Inflation is hitting everyone hard. Interest rates are higher than they’ve been in years. Home prices have continued to rise, and buyers have cooled on buying homes in the short term.
But there are some things that real estate agents can do now to survive, and grow business during the coming downturn.
Savvy real estate agents are preparing for the slowdown. Doing everything they can to pick up momentum and come out on the other side a leader in their market.
Looking for ways to ride out the recession?
Here’s some tips to recession-proof your business.
1. Expand your Territory
When the housing market shifts, it rarely shifts all at once and all in the same direction. Typically, a cooling off in prices and demand for homes in one sector, means an increase in another. If your local market is quiet, start by expanding your reach a little outside of your everyday transactions.
Look outside your normal geographic area and outside your normal price ranges. Find where people are still buying and selling.
You might even consider a completely different niche—like divorce leads. Done right, this can be a generous source of qualified leads that can fill your pipeline indefinitely. Visit DivorceThisHouse.com and learn the secrets to tapping into this often overlooked lead-gen source.
2. Level up your Personal Branding
Now is definitely not the time to become a secret agent. The last thing you want is to drop off the radar in your market.
Focus your marketing efforts on brand awareness and social media marketing. You want your prospects to know who you are and what you stand for. That way, when they’re ready to pull the trigger on a purchase or sale, you’ll be the person they think of.
3. Healthcheck your CRM
Your customer relationship management (CRM) should “work” your database for you. Setting up your CRM to keep track of your prospects, clients, and leads in today’s real estate space is essential.
Focus your marketing efforts on people who will need your services three, six, or even 12 months from now. That will help fill your pipeline with clients and keep your business healthy.
The CRM will act as an assistant, reminding you of important facts about your clients, what you discussed in your last conversation, and when you need to follow up. Let the technology do the heavy lifting.
4. Maintain Existing Clients
When the economy changes due to uncertain conditions, changing your approach to servicing your buyers and sellers may be necessary. Your client relationships are key at this time of transition, so showing them that you can still help them in whatever market we find ourselves in is important.
Even when the market isn’t in your client’s favour at the moment, it’s important to maintain your relationship because the market will always change, and your clients will remember loyalty.
5. Keep ahead of the (Economic) Times
It’s important to understand how an economic downturn impacts housing. If things in the real estate market go south for a little while, we likely won’t be alone. Many sectors of the economy will also contract, and it’s essential to understand the housing market in the context of the overall financial picture. Not all sectors of your market may slow down.
6. Connect as a Real Person
Recessions are challenging for everyone. That’s why it’s important to connect with your clients as a human who cares about them (and not just a real estate agent who wants to help with a transaction).
Inflation is high, prices for consumer good are rising astronomically and the world seems a pretty unstable place right now.
A phone call or a text checking in can go a long way. Plus, you’ll stay top of mind when those market questions come up.
If all you care about is getting their commission fee, this will soon become obvious to your clients. Genuine agents will gain the trust of clients. They’re likely to remain loyal and turn to you for unbiased advice, even if the outcome is not in their favour.
7. Focus Your Attention on Your Sphere of Influence
Switch your marketing efforts to your personal sphere of influence and develop a stronger referral base. These are people who already know and trust you; you don’t have to win them over for business—all you have to do is be present at the right time.
Spend time reaching out to them, supporting their endeavors, especially in a social setting, such as advertising for their kids’ sports programs and sponsoring events. Those relationships are key when there is a recession, and the market is slow.
Establish yourself as the hyperlocal leader of your community, allowing you to give back in a positive and productive way.
8. Make the Switch to a Nearly All-digital Operation
If you haven’t done so already, an economic slowdown is a great time to get your business caught up to the 21st century.
Take your business confidently online so that you are able to conduct business much more efficiently, in a digital space, without you having to be at the helm constantly.
If you’re lacking in certain areas, sign up for some courses to acquire these skills quickly, or talk to a colleague in your office who you know may be comfortable with these technologies.
Try streamlining processing that ordinarily take up valuable time, using technology to improve their efficiency.
For example, boring tasks such as writing listing descriptions can now be generated using AI writing assistant technology. This saves significant time as well as improving lead generation.
9. Market Your Current Listings More Aggressively
If you’ve got listings on the market when a recession hits, the race is on to move those properties before buyers retreat. With unrealistic expectations over the past several months, it’s even more important to price homes to move quickly.
By ramping up your marketing with new social postings, and unique language, can make a huge difference. Well written descriptions will entice potential buyers to view your listings, and make you stand out online.
You can also refresh your current listings instantly using overwrite.ai which allows you to regenerate property writeups, if the property is taking a while to shift.
Your pricing strategy is going to need to change too: prioritize speed to close over the final sale price. Of course, you still want to get the most you can for your sellers, but the longer a property sits on the market during lean times, the harder it becomes to sell at any price.
10. Join a Team
As a solo agent, you reap all the benefits of your hard work. On the other hand, you also shoulder all the risks if things go quiet. Joining a real estate team can provide you with a source of leads, some useful tech, a greater sphere of influence, and the financial support you may need to make it through particularly tough patches.
Over to You
Come out on the other side of the recession ahead of the game. Savvy recession-proofing strategies can set proactive real estate agents up for major success.
A financial recession and its negative consequences can have some unexpected benefits for upstart real estate agents.
Your job now is to find creative ways to demonstrate value to your sphere. Keep communicating with people, create conversations, be as visible as possible, and stay authentically human.
What other ways are you recession-proofing your real estate business? Let us know in the comments, and let’s keep the conversation going.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of overwrite.ai and its owners.
Chris Linsell writes for The Close.
This story has been published from an article on 20th July 2022.
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