If you’re interested in starting a real estate business to help buyers and sellers navigate the stressful and complicated process of working through one of the biggest transactions of their lives, you’ll need to make sure your business is well prepared.
Real estate is an enormously competitive field. The chances are that your area already has at least one or two successful and popular brokers already actively engaged in the marketplace.
Here are three things you can do from the start to get a competitive advantage for your new real estate business:
1. Pick a niche
One of the keys to success in the real estate industry is identifying and embracing your niche. It will be much easier to differentiate yourself from generalized real estate agents and brokers if you specialize.
Think about it. If you had lung cancer, would you go to a general practitioner or an oncologist specializing in lung cancer? You’d go to that lung cancer specialist – because they’re the best chance you’ve got to solve your unique problem.
The same is true for clients seeking real estate services. They’re going to have to spend their hard-earned money. And, they want some degree of assurance that it’s going to be worth it and that they’re working with the right broker or agent.
Few people are great at everything. Knowing that you provide real estate services catered to their specific needs will boost a client’s confidence in your ability to get the job done well.
For example, some real estate agents specialize in selling new construction while other specialized in selling remodeled condos. Some focus on representing only sellers while others will work only with buyers.
If you’re struggling to identify what your niche might be, consider these techniques for narrowing it down:
• Identify any underserved specialties in your field.
• Determine which areas in your field clients struggle with the most.
• Ask yourself if your unique background provides you with a rare area of expertise.
Whatever niche you choose, don’t make the mistake of trying to be the right fit for every single client. Choose your specific calling and then market your skills to that niche audience.
2. Define your services
A service is impossible to see before it’s been delivered. And, clients don’t like to pay money for vague promises.
If you want your real estate business to succeed, you need to show your clients the specifics of what you will offer – and deliver.
That starts with you defining your services and deliverables. This is vital for three reasons:
Clearly defined services can be easily explained to leads.
Transparent deliverables show the value in your service.
Specificity helps to set realistic expectations for your clients.
This last point benefits everyone. Your clients can make comfortable, informed decisions. And, you can avoid being taken advantage of.
For example, TruHavenHomes focuses on property management in Chicago and Atlanta. They make this crystal clear on their website and in their marketing materials. They picked a niche and stay firmly within their lane.
In the real estate industry, your services and deliverables are the core of your business. So, make it very clear exactly what clients will get. Don’t overreach.
3. Remove uncertainty
Spending money on an intangible like a service can make clients uneasy.
So, eliminate that discomfort. There are two techniques that are particularly powerful for businesses in service – social proof and demonstration of skills.
Provide social proof
People often look to their peers for reassurance that their purchase is a wise one.
Who would know better than someone who has already walked that road? Positive reviews from clients create confidence in potential clients.
So, share testimonials and reviews from happy clients to build credibility on your website. And, if you’re lucky enough to have an endorsement from a well-known professional in your field, feature that as well.
Demonstrate your skills
One of the most compelling ways to establish credibility with your website is by showing that you know your stuff.
Anyone can claim to be an expert, but only a real expert can back it up.
So, prove your expertise by showcasing case studies and writing and sharing consistently insightful content about real estate. Then, share it for free with a blog or “resources” section on your website.
Offering this information at no cost accomplishes three things:
1. It shows that you know what you’re talking about.
2. It gives your leads value for free – which they’ll appreciate.
3. It begs the question: what else do you have to offer if you shared this for free.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re starting your own real estate business. These tips will help you get a competitive advantage to level the playing field against established brokers and agents.
Ross Kimbarovsky is founder and CEO at crowdSPRING and Startup Foundry. Following a 13 year career as a successful trial attorney, Ross founded (in 2007) and leads crowdspring. Ross mentors entrepreneurs through TechStars and Founder Institute, is a member of the Executive Advisory Board for TechWeek, and was honored as one of Techweek100′s top technology leaders and business visionaries. Ross has also founded numerous other startups, including Startup Foundry, Quickly Legal, and Respect.