You can be considered a leader in your area, have extensive knowledge, and be the best when it comes to assisting your clients. It means nothing if you aren’t generating business by using the most efficient and effective tools.
I grew up in this real estate business as a very young man watching the “older agents,” who were reluctant to give up their precious house information to an electronic version of the Multiple Listing Service, then skeptical of email and then eventually, text messaging.
The real estate industry has been around since the 1800s and, while the fundamentals are the same, the ways in which we showcase properties, engage with clients and secure listings have evolved along with the information superhighway; leaving us industry veterans to navigate the most efficient and effective ways through which to bridge the gap with our clients and potential clients.
Marketing our clients’ properties has become much cheaper and efficient over the years. The days of agents with personal $50-$100K yearly budgets for marketing their listings is essentially in the past. Our listings are automatically fed to all the major real estate marketing sites directly through the MLS in most cases. However, this comes with a price of its own, as OUR listings become other peoples’ marketing tools. The leads we previously received through simple marketing tactics no longer come our way. They are repackaged and sold to others who are willing to pay the fees that these large marketing agencies charge. Essentially, we have, in many ways, sacrificed our traditional methods of personal lead generation. Begging the question, how do we take them back?
Granted, some of us are showing up to this social media game a bit late, but if our tardiness has taught us anything, it is the importance of visibility and creating compelling content that keeps our clients, ours. It has also made it so our job is to promote personal home inventories on behalf of our seller clients, and to also market our own image and build brand recognition. We are responsible for developing our own narratives and perceptions to our spheres of influence and beyond, in ways that align to channel capabilities and purposes. For instance, a high engagement post on LinkedIn may not generate many interactions on Instagram. One channel lends itself well to long-form article promotions, the other is highly visual and leans less heavily on copy. Trust me, it is not as complicated as it sounds but it is important to keep these things front and center of your strategy.
I have worn many hats throughout my 25+ year career in this industry. From owning a good sized, multi-office RE/MAX franchise to operating as a team leader and a developer/builder. Now, I’m back to my roots as an individual agent and I’m finding that as a sole practitioner, social media may be the most critical tool when it comes to attracting business. I have decided to take a collaborative approach to my social media strategy. I know that my knowledge and goals are critical to putting out the right messaging, but I also know that managing these outlets can be a hard lift. So I have partnered with a small, local shop that can assist with logistics and ideas but that won’t break the bank, and run in a direction that just doesn’t make sense for my brand. That’s not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t tackle this stuff on your own, but I am saying that there is support out there and you do not need to exhaust your resources in order to tap into it.
All of that being said, here’s the real skinny. You can come to the table with the experience and business savviness that you have rightfully earned. You can be considered a leader in your area, have extensive knowledge, and be the best when it comes to assisting your clients through almost any real estate scenario. It doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you aren’t generating business by using the most efficient and effective tools when it comes to lead generation, branding and outreach. If you do not embrace this space and show the masses that you are busy, sought after, active and securing positive reviews, then you will likely lose out to those who are.
Here is why the professional Realtors need to step up. It is very easy to look at someone’s social channels and be inspired, intimated or both. For instance, I recently came across a newer agent that I found to be incredibly dynamic at promotion on social media. I mean fantastic. You would’ve thought that they were the best agent in the area. So, I quickly decided to check out MLS and get a closer look at the areas they primarily worked. What I ended up finding was a lot of activity, but with some real issues. Many or most of the listings that they had taken were expired. They didn’t sell! In addition, their write ups were poor, the photos were bad, and there was misinformation and a lack of detail in the listings. In other words, they knew how to GET business, but they weren’t a very good at the job itself. Just goes to show that even if you are a social media aficionado, your presence is only as strong as your ability to back it up.
Now, I was never resistant to social media, but I will rightfully admit that I was one of the later bloomers. You see, for some of us, it isn’t exactly in our DNA to share things with the world like those who are particularly successful at working on these channels for promotion. These super users readily speak to their personal lives and give the world a glimpse into their day-to-day. This extension of themselves likely feels more natural for them than it might for someone like me, but there is a constructive middle ground. One that provides an authentic look into who we are, what we do, why we do it, and the results that we’ve achieved in our careers. I’m learning to embrace that now.
So, what is holding you back? Are you simply not “wired” for this? Is it not the time? Are you apprehensive about your technological capabilities? As I mentioned earlier, there are resources that are available to you and from my experience wonderful to work with and alongside. Yes, you pay for it, but the idea is that the effort you put in, and the resources that you allocate, will come back many times over in the form of new business.
In short, make your approach to this authentic, add your personal touch, and be genuinely helpful to the people that you are trying to reach. The sooner you embrace social media, the sooner you’ll position yourself to conquer the goals you have set for the year ahead. Social media is only growing in its influence, the conversations are happening whether you are a part of them or not. Don’t get left behind. As my Broker often says, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
Kurt Potter has been in Real Estate in multiple capacities for over 25 years and currently resides in Bolton, CT with his family. He leads Kurt Potter Real Estate at RE/MAX Right Choice. Kurt is passionate about all things real estate including building, development, advising sellers and buyers, and has been a RE/MAX franchise owner and team leader. When he’s not connecting buyers, sellers, investors and/or developers to opportunities, he can be found spending time with family, playing volleyball, skiing or enjoying travel and the ocean. Kurt also supports the Children’s Miracle Network and Connecticut Children’s Hospital.