The ebbs and flows in the real estate industry come as no surprise to agents. As the winds of economic change swirl from a macro level, it has a cascading effect on the real estate market as it subsequently starts to tighten. As we look ahead to 2018, it is interesting to note that a few elements stand out as agents need to sharpen their skillset to compete in this landscape.
Survival of the Fittest
History shows when the real estate market turns, half of the agents leave with it. This industry is not for the faint of heart. Which actually led one agent to say about the Toronto housing boom that, “a downturn will weed out of some of those agents who got into the business for the wrong reasons.” As a rookie agent, are you in this field for the right reason?
Regardless of what stage you’re at in your career, real estate is a notoriously competitive industry, and it can be overwhelming to keep up with the onslaught of new trends. Here are a few thinking points to mull over as the calendar flips to 2018.
Specialist vs. Generalist: Do Agents Need to Choose Now?
“The best agents differentiate themselves by specializing, and paying attention to the small nuances that most others leave out.” There’s so much diversity in the housing market along with the blend of demographics to target, luxury homes, micro-condominiums and wave after wave of generations with their unique nuances. So paying attention to the finer details can help set you apart in a crowded marketplace.
It’s the classic breadth versus depth debate.
Building Your Digital Brand
Building your digital brand means showing off the portfolio of your work you’ve created online. People go online to examine your digital footprint and the breadcrumbs of information you leave for them. This form of transparency is important because it helps buyers and sellers make informed decisions because they are armed with your quality of work and get a better sense of your personality online. A strong, consistent and authentic online presence will help put some distance between you and your competition.
Marketing legend Gary Vaynerchuk describes these pieces of content as “jabs.” So in the context of boxing, you’re continually delivering these jabs in the form of educational, inspiring or entertaining bits of content, and when it comes time to land a strong right hook which signifies your sales pitch – you’ve built up a powerful sequence to make that hook land flush. (This is just a metaphor – please do not attack your clientele!)
What do we mean by a strong online presence and delivering consistent jabs? They could be any one of the following:
- Developing infographics on key stats regarding current market conditions.
- Creating a step-by-step guide for first time homebuyers on what to know.
- Building an eBook outlining everything to know if you’re selling your home.
- Leveraging Instagram stories for open houses.
- Taking advantage of the scrolling feature on Instagram to highlight the professional photography done of the staged house.
- Drafting a blog on how Millennials can make a splash into the market and not become house poor.
Millennials look to social media for an authentic look at what’s going on in the world, and these “jabs” are how they feel connected and comfortable with a brand.
Harnessing the Unbridled Power of Millennials and Generation Z
Completing the handoff from the previous point – you’ll see why it flows so well into this segment. While so much has been written about the mystifying Millennial generation, decoding them isn’t as complex as we make it out to seem. In fact, Millennials are 40% more likely to stay in touch with their agent and 55% more likely to recommend their agent, compared to older generations – if the experience is done properly.
While there isn’t enough data about their younger cohort yet, except for the fact that Generation Z is expected to reach 2.56 billion individuals globally by 2020 – which represents an insane amount of consumer power that not a lot of agents are bracing themselves for. Not to mention that these combined generations stand to inherit a number, which is estimated in the trillions. This is a lucrative age bracket that is flooding the housing market in waves and need to be addressed on their terms – and in a digital language they can comprehend.
Your Network Will Determine Your Net Worth
Take the Toronto housing market as an example here. It garnered international headlines with its inflated numbers that raised speculation that a bubble was about to burst. In a crowded market where some agents might only see two deals a year, it shows how valuable your network is to tap into for referrals.
This is where your Sphere of Influence (SOI) comes in.
It is quite literally your most valuable resource you have as a real estate agent, as it’s broken down as your strongest relationships, both personally and professionally. So if your SOI is 100 people and each of them knows 100 people, there are 10,000 opportunities for repeat and referral business stemming from this.
While it is said that this core nucleus of contacts typically comprises of 60-80% of an agents’ business, it is nothing to be taken for granted. It takes time to carefully nurture and keep in touch with them over time on a personal level. When the market begins to tighten, the agents that have developed their Sphere of Influence the wisest will be the ones that don’t see their bottom line damaged during challenging economic conditions.
They didn’t get to this position overnight, they leverage the tools in place that allow them to be successful – without spreading themselves too thin.