real estate professional is an invaluable asset to busy clients. Ask your clients what they need from you and deliver consistently.
- Use organization tools to upgrade professionalism: a pipeline for “under clients” is a game-changer. This platform can access contact details, deadlines, checklists, and more.
- Use task management tools to cover the basics: a comprehensive task manager will help you cover the basics so you can focus on providing additional services to your clients. Use a task manager to track deadlines, milestones, and more.
Go above and Beyond for Your Clients
Stay on task and never overlook a to-do item. Zoom in and out of your closing timeline to ensure you’re on track. Streamline data collection from your clients and third-party vendors such as home inspectors and photographers.
7. Prioritize Referrals
Word-of-mouth, referrals, and reviews are still the most compelling lead for your real estate business.
Clients trust their friends to recommend quality real estate businesses.
Ask your clients to write positive reviews on your website (or Google). To facilitate the process, you can jot down your clients’ positive remarks, edit them into a paragraph, show them to your client, and ask permission to post them.
How To Boost Reviews and Referrals
There are many ways to boost your reviews and referrals. Use these tips to guide your process.
- Remind your clients to write reviews: most people don’t mind writing a check or sending a referral. Ensure that you ask politely and only once or twice. If clients don’t comply after the second ask, they likely won’t respond to more solicitation.
- Display reviews on your website: your reviews are a testament to your expertise. Display them prominently on your website for the best results.
- Offer rewards for referrals: you can opt to offer tips to clients who write referrals. This will incentivize your clients to follow through.
- Use a Referral Assistant: automated referral reminders are a great way to generate new leads. Clients can easily copy or photograph your information and send it to others, generating new leads.
Before You Go
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of marketing tools and sales tips. You might find the prospect of starting a website daunting or worry about your ability to manage the above initiatives.
To manage your workload, use a real estate business toolkit to automate repetitive tasks, keep your contacts organized, store documents, and prompt referrals. Additionally, choose one or two of the above tips to start and build from there.
Remember: expertise is a result of focus and depth.
When in doubt, remember the following fundamental guidelines for good business:
- Do whatever you can to make your clients happy without sacrificing your well-being
- Ask about—and remember—personal details to help clients feel comfortable throughout the process
- Remember your “why.” Keep your passion for your work front of mind. A happy and purpose-driven leader will always make your business stand out.
Ultimately, these tips will make your real estate business stand out, and your business will thrive when you succeed.