How to Rise Above in an Increasingly Competitive Real Estate Market.

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You aren’t the only agent in your city. Potential clients have their pick of the litter, but these tips will help you stand out from the crowd and attract success in any market.

1. Look the part

The old cliché holds true: First impressions do matter. In a field highly influenced by aesthetic, maintaining a professional appearance goes a long way. A fair share of your potential clients decide whether or not to hire you within 60 seconds of shaking your hand.

There’s no need to go overboard with jewelry or glamor, though. Beyond a certain point, this will only distract clients and undermine your authenticity and relatability. When in doubt, simply cross-reference your own appearance with your market and your client. Don’t dress up—dress appropriately for every occasion.

Showing a beach condo? Consider khakis and sandals. Meeting with a Fortune 500 CEO? Plan on wearing a sport coat and some leather dress shoes. If your client is an elementary school teacher buying their first home, a collared shirt tucked into pressed jeans could help relieve some of the pressure that comes along with making such an intimidating investment.

2. Educate, don’t sell

Regardless of your sales skills, you are not a salesperson. In reality, you’re a consultant. Selling entails placing your needs before theirs, but being a good agent means keeping their best interest in mind at all times and guiding them through tough decisions.

While you may be familiar with real estate transactions, many steps could feel foreign to your client, even if they’ve sold a home before. Sharing a clear overview of the transaction and giving them an idea of what to expect will help your client feel comfortable enough to bring concerns to your attention the moment they arise.

Walk them through everything you’re doing and show your work. Many aspects of an agent’s skillset aren’t considered common knowledge, and clients want proof that you’re prioritizing them. Listen to their questions, validate them, and respond accordingly.

In that same vein, educate yourself at every opportunity. Keep reading, keep studying, and keep listening intently to your clients. Keep tabs on the real estate market—specifically in your area. No agent is too good to learn and improve.

3. Know your market inside and out

Vague statements like “it’s a seller’s market” won’t impress clients these days, so prepare to back up your work and analysis with stats and figures that will educate your client and show that you’re up-to-date on local affairs. Keeping your regional knowledge fresh will remind your clients how valuable of a resource you truly are.

A quick Google search can reveal more information about a neighborhood than ever before. With 360° photos, virtual tours, and volumes of statistics readily available, your client doesn’t need you to merely outline crime rates and school reviews. In addition to those topics, you need to give them the information they can’t easily find on their own.

A truly savvy agent analyzes all of that data and draws inferences that only someone with an extensive real estate background could formulate. With one eye on market trends and the other on intimate local familiarity with the ins and outs of every community in your market, you should always be ready to break down a client’s decision and explain how each detail aligns with their unique interests.

4. Be tech-savvy and available

With other agents also working your local market, you’ll want to establish protocols and utilize the latest technology to ensure that new prospects hear from you first. You should make yourself consistently available across any channels that a potential customer may use, from phone calls, texts, and emails to Facebook, Skype, and Instagram.

Develop a system that will keep you available and responding quickly even when your current clients need you. Whether it’s checking and responding to voicemails and emails every other hour or prioritizing one method of communication in particular, figure out what works best for you. Pineywoods Realty agents often follow up to missed phone calls with a short text letting the client know that their call was noticed and will be returned as soon as possible.

Availability can make or break your career, but being too available could have adverse effects on your home life. Setting appropriate boundaries between your personal and professional life is essential. Real estate can feel like a 24/7 business, but consider taking a regular day off each week, or setting expectations with clients that non-urgent messages are not answered between certain evening and morning hours. This will protect your valuable time with family, friends, and yourself.

5. Nurture your network and never burn a bridge

Maintain connections with past clients and referral sources. Whether you’re buying lunch for contacts or including them in your newsletters, anything helps to stay on the top of their minds. From holiday cards to open house invites, keeping in touch will certainly help your bottom line.

If a prospect is interested in properties you aren’t familiar with, or has a personality that would better suit someone else, consider referring them to another agent in your office. The customer will appreciate that you’ve placed them in better hands, and the agent you referred won’t forget a favor like that.

Keep a shortlist of vendors to recommend. Link up with contractors, insurance providers, and any other reliable contacts related to real estate. You will likely be your client’s first call whenever an issue arises with their home, and your role as a guide includes pointing them in the direction of people who can help. Reinforce your value as a resource by connecting them with top-tier specialists. Go out of your way to prune your network so that it grows to be just as strong as you are.

In an increasingly competitive market, Katz Capital, a private equity firm focused on transforming real estate and financial services, knows that client satisfaction is the key to beating the competition. At Pineywoods Realty, one of Katz Capital’s four lines of business, our trusted professionals are friendly, knowledgeable, and some of the most qualified in all of central Florida. We deeply understand the local market, which allows us to help buyers, sellers, and agents expertly navigate the complex landscape of real estate.

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