Internet and smartphones have disrupted several industries over the past two decades. Real estate is no different—as a buyer, you can ‘walkthrough’ properties of your choice from thousands of miles away. Services like Airbnb make it possible for you to let your property out like a hotel with minimal hassle.
Yet, from a real estate agent’s perspective, the industry is still stuck in the past century. Many sellers today prefer to deal directly with the buyer to avoid the real estate fee. With the internet, this is only getting easier. The only way to thrive and grow in this environment is to run your agency like a startup.
Data is everything
Data is the new oil and every tech business in town, be it Google, Facebook, Microsoft or Amazon, has tried to outdo one another by acquiring every tiny bit of data from their customers. This data helps these companies build new products and features that customers want.
Acquiring data as a real estate agent is however a challenge. This is because agents do not own the portals that they get business from. Popular portals like Zillow and Realty.com gather tons of data related to customer buying patterns—yet, none of this is available to the agent.
Invest in reports that give you granular details about the market you serve. Websites like Mashvisor offer such reports for consumers that should also help an agent make data-driven decisions for their business.
Invest in your own platform
Relying solely on third-party real estate portals is not enough to scale up. To grow like a startup, your real estate agency will need to bring prospective visitors to your own platform. Make use of social media platforms like Facebook to acquire leads who can then be converted into your customers.
Invest in offline marketing channels like flyers and outdoor advertising to build a brand for your business. Also, go beyond listings and invest in producing insightful content that a prospective buyer will need. This brings a steady stream of visitors to your website or app who can then be nurtured towards conversion.
Native traffic also helps you generate tons of data about their buying interests. Heatmap analysis tools can give you insights about what kind of properties your visitors like even without asking them—this data can be used to finetune your listings that improves conversion.
Network with aspirational startups
When you come to think of it, companies like Airbnb and WeWork operate in much the same industry as you do. Yet, their aspirations and startup pivots have helped them scale up and grow like they did.
Go beyond real estate and network with aspirational entrepreneurs from across industries. This gives you a perspective of your own growth challenges and allows you to look at your business from an external perspective. Check out the online community for entrepreneurs to network with like-minded people from other industries.
Real estate is an intensely competitive market with multiple variables and stakeholders. Getting in there with a startup mentality can help an agent grow beyond just their market to expand state-wide or even nationwide. The tips here will provide an agent with the necessary tools to get started on this journey.