in a Niche?
The vast majority of real estate agents become accustomed to dealing with--and
attempting to accommodate--whatever business shows up at their doorstep.
This naturally provides a wide market. But it also creates a market
in which many prospects are likely to fall through.
Why? Because nobody can
Buyers and sellers are likely
to shop real estate agents, and when they do, they will pick the one they are
most comfortable with--the one that fits their niche. So, instead of
waiting for unreturned phone calls, it makes sense to find the buyers whose
niche fits you. This solves a lot of hassle, paperwork, and time.
The trick is finding the right
niche. It has to be a niche in which you are naturally comfortable.
Don't pick a niche out of a hat and try to fit your life to match it. To
carve a niche, start with what you already spend time doing. Then, expand.
For example, if you drop by
your local pub from five to six every day, you're in a perfect location to start
drumming-up some business. If you play tennis, walk your dog at the local
park, play bingo on Sundays or attend your daughter's soccer games every week,
you are around potential niche-customers. If you know a neighborhood or
subdivision well, if you are part of a particular ethnic group or social circle,
if you work with a charity, or if you enjoy working with a particular segment of
buyers or sellers (such as first-time homebuyers or investors), you have a good
basis for starting a niche.
Real Estate Niche
Another Set of Business Cards
Get another set of business cards to hand out to niche-clients. Have
them state your specialty: "The Expert at Downtown Living",
"Specializing in Flats, Condos and Time-Shares", "Finding
Best Buys for All-Incomes", "I Know Fixer-Uppers", or
"The Authority on Lakeside Property".
a Referral Base from Past Clients
Your past clients are your most valuable asset. Let them
know you'll remember them if they refer you. Send them Christmas cards
and--for that extra special touch--birthday cards. Send them a nice
gift when they've sent you a referral, even if the referral doesn't pan out.
a Referral Program
Hand out business cards with a blank line for your referrers to
pencil-in their name. Offer them something when the card comes back to
you. If you don't want to give out cash, offer to work for free on
their next transaction (after five referrals or so). Send them a nice
bottle of wine or tickets to a sporting event if one of their referrals
works out. For those who have the opportunity to offer you multiple
referrals, create a point system where rewards are greater the more
referrals you receive.
Referrals with other Agents
Establish a relationship with other agents who work in niche
markets. Send clients that fit their niche to them, and they'll
happily send clients that fit your niche to you. This works especially
well if you've picked a niche that others generally don't want, such as a
bad-credit or low-income niche.
Information to Maintain in Your Database
|Date of First Contact
(Go the extra mile. Send
|When They Want to Buy
|Where They Want to Buy
|How Much they Want to
|Type of House they Want
|Notes on Their Special
- Develop a DatabaseYou can do this in any spreadsheet program. Maintain a
list of current prospects and old customers. Keep it up-to-date and
Particularly for prospects who may not be looking to buy for
several months, it's helpful to keep a calendar reminding you when to
re-call those older leads. You can keep track of important dates for
clients that are going through the purchasing process as well.
Then you can call them on their move-in date, or send them a housewarming
Local Establishments on Your Side
You're sending mail anyway, so offer to do some free advertising
for local businesses while you're at it. Most will be more than happy
to provide you with coupons to mail out. This increases the value of
the mailings to your clients and local business owners will love you.
You'll increase referrals all around.
Your Old Customers
Soon after you've closed a purchase, send out a customer survey.
Ask them what you did right, what you did wrong and whether they would refer
you to anyone else. Ask specifics about how you performed in your
niche market: "On a scale of 1 to 10, how knowledgeable did
you find me on the Lower-Metropolitan Area." This will help you
better your service and better understand the needs of your niche-clientele.
Conversations and Make Friends
Talk to people in your community. Initiate conversations
and always have a stack of business cards handy. Eventually people
will ask you what you do. Talk to everybody, but especially talk
to people who see members of your niche-community every day:
convenience store tellers, dog groomers, hairstylists, teachers and
waitstaff. Let them know who you are, greet them when you see them,
exchange some small-talk, and they'll remember you when they or their
friends are looking to buy a home.
And, of course, know your niche. Keep updated and strive to
improve yourself. Take training courses, and read local publications.