This is an extremely competitive industry, so real estate agents constantly need to find new and innovative ways to differentiate themselves—this has especially been true over the past year.
The turbulent market of 2020 forced real estate agents across the country to take a step back and examine the habits and practices that help them get and stay a step ahead of their competition. Homesnap recently spoke with a number of top-performing agents about how they are managing the current post-COVID real estate market and the tools and practices they are using to stay on top of their competition.
Here are five ways agents can differentiate themselves:
1. Utilize CRM and shortcuts to keep in touch and follow up with clients.
Kendall Bonner, broker/owner of RE/MAX Capital Realty and Sarah Renard, licensed broker with Windermere Realty Trust, both share their insights into keeping in touch with clients. They emphasize the importance of using a CRM tool to track outreach and follow up.
“I began using CRM to organize and prioritize my follow-up. It’s not the first call that is the real challenge, it is consistently following up with people. I use Follow Up Boss to remind me who to call, when to call them and what to discuss with them,” says Bonner. “Step two was to create templates and shortcuts. I use templates in my CRM and shortcuts on my iPhone to quickly send out commonly used messages. This was definitely a “small” thing that saved me tons of time. Because I personalize these automations, no one knows that it took me five seconds and three clicks to send them their personal message!”
“I’ve been working very hard to keep my CRM updated and check on it every day. Windermere offers a really great CRM service where you can set how often you want to talk to clients and a reminder will pop up of who you need to check in with that day,” says Renard. “I try to do five touches every day—whether that’s sending them out a handwritten note, checking in via text or call or checking on their social media to see what they’ve been up to and if there’s anything I can talk to them about.”
2. Focus on not just your reputation with clients, but within the industry as well.
Agents tend to focus more on their reputation and relationships with their clients, but creating lasting relationships with other real estate professionals can help generate more business and simplify daily work. Renard shares how this has been the biggest lesson she has learned so far.
“I think one of the biggest keys to success is having really strong relationships with other people in the industry. It’s not just about having a good reputation among your clients so that they will refer you to friends and family, but it’s also about focusing on industry relationships,” says Renard. “The cooperating agents are so important—when they see your name on a listing or offer you want them to be excited about working with you.”
“Additionally, it’s important to have good mortgage brokers that you can refer your clients to, know who your trusted lenders are that have strong financing with a quick close and finally having a good rolodex of contractors so that when you need an inspection or your buyers and seller need a quick fix, you have people you can call and will answer the phone,” Renard adds. “Having these relationships is not just a selling point for buyers and sellers to work with you, but also it makes your day-to-day life so much easier.”
3. Personalized video messages can be quick, easy and effective.
Authentic and personalized video is extremely effective for real estate marketing because it can help build and maintain personal relationships and connections.
“I use a program/app called BigVu to record and write out commonly used video messages. However, when I record them, I use the person’s name! So once again, I do not have to think too hard about what I am going to say because it is already scripted out, but it is personalized with that person’s name,” says Bonner. “I am now efficient, automated and personal! Win, Win, Win!”
4. Remember your importance to the community.
While platforms such as Homesnap help agents stay connected, it’s easy to feel isolated while working from home and solely communicating virtually. Racheallee Lacek, a REALTOR® with Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty talked about the importance of focusing on your community and offering support where you can.
“A sense of community is an important focus this year. Agents bring families and communities together, and the sense of support given to others has become the foundation of our business,” says Lacek. “Even if we have to do it virtually, we still want to bring a sense of community. To accomplish this, we focused much of our marketing on the personal—that includes branding, custom note cards, as well as agent features in local publications. We’re also hosting virtual meetings and networking events at least three times per week.”
5. Hard work, discipline and dedication pay off.
Success does not come without putting in the work. Deepak Hemrajani, broker and founder and CEO of The DH Citadel Real Estate, shares how his passion for real estate has helped him stay ahead of the competition and love the work he’s doing every day.
“I am passionate and obsessed with what I do that I feel like I haven’t worked a single day in my life,” says Hemrajani. “I believe in hard work, discipline and dedication. To be successful, you have to apply these traits to your everyday life, and I try to spend time with people that inspire me to achieve more.”
Although the past year and a half have been a turbulent time for real estate, the market remains very active. Homes are continuing to sell at historically fast rates, but agents remain on edge, wondering when a slowdown might occur. No one knows quite what to expect in the coming months, but agents can take the above tips into account to push themselves past the competition and become a top performing agent themselves.
For more information, please visit www.homesnap.com.