At its core, real estate is a sales job, but staying relevant requires many skills, like marketing, creativity, technological innovation and more. To step up your game and elevate your business, here’s where you need to invest time and money.
The definition of a “real estate professional” in our current world is ever-changing. The old ways of doing business are dying, and to survive agents need to adapt.
Although the profession continues to be a sales job, staying relevant requires skills such as state-of-the-art marketing, technological innovation, creativity and systems creation. Each of those skills could turn into a full-time job without smart planning and the ability to recruit talent to delegate tasks.
Here’s where you need to step up your game if you haven’t already.
1. Cinematic video
Video has become the most relevant exposure for just about anything for sale, and real estate is certainly no different. Today, the most successful real estate professionals will create cinematic experiences including aerial videos, shots of the property with day and night light, and even an actor presence.
Writing a story for a property and creating videos with “actors” simulating the daily life in a property provides the ultimate connection that a buyer would be attracted to while searching for the perfect home.
2. Stunning photography
In addition to videos, photography is also getting upgraded. Hiring a professional photographer is just the beginning. Today, property and community photographs go beyond simple illustration and oftentimes are masterpieces that could stand alone in an art gallery.
Depending on the price point and the desired level of marketing, many agents opt to shoot a property at different times of the day and provide daylight as well as twilight images.
For a home which is likely to sell “between” seasons, it would be smart to reshoot the property as seasons are changing. For example: A mountain home in proximity to a ski resort with only summer pictures is not likely to get the same attention as if it were pictured with snow.
3. Virtual tours
In addition to still photography, 3D tours like those created with Matterport have become another must-have item that allows buyers to “tour” the home virtually from their browser.
Options, opinion, options! If you think that having a property video and HD images is enough, you are probably not wrong, but buyers love options, and not every buyer will be attracted to the same marketing collateral.
4. The networking of the future
Networking should go above and beyond the standard of just handing out business cards. A direct relationship with other professionals in feeder markets will not only increase the chances for business referrals but would also allow a seller’s agent to increase exposure and possibly find buyers.
Top agents are becoming masters at networking and continue to build a wealth of connections all around the industry with the use of different techniques.
With technology making long-distance networking much easier, staying in touch with our sphere of professionals has never been easier. However, when it comes to networking in the digital age, things are turning back to “old school” ways.
Generic drip emails asking for referrals are unlikely to be effective. While we can use technology to make a first contact with other professionals, scheduling face-to-face networking meetings for lunch or dinner, handwritten cards and phone/Zoom calls are key elements to build long-lasting business relationships.
5. Smart planning and delegating
Time is money. Real estate professionals do not have enough time to do it all alone and should not be investing valuable time in creating items such as brochures, photography and installing for-sale signs.
However, delegating is not always the simplest task. More than often, delegating means that things may not turn exactly as expected. It is important to not get stuck on a single issue and push things through to completion. Blocking time and prioritizing “money activities” is a smart way to boost income and productivity.
6. Tracking like an accountant
Track it all! This is how you can establish whether time is invested in the most productive way or not. Examples or items to track are dials, conversations, emails, leads, appointments set, appointments conducted, referrals, time spent on a task and much more.
One of the best tracking tools is a great Excel or Google Sheet with computed formulas that can be easily reviewed. You should know exactly how many calls are needed to get a client and how many clients taken will translate into a closed deal.
7. Building systems
Building systems is one of the most valuable assets for any business. Systems should be in place for just about anything.
For example, as a property is listed for sale, having a checklist and a ready-to-go vendor list will streamline the process and also allow the agent to present the process as a valuable asset for the sellers. In this case, the system can become part of the marketing plan.
8. Recruiting talent
You cannot do it all alone. Focus on your local market. Research what the competition is doing, or simply ask other real estate professionals who they’re using for their business needs. That said, not everyone is willing to share the “secret sauce.”
Inquiring other local businesses is also a great way to find talent. It is essential to not be shy and interview multiple individuals and companies to find what is most suitable for the business model.
There is no perfect fit, and the process should be ever-evolving. A mission statement and core values should be the framework of the process, but the process should always be evolving.
Upgrade the the present, succeed in the future
It is clear that creativity and versatility are essential qualities to building a strong foundation as well as keeping up with industry advancements for the present and future. This allows professionals to offer an up-to-date service that is above and beyond the competition. Present successes set up future opportunities.
Having passion, an ongoing adoption of a structured process and synergy of everything mentioned above is the ultimate key to deliver stellar outcomes in the real estate industry for the future ahead.
Marco Del Zotto is a Global Real Estate Advisor for LIV – Sotheby’s International Realty Breckenridge, CO. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.